‘Sand Dollar’ by Sebastian Cole

STORY: 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: I’m trying to remember if there was another book like Sand Dollar that I read and as soon as I was done with it [I’m talking mere seconds after] that I just wanted to shout to the world and beg people to get it ASAP… come to think of it, it probably happened on one or two occasions, but right now I don’t have the time to ponder when or which book it was, BUT I do have the time to tell you why I think you should find the time to read this story.

First, let me start with how I came across it. The author, Sebastian Cole, asked me if I would have the time to read it and possibly review it for my blog, with him supplying me with the print copy. I decided to sample it from his website before I answered his email and only two paragraphs into it I went to the Amazon and bought the book, not willing to wait for the copy to arrive. I knew that my evening was shot to hell, not to mention my next morning! Nothing was going to get in my way of finishing this book in one sitting!

The above book blurb is quiet comprehensive and it sets up the story that is filled with compassion and plenty of romance. For that reason alone I’ll skip on retelling of the story and dive in to the praise of it. You heard me right! This story is worthy of praise and I have plenty of it.

I’ll start with my praise of the author’s voice. I literally ‘heard’ Noah’s narration of his life story and the gentle yet firm hand of the author taking me to his ‘bosom’ and coaxing me just a bit further, just one more step closer to the heart of the matter…the heart of the story…the revelation of the secret. The author spread the tale in front of me with such ease of telling that I drank it all in and loved every drop coming my way!

Now, I’ll tell you about the three-dimensional characters he took such painstaking time to introduce me to. Noah was one of those Beta heroes that has plenty of Alpha characteristics, but deep down is just a man in search of someone to love him, but more importantly, for someone he could love. He was someone we all can identify with, not with his wealth maybe, but with his dilemma, his personality, his troubles…

Robin was someone who will break the readers’ hearts while she does the same to Noah. Like the bird she was named after, she was free-spirited and flying high only to be slammed into invisible walls of the past. Meeting someone like Noah was as much a blessing as it was a curse for someone with her personality, and she didn’t really know how to deal with it.

This tale is not just for all you Nicholas Spark’s fans, but for all of us that at one time or another have let that ‘one, true and pure’ love get away and for the life of us couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out if or maybe we should want to or not, run after it to get it back. It’s a tale of love refusing to die. It’s a tale of romance for young and old. It’s a tale worth reading and I highly recommend you go and get it while it’s still priced at…wait for this….NINETY NINE CENTS! Book purchased from Amazon