4 out of 4 stars
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The Sand Castle by K. S. Hollenbeck has taken my imaginations on a fascinating ride that is hard to forget. The book is mostly about Flossie Abbot, popularly known as "the Flame" for her dazzling performances on stage before her incarceration.
In 1886, Flossie was convicted of adultery and thrown into Gila Territorial Prison. But even prison didn't seem to be a safe place for her. A notorious inmate, Kane, wants her dead at all costs. And Flossie must also sing in a venue outside the prison to make money for the prison's superintendent and his callous wife. Why did Kane want her dead so badly? Will Flossie leave the prison alive? These questions, dear readers, are intriguingly answered in this novel.
It wasn't an easy feat to summarize this book's plot because I didn't want to spoil it for you. So I had to divulge only a little of it to ensure that you can get as much thrill from the book as I did. I must say that Ms. Hollenbeck's work in this novel is praiseworthy. This 258-page book is rich in all the ingredients that make a novel hard to put down. With many events happening simultaneously in the book, I appreciate the author's use of the third-person point of view to tell the story. I also like how it helped me to get an unbiased perspective of the characters' motives.
Furthermore, the characterization in this book is top-notch! The characters in this novel appear so real to me. It helps that the author created each of them to be unique and essential to the plot. Even their styles of dialogue are distinct and believable. The characters are so relatable that I felt as if I knew them a long time ago. As a result, I wished I could talk to them and warn the ones I loved of the imperilment coming their way. I found my favorite character to be Jo due to how strong, resourceful, and funny she is.
What I liked the most about this novel is its satisfying end. I couldn't think of a more appropriate climax for the story. After the twists and turns, the suspense and comic reliefs in-between, I was happy that the book didn't disappoint me with an uninspiring conclusion. More so, the author's use of a popular newspaper's report for the epilogue is genius!
Nevertheless, I enjoyed Ms. Hollenbeck's narrating style. Her descriptions created clear images in my mind. I also liked the author's creative use of dialogues to relate the backstories of the characters to the reader. It helped the story to flow seamlessly and made the timeline of events easy to follow.
There were instances where the author switched from using a character's last name to his first name. I think that might confuse some readers, but I couldn't hold a grudge because of it. However, there are descriptions of people dying gruesomely in the novel, so readers who don't like such can skip it. Also, children shouldn't be allowed to read this book due to the violence and profanities therein. Otherwise, if you love fictionalized stories bespangled with romance, mystery, humor, and intrigue, this should be your next read. This book is exceptionally edited and devoid of errors. And since there wasn't anything I disliked about it, I am glad to award The Sand Castle a deserved 4 out of 4 stars.
The Sand Castle
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