Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love by Sebastian Cole

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.

REVIEW

When you go to Sebastian Cole’s website you see this quote, “Looking for the next great love story?  Well, you’ve found it!"  This is definitely true.

There are very few books that will touch the very depths of your soul. This is truly one of those books.  Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love is a novel of love, loss, second chances, and redemption.  It will make you angry. It will make you cry.

Sand Dollar is the story of Noah Hartman told by Noah, himself, from his hospital bed.  Get your tissues ready now, because you are definitely going to need them.

The premise of this book is finding your true soul mate and then losing them for some unknown reason.  Could you ever really be happy with someone else?  What a great journey to go on and find out.

As much as I LOVED this book, there were definitely times when I disliked both Noah and Robin.

At almost fifty years of age, Noah is still a child.  He’s torn between “living his own life” and living the life his controlling parents want him to live.  I think that he should have cut the purse strings a LONG time ago.

Robin on the other hand appears to be all about life.  Living it for all it’s worth.  However, Robin has a secret, one that even she doesn’t know that she has.  Robin is far from perfect.  Perhaps that’s what makes this love story so great.  Neither Noah nor Robin is perfect.  But hey, none of us are.

I’m not going to say there’s a twist to this story.  You already know based on the title that it’s about undying love.  But for me there was this one moment in the book where I realized what was happening.  It was an Oh My Gosh moment, where I realized how good a writer Sebastian Cole truly is.  In this one moment you realize that nothing is what you thought it was and you’re transported to this whole other place, where you can only hope you’re able to achieve this level of love in your lifetime.

This is one of those stories I’m going to cherish forever.

Rating: 5

Release Date: Available Now
Book Length: 224 pages
Source: Contest Win through Goodreads
Reading Format: Available in eBook and paperback
Author’s Website: Sebastian Cole

Purchase through:  Amazon

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