Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Sandcastle Girls - Book Review

Even the most casual historian knows about the genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and especially Nazi Germany, but how many people know anything about the brutal murder of over a million Armenians in the early twentieth century? I must admit that I did not know that starting in 1915, the Turkish government massacred the Armenian men and then forced the women, children and elderly to march into the desert where most met their deaths.

Last week, I learned of this gruesome and barbaric history when I read the well researched and passionate novel The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Bohjalian writes of his own ancestral heritage and channels the tragedy and horror in his latest novel. Though Bohjalian is a bestselling and famous author I had not previously read any of his books. I will have to add them to my list.

Elizabeth Endicott is the daughter of a Boston Philanthropist who is working to relieve the suffering of the
Armenian people. While in this distant land, Elizabeth witnesses evils she could not previously imagine and makes the acquaintance of Armen, a young Armenian man working with the German on the railroad. Armen has lost his family in the brutal attacks and finds comfort and strength from Elizabeth. The Sandcastle Girls is their story as they find love in the midst of horror.

The narrative skips from several different perspectives, including Elizabeth's granddaughter who is researching the story. Initially, this style was a bit confusing but it didn't take long before I was familiar enough with the characters that it flowed comfortably.

The history is well researched and is enlightening. The tragedies in our human existence are painful to recall but are valuable to remember. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian brings an abomination to our remembrance in a powerful and passionate way.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Sandcastle Girls in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.**

1 comment:

alisonwonderland said...

I've read most of Bohjalian's books and think they are terrific! I'd heard about some disappointments with this one so I've been putting it off. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it!