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Beach Girls Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 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: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've had this book so long on my TBR shelf I no longer remember where I picked it up. On looking through the reviews over on Book Journey I came across Sheila's review of Beach Girls by Luanne Rice. and immediately I could tell I would like it and decided to read it this year. It was even better than I thought it would be and it is definitely relocating now to my Keeper shelf, once I have shared it with one of my sisters. I lend her any book I've loved and think she will too.

Nell is the nine year old who has lost her mother and is yearning somehow to reach out and 'touch' her through her friends of long ago. She is all of nine going on twenty. I thought maybe she spoke and acted a little older than a nine year old, but then I thought of the wisdom I have come across from young people and decided to go with the flow. She seeks out Stevie Moore a recluse, who paints and writes story books for children, always sharing the darker side of nature as well as the positive. While there is a notice up outside Stevie's house that says Go Away, Nell is determined to visit and so she does.

Stevie is a complicated woman, at a young age she experienced the loss of her mother, so has an immediate 'feel' for Nell. She has had a few unsuccessful marriages and now just lives by herself with her cat Tilly. However she does have an aunt and cousin with whom she is close. She longs for connection but is now careful with her heart.

Maddie Kilvert is one of the other women who was part of the 'beach girls', growing up she was secure in the knowledge of the love of her parents and older brother Jack, four years older than her. She always expected the best out of life.
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