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Sandcastles (Star of the Sea Academy)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  3,232 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
Painter Honor Sullivan has made a life for herself and her three daughters–Regis, Agnes, and Cecilia–at Star of the Sea Academy on the magical Connecticut shore. Here she teaches art at the convent school’s beautiful seaside campus, over which Honor’s sister-in-law, mother superior Bernadette Ignatius, keeps a benevolent and watchful eye. No one could have foreseen the day ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Random House Audio
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 21, 2009 Molly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first 185 pages of this book were excruciating. I was so frustrated with the author's writing style. She introduced so many characters and wrote the story from each of their perspectives that it gave me the feeling of whiplash. I'd just start to connect to a character and then the narrator would flip to someone else. Then she might backtrack to an event mentioned earlier but from the new character's view point. I wish Rice had taken Bernie's character and made her the narrator then told all ...more
Elaine Shandra
My adorable 97 year old neighbor lent me this book. She's so cute that I just had to finish it, otherwise I might not have finished it. The story is really, really slow. Even the parts where the author has attempted to add tension are slow. Towards the middle, when the story actually gets to being told, the chapters start ending right when something is about to be revealed. Then the next chapter starts from someone else's viewpoint and ends when something is about to be revealed. It seems the au ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book sorely in need of an editor. If Ms. Rice was not a published author, this novel would never have made it to press (I have worked in publishing for 20+ years). The plot is implausible, the dialogue stilted and unrealistic, the descriptions redundant. And every feeling a character has is accompanied by a visceral reaction--on each page someone feels a chill up their spine, a tightening in their stomach, or flush in their cheeks. If you want to read well-written books about family, love, sis ...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
Jul 01, 2009 Rhonda Rae Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful story about family, choices, brokenness, and despair yet there was so much joy, mending, and hope that I couldn't read fast enough.

Psychological suspense, mystery, love, depth, and pondering...a truly awesome read!

I loved the characters and even though the beginning was difficult for me because of the situation, I quickly became so entwined with what was happening that I felt as if I was there right beside them. The story line was amazingly developed and I felt so close with
Sep 23, 2012 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely could not get into this book! It took me a very long time to finish it, because I was just not interested enough to want to pick it up again. I came close several times to putting it away and starting another book, but I forced myself to finish it. There were too many mysterious events that either never really materialized, or when they did, just weren't very interesting. I agree with another reviewer that said the story between Tom and Bernie was more interesting than the one betwe ...more
Aug 23, 2010 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought I would read this book after I saw it in one on the giveaways. I have never read a Luanne Rice book before and based on
her previous books reviews I thought I would give it a read. The story seemed drawn out and so predictable. I pretty much knew what was going to happen very early on the book. Maybe I'll try one of her earlier books but it definitely won't be high on my list.
This book was put down and I struggled to pick it up. Not compelling... I just didn't care about the characters or what happened to them.

It is rare I fail to finish a book even when it is poorly written making this abysmal prose of the first degree.
Leah (packfan20)
Jul 21, 2009 Leah (packfan20) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, audiobooks
After this book sat untouched for almost a week, I realized, I didn't care how it ended...never finished.
Jul 26, 2007 Traci rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
very SLOW - kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did.
Sep 09, 2007 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring and predictable. Picked it up on vacation (very limited on options at the hotel gift shop). Looked like a fun beach read...what I realized is that I could actually write a novel!
Lauren Stoolfire
May 21, 2015 Lauren Stoolfire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction
I gave Sandcastles fifty pages, but it wasn't holding my interest and I was so bored. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
Wendy T
May 28, 2017 Wendy T rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wendy T by: brooke
I enjoyed this book and figured out the ending early on in this story. I am looking forward to reading the next book.
Jan 24, 2014 Gabrielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Are Too Ralph-Lauren for Twilight

This book was painfully awful. It’s the first book I’ve ever thrown away from me in disgust and frustration. Everything coalesces to form a deeply unpleasant reading experience, from the weak plot to the one-dimensional characters.

Beginning with the plot, the way the author chooses to handle the prologue is truly the most telling thing. What should have been at least the first third of the novel is compressed into a mere seventeen pages. That is because

Sep 28, 2012 Jencey/ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Luanne Rice is an eloquent story teller. She weaves a great story.


Honor, Regis, Agnes, and Cecelia makes a trip to Ireland to see John’s latest sculpture. The morning after Honor and the girls arrive an unwelcome visitor comes to Bellan Castle where the family is staying. John goes out to save his work and tells Honor to stay and call the police. Regis the oldest daughter disregards her mother’s warning to stay in the house. She goes to help her father. When Honor discovers her absenc
Apr 10, 2008 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2007, audiobook
Narrated well, but the story just didn't click with me. Story set in New England and Ireland, modern times. Troubled marriage/dysfunctional family of two artists who love each other but don't communicate well with each other nor with their 3 daughters. Father/Husband goes to prison for 6 yrs in Ireland for the death, declared manslaughter, that his young daughter accidentally caused in self-defense. All to save his daughter the "horrors" of going through a trial. When the daughter (who had had a ...more
From Publishers Weekly
Given the title, July 4 pub date and settings on the Connecticut shore and County Cork coast, readers may expect the consummate beach feast from bestselling Rice (Summer of Roses). She almost delivers: all the ingredients for a clambake are here, but Rice doesn't bother to light the fire. Honor Sullivan is a woman torn apart. Her famous earthworks artist husband, John, has spent six years in an Irish prison for killing a man who attacked their then 14-year-old daughter, Reg
Rychelle Boden
Oct 19, 2010 Rychelle Boden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! As an art teacher, I was drawn into the multiple artistic references, from the sculptures to the oil paintings. I feel that Luanne Rice is such an extraordinary story teller in that she weaves an intricate tale that you quickly find yourself deeply entwined within it. The ebb and flow of the lives of the main characters tugged at my heart strings; I cried when someone was hurting, I got angry when someone was upset. The book is powerful enough that it engulfed me and took me t ...more
A little too mushy for me. One reason probably is because I could not empathize with Honor - why all that holding back when she so much wanted to be reunited with her husband John? I have read What Matters Most first, and that was supposed to be the sequel to this book. I liked the latter one better. Sandcastles is the story of Honor and John Sullivan and their family, while What Matters Most is the story of Tom Kelly and Sister Bernadette Ignatius and their quest for their son whom Bernie had p ...more
Jan 08, 2010 Yellow rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
at first i was hesitating to finish this book but i have know what's the secret hidden in the book. But i was disappointed, probably because it have a lot of drama...same old drama with their family. The are many side stories and for me it's such a waste to read those parts( about the box,ancestors etc.) I think the story could stand alone without those and it could have been better i think. But over all it was just Ok I didn't felt anything special about it and i just want to finish tha ...more
Apr 26, 2009 Bev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-version
This novel had an interesting plot and engaging characters, but it had a looooong stretch of repetitiveness where the story just did not move forward. If I weren't listening to it on tape, I might have given up on it. Once the action started moving again, I was glad I stuck it out, but it sure did drag in the middle. I actually found some of the minor characters more engaging than the main couple--Sr. Bernadette and Tom Kelly, for example. It turns out that Rice wrote not really a sequel but a c ...more
Jul 13, 2009 Laurel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an okay book. It wasn't my favorite but it also wasn't the worst (ahem...Edgar Sawtell). It was an easy read and I enjoyed how the the story was woven around family history. Some parts dragged out but the storyline of Bernie & Tom was a nice twist. I felt the ending was a little hoakey - but then again love stories aren't really my thing. I was kind of hoping someone would get murdered at some point because that's my type of reading! I probably will not pick up the second book in th ...more
Apr 01, 2010 January rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom bought me this book and I had never heard of the author before, but I figured I would try it. I ended up loving this book! I really enjoyed reading this story! I saw a lot of negative reviews on here, but they were mostly from women who have read Rice before this one. I had nothing to compare it to so that could be why I liked it a lot more than they did. I have to say though that I bought Summer of Roses (which is also by Rice) last summer and read the first 3 chapters and still haven't ...more
Darcy Stewart
Jun 27, 2010 Darcy Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book about a family member protecting another family member. A father saves a daughter. The daughter is traumatized to speak about it. Years later after her father is released she is willing to talk about it. It's a sad, but great story. It has been so long since I've read it, so I can't tell you much more than that.

The father spends about 10 years in jail, because people thought he killed a man because he was on his property when really he was protecting his daughter. I feel sor
Oct 02, 2010 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book clubs
I won this from Goodreads First Reads and it was better than I expected. It was so good I finished it in one day because I couldn't put it down. I guessed the ending at the very beginning, but it was still worth seeing how the characters were going to respond to the situation, and it was very believable. The ending was a little abrupt and I wish she had dealt with the aftermath more. The book was too short anyway. But still well worth your time. This would be a good book club choice.
May 12, 2008 BookDigger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweet-romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not the best Luanne Rice book i have read but it was good. It was about a family struggling to become a family again after tragedy strikes their family, i was suprised with how the book ended but in a good way.
Feb 12, 2011 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book by this author and fell in love with it.
Lisa Ward
Sep 28, 2015 Lisa Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Goodread Friends
This was my first time reading Luanne Rice, started out slow but turned out to be a beautiful story about love and staying true to your faith.
Brenna Smith
Feb 09, 2013 Brenna Smith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This book was OK. It was a little slow throughout and I found myself hoping that it would just get to the point. All in all though it didn't make me want to stop reading it.
Oct 15, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sandcastles by Luanne Rice is a heart warming story and a very good book. I just love Luanne Rice's books.
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Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels including THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, her first YA novel. Five of her books have been made into movies and mini-series, many have been New York Times bestsellers and two of her pieces have been featured in off-Broadway theatre productions. She divides her time between New York City and the Connecticut shoreline.
More about Luanne Rice...

Other Books in the Series

Star of the Sea Academy (2 books)
  • What Matters Most

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“Who cared about those things? Didn't Peter know that it was impossible to make up for lost time? Three years was half of six years; every day, every minute in life was all its own, and could never be replaced with another.
"When you love someone," she said, with her eyes shut tight, barely recognizing her own voice, "you want to be together whenever you can. If you want it badly enough, you just make the practical things work out.”
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