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The Shape of Sand

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  149 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Life at Charnley was blessed, or at least so it seemed to the Jardine children. But one night their dreams of a propitious future suddenly come crashing down when a family scandal catapults them into the headlines.

Nearly four decades pass and the Second World War is won, but still the exact events of that fateful night remain unknown. However, when builders working on Char
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Mo
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Highly Recommended
4 1/2 stars

This book was an unexpected pleasure.

It had been sitting on my shelf for the past 2 months, completely neglected, because I was reading “feel-good” books that revolved around the Christmas holidays. I actually had forgotten all about it, and almost did not get around to reading it before it was due back to the library. I picked it up and starting reading it “blind”, not really knowing what the book was about. Thank goodness I had not read the blurb on the book jacket (and had forgott
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Mary
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
... the shape of sand, like life, is whatever we wish it to be.
And later in the book, when nearly everyone is hiding something, or suspecting something awful ...
... the sand obscures the shape of whatever lies beneath it.

I really enjoyed this novel. There were lots of plausible suspects, and such a vivid description of life in 1910 and 1946 England.
Amy
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Great character development an absorbing plot. A suspense novel set in post WWII Britain. In 1946, when Harriet Jardine receives a cardboard box of letters and notebooks found during the demolition and remodeling of Charnley, her family's former country house, she knows that she and her two sisters will have to face memories they would rather leave alone—in particular, their mother's disappearance decades earlier after an elaborate birthday party. Determined to seek out the truth, Harriet and he ...more
Melanie
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly the kind of guilty pleasure I love curling up with on a rainy day: a proper mystery firmly grounded in all things English. The multiple POVs keep the story interesting; the characters are crafted with the real flaws of real people; the mystery is intriguing without crass shock value. I spent a lot of time in my childhood reading my older relatives mysteries from the '40s and '50s; this is a nice throw-back to those sensibilities.
Naomi Blackburn
I had read this book in 2008 and remember loving it. I didn't think it quite went to a 4 star level but it was an incredibly sad mystery.
Janet Rosfeld
Interesting historical mystery. I enjoy a slow character driven story and thought the characters were extremely well drawn.
Stacey
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hope for this book as it held my attention but then they just wrapped it up in the last 20 pages and it ended. It went from 4 stars to 3 stars at that point.
Bee
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
In 1946 London, a forty-year-old mystery comes back to haunt sisters Harriet, Vita, and Daisy Jardine after the remains of a body are found within the walls of their family's previous home, the palatial estate of Charnley. Flashing between Edwardian and post-WW2 England & Egypt, THE SHAPE OF SAND unravels what really happened to the sisters' mother Harriet, who disappeared after her birthday party in 1910. Journals of her trip to Egypt shed light on the subject, but figuring out the truth fo ...more
Anita
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LeAnne
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique story taking place pre WWI and 40 years later. When I started reading it, I wasn't sure I was going to finish it because the first part of the book was full of information about the family members and friends and I skimmed it to get to the actual incident hinted at. But then it got interesting and I realized that I missed some clues, so I went back and reread parts. I'm a reader who likes to be pulled into the story a bit quicker, but by the time I got to the last half I was hooked.

The
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Melissa
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Life at Charnley was blessed, or at least so it seemed to the Jardine children. But one night their dreams of a propitious future suddenly come crashing down when a family scandal catapults them into the headlines. Nearly four decades pass and the Second World War is won, but still the exact events of that fateful night remain unknown. However, when builders working on Charnley uncover a shoebox stuffed full of old letters, photographs, and a diary, it finally seems as though some of the answer ...more
Linda
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the style of Agatha Christie mysteries with a cast of characters and a plot that moves two steps forward and one step back and slowly exposes all to the reader ,til the ultimate and surprising resolution. At the heart of the murder mystery is the English manor and the disfunctional family within, whose secrets and sins were hidden from themselves and each other for decades. Add the backdrop of WWI and the exotic Egyptian connection, the tale of the khamsin wind storm that obscures and .reshap ...more
Katherine
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my first book by Marjorie Eccles. The Shape of Sand is an absorbing mystery that keeps you reading and does not give away any clues to its solution, even at the end of this particular story. Eccles has a firm grasp of the life style of the Edwardian upper class and of post-war England, and of the Egyptian culture. I am anxious to read more of this author.
Cathy
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Lovely British mystery, well written, nice characters, and a sufficiently juicy plot --about a disappearing society lady who seemed to be hiding some secrets from her trip to Egypt-- to propel my reading late into the night. I'll look for Eccles again.
Cassy
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I'm giving up. It wasn't bad, it just didn't really grab my interest. I was over 100 pages in before it felt like anything happened, and by then I was kind of bored. It didn't help that the chapters are really long and the text is crammed onto the pages -- it made for tiring reading.
Debby Kean
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely wonderful! Not just your standard read-it-and-forget-it crime novel - this has vivid characters, an absolutely sad story, that nevertheless grows out of the characters, and is wholly believable. Well worth it...
Roberta
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
The mystery of the murder of Beatrice Jardine just couldn't hold my interest. It was ok, but I just didn't feel compelled to keep reading. Had it not been a library book, I could've set it down and not looked at it again for months.
Karen Lowe
This is a delightful, old-fashioned murder mystery, with subtle characterisation, a wealth of period detail, and a real feel for the Edwardian & post war eras. The sense of menace was nicely developed, and the pace really picked up through the latter half of the book.
Lisa
A bit slow in parts, but enjoyable enough.
Fran Lachance
intriguing tale and well done, although I skipped over some descriptions.
Shirley Evans
Enjoyable mystery set between the two world wars featuring people with more money than sense. Guessing the murderer was fun.
Susan
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story! Kept me guessing up to the end. Never would have guessed.
Bev
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not nearly as good as anticipated. Two 1/2 stars, actually.
Meadow
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the shifting time frames, points of view and style. Set in post-WW2 England, a mystery, a romance, a coming-of-age even in middle age.
Nora
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written mystery...
Clare
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What a family thought happened years ago is suddenly proved wrong when something shocking comes to light.
Carol Best
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved it!
Eva Fiorentini
rated it it was ok
Nov 22, 2014
Julia
rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2013
Mary Kauffmann
rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2017
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278181
Aka Judith Bordill, Jennifer Hyde

Marjorie Eccles has written several romantic and crime novels, which have been published both in the UK and in the US. Many of her book shave been translated and serialised around the world. She has one grown up son and now lives in Hertfordshire
More about Marjorie Eccles...