From the publisher:
Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lies sick in a hospital bed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, in his sixties, a wise and compassionate orderly who stopped in to bring him dinner. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one to see him, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day. In truth, however, Noah is like a regular, everyday guy living a life that was not meant for him.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
While snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their trip. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get her out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, she’d always be the one who got away, the one he loved the most. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, an underlying condition responsible for her having left. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah and pursuing a relationship with her.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously sent her, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
Things are definitely not as they appear as Noah discovers a far greater truth about his past, present, and future. As Noah finishes telling his story, we are brought up to present day, where the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of his life.
Sand Dollar is a love story reminiscent of “The Notebook”, as the author confesses, but still remains uniquely its own story. There were several things I really enjoyed about this book, most important of which, I think, is that the story always felt “real”, and never forced. I also loved how the author chose to go back-and-forth between the past and the present, revealing layers of the story as they become relevant. I was totally taken by surprise by the ending (sad in a way but ultimately it was a happy one), which I didn’t see coming at all, another plus!
My one complaint? Not really with the story itself, but I couldn’t help but notice the absence of an author bio and picture, something which I compulsively seek out before I ever start a story. Its not really a big deal, but I like to be able to read about an author to sort of get to “know” them before I read their work so I have an idea of where they’re coming from. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see what such a hopeless romantic looks like?
Marvelous book, it brought a smile to my face, and I would certainly love to see Sand Dollar become a movie as the author wishes, I have a feeling it would do very well.
Rating: 5 stars
Recommended for: Readers of romance, fans of Nicholas Sparks/The Notebook
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review through Goodreads First Reads. All of the opinions expressed are solely my own, and were in no way affected by the giveaway. View all my reviews here