Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Pocketful of Sand by M. Leighton

Pocketful of Sand

M. Leighton

Reviewed by Sandra Long

5 Stars

A powerful novel of abuse and loss as a mother runs away from a childhood of sexual abuse that resulted in the birth of a daughter, fathered by her step-father. The unusual part is that her running is financed and arranged by her mother, who has been  willing to permit the abuse as long as it kept her man with her and happy, but when he started on the granddaughter when she was only four, even tis woman drew the line, and gave her daughter money and helped her escape with her daughter. I did child protective services for 16 years and can tell you from personal experience that many women make better grandmothers than mothers. I have no way to explain this but I have seen it so that made this story believable to me.

Eden and her daughter, Emmy, go as far as they can go, across the country, and rent a beach front cottage in a tiny town where they feel they will never be found. Their landlord, Cole,  is a man who lost his own daughter when she was Emmy's age. She was a passenger in his car and he was driving under the influence when they wrecked and she was killed. The town people think he is crazy because he spends so much time alone, makes a sandcastle on the beach every Sunday regardless of the weather and can be heard talking to his dead daughter. He has never forgiven himself and neither has his wife, so he too is hiding away in this tiny town where he has bought several houses to remodel and rent and does almost all the work himself. 

 When he sees Emmy, something in him is deeply touched. She is not only the same age, but strongly resembles his deceased daughter and she is immediately drawn to him. In spite of his best efforts to remain alone, Emmy keeps finding ways to talk to him and as their landlord, he is forced to spend time with them. Eden has never lived in a cold climate so he has to help her prepare for a cold Maine winter and these two broken people begin to have feelings for each other. Gradually a relationship develops that neither understands or knows where it will lead. 

Just as they are beginning to build trust and find love, Cole's wife comes looking for him, wanting him back, and Eden's stepfather shows up, also wanting her and Emmy back.  Suspense and romance mixed with emotional backgrounds that have broken our characters almost beyond the healing point but making them understand the brokenness they find in each other. The storyline is fascinating and thought provoking. Five stars and a strong recommendation to readers who love this type story as well as those who have never read this type story before. I think you will be very glad you read it and will close the last page with a much better understanding of how and why people stay in abusive relationships and how hard it is to  leave when all your self-esteem and courage are wiped out by the abuser. Also, the story of a man who needs to learn to forgive himself for a bad mistake and hopefully reading this will prevent someone else from making this same bad decision.

“She’s beauty for my ashes. And I’m hope for her heartache.”—Cole Danzer.

I don’t know what makes a great love story. Is it that instant attraction when boy meets girl? The passionate kisses and the fairy-tale ending? Or is it a lifetime of tragedy, paid in advance, for a few stolen moments of pure bliss? The pain and the suffering that, in the end, you can say are worth it for having found the missing piece of your soul? 

The answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know what makes a great love story. I only know what makes my love story. I only know that finding Cole when I did, when Emmy and I were running from a nightmare, was the only thing that saved me. That saved us. He was more broken than I was, but somehow we took each other’s shattered pieces and made a whole. If thatis what makes a great love story, if that is what makes an epic romance, then mine…ours is the greatest of them all.

**Contains material that some may find disturbing. Not intended for readers under the age of 18**

I was born and raised in the United States, and I’ve lived in several of the fabulous fifty. Though I currently live in the deep South, I spent much of my childhood up North and hope to return there one day. A few other things about me: I believe that sometimes you have to look really, REALLY hard to find the good in people, but it's there. I believe that I'm shrinking (I swear five years ago I was two inches taller). I believe my husband is quite possibly one of the most amazing men in the entire world (I can't be sure because I haven't met all of them). I believe coffee and chocolate, when combined, could be the basis for world peace. I believe that Jesus rocks and communism doesn’t. I believe that white makes me look fat and black collects lint. I believe summer's too hot, winter's too cold and fall was made for football. I like dogs better than cats and the first movie in a trilogy is invariably the best. But most of all, I believe that love conquers all. 

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