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Beach Girls Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 2004

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like a milder Northern cousin of Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Rice's latest (following Dance with Me) celebrates the near mystical persistence of female bonds. While summering in the seaside town of Hubbard's Point, Conn., Emma Lincoln, Stevie Moore and Maddie Kilvert, the titular beach girls, were inseparable, but as adults, they've drifted apart. Stevie lives like a hermit in Hubbard's Point, unaware that her old friend Emma died in a car crash, leaving behind a husband, a child and secrets. When widower Jack brings his daughter, Nell, to the Point, Nell searches out her last link to her mother: Stevie. A bestselling children's author, Stevie is drawn to Nell and her attractive dad, but the protagonists must struggle with doubts and fears before they can consider a future together. This book is more sentimental and less suspenseful than Rice's previous novels, and fans of her earlier book, The Perfect Summer, may find the premise—a spouse who dies suddenly, with secrets that leave family in disarray—overly familiar. Fortunately, Rice's gorgeous descriptions and sensitive characterizations compensate for those flaws. Few writers evoke summer's translucent days so effortlessly, or better capture the bittersweet ties of family love.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Rice returns to her quintessential beach community of Hubbard's Point, Connecticut, and three childhood girlfriends now grown up. Stevie, Emma, and Maddie were inseparable and vowed to always be friends, but life and love intruded. Stevie has become a recluse still living in her father's house at the beach, but her isolation is shattered when Emma dies in a car crash and her nine-year-old daughter, Nell, comes to Stevie in search of lost female influences, including that of Maddie, with whom she was once close. The healing powers of the beautiful beach, and of friendship, work their magic on Nell and Stevie as both influence each other lives and as Nell's father struggles with his conflicting emotions over his wife's death. Rice's characters forge new connections in this beautiful and tender love story set against an idyllic backdrop of sand and surf and dealing with many facets of love. Another winner for Rice, who breathes life into poignant tales not only about love but also about forgiveness. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553587242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553587241
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LUANNE RICE is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty one novels, most recently THE LEMON ORCHARD. Her novels, including Cloud Nine and Last Kiss often center on love, family, nature and the sea, and have been translated into twenty-four languages. A number of Rice's novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations of Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells, and Beach Girls as a summer drama series for Lifetime Television. She has contributed a theatrical piece to the new off Broadway play Motherhood Out Loud. Rice loves nature and frequently writes about it. Born in Connecticut, Rice divides her time between New York City and Southern California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on September 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My first experience of Luanne Rice nets a treasure on so many different levels.

I picked this volume up at a second hand store - the cover attracted me and I was looking for an "entertainment only" read.

What I wasn't expecting and was thrilled to find was a discussion of the arts, what is sacred, what is failure and what is success, and how important it is to keep human - actually all being - connections alive.

Yes, it is classified as a "Romance" but the "Romance" is as much about Romancing Life - Romancing a child's heart - as it is a romance between a man or woman.

Perhaps its Romance among Men, Women, and the breath of Life itself.

This is an excellent example of a "simple, entertaining read" being so much more for the willing, open reader.

Thank you, Ms. Rice - for bringing me such a delightful gift - exactly the words I needed wrapped up in a lush package of fiction.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Forever21 on July 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beach Girls felt like too much and not enough all at once. This was a most disappointing read. It's fluff but even with romantic fluff there needs to be some interesting characters to sustain me throughout a 300 page read. And there simply was way too much of one character and not nearly enough of everyone else and their motivations. Hence, I cared nothing about what happened to Stevie and her sudden, instantaneous lurve for Jack, her dead best friend's husband. I found Jack suddenly finding everything he's ever wanted in Stevie a bit to easy and tidy, especially since it came on the heels of the author destroying his wife and their relationship.

While Beach Girls is supposed to be a story about a trio of young women who make a pact, each with distinct personalities and dreams in life, and then drift apart as life takes them in certain directions, in reality there's actually very little actual Beach Girl interaction. And it's actually Stevie's story. All Stevie all the time. Maddie and Emma's stories don't really exist. In fact, they don't really exist as full characters. It's clear, after the Prologue, that Emma and Maddie exist merely to serve Stevie and make her look more appealing and wise in comparison to the mess they become over the course of the book.

For a character to play such a central role in the whole story the author never really dives into Emma, her motivations, her relationships, what led her to be willing to do what she was about to do--especially given what was said throughout the story about her steadfast devotion and love for Nell. There's so many missing gaps in Emma as a character, Jack/Emma and in their lives it's hard to buy what the author expects us to buy as her explanation for who Emma becomes.

What Ms.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on January 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The starting point of Beach Girls is the joyous summers that three teen-age girls spent on the beaches of Hubbard Point, Conn sharing their lives and dreams, cemented by a solemn oath (a circle drawn in the sand) to always be together. The story resumes twenty-seven years later with the girls having inevitably lost contact many years before.

Now the focus is on trying to recapture some part of those idyllic days as the author reunites most of those characters, but only after life's realities have taken their toll. Conveniently, an inter-family marriage, not at first revealed, provides the basis for the return to the same beaches. But the real driving force in overcoming the gulf of many years of separation is the rather worldly nine-year-old daughter, Nell, of one of the beach girls. Time and again the young girl provides the push to get the old friends to take the next step in renewal and even growth.

The story is a bit sugary with a good bit of tugging-at-the heart scenes. There really are no villains - just people hesitant and unsure about relationships. The tale is not without some questions. For one, one of the beach girls takes a tangential turn in her life that is not well understood. The author's desire to have matters turn out well seems to drive a somewhat improbable connecting of a technocrat (sorry, no more details) to one of the beach girls, turned earth mother. But on the beach, all is possible. The characters are the focus of the book, but one could have hoped for slightly more in-depth portrayals.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By need to read on February 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story was so well written I felt I was one of the Beach Girls. It is a very sensitive story about how trauma and love gone wrong effects people. The beauty of it is in the telling of how they heal and go on with their lives. It is not maudlin at all but very smooth and lovely in the telling. You will like this story if you enjoy the beach scenes and nature and you will even taste a bit of Scotland's beaches too. The story evokes a sense of peace and beauty as the creative works of the artists come together and love remains.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JJ Stark VINE VOICE on September 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every summer, Luanne Rice releases a PB book which usually has some connection to the previous summer's release. BEACH GIRLS is no exception, with references to Bay & Tara who first appeared in last year's PERFECT SUMMER (2003), and even a small reference to Mrs. Renwick, who first appeared in FIREFLY BEACH, then later in PERFECT SUMMER. The PB novels, which are released every summer, don't usually excite me as much or grab my attention the way that Luanne Rice's HC releases do each Jan/Feb. (I have to admit - I never even finished reading FIREFLY BEACH because I just couldn't get into it!). BEACH GIRLS was another story, however. This story seemed to follow the same pattern that Luanne Rice's HC books seem to go, with a heavier, emotionally charged story with several characters intertwined and connected by the heart. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have been reading Luanne Rice since a friend loaned me their copy of CLOUD NINE shortly after its original release. I have been hooked ever since, and have become quite the fan. The PB books which she releases in the summer always seem to be a fast paced, light-hearted read, meant to be read quickly, and then seem to be soon-forgotten. They aren't as emotionally charged as her HC books are, but BEACH GIRLS was different.

I don't think I would compare this book to the Ya-Ya books (as some have done here), although it does refer to the bonds between Best Friends. I do find similarities to Judy Blume's SUMMER SISTERS, Debbie Macomber's SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET and BETWEEN FRIENDS, and Kristin Hannah's THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. These are some of my favorite authors/books, and now BEACH GIRLS is right up there, earning a high rating and recommendation from me.
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