The Sandcastle Girls
Best known for his thrillers like Midwives
, Chris Bohjalian has come out with a different kind of page-turner—a searing, tautly woven tale of war and the legacy it leaves behind. The novel is actually two stories in one: that of Elizabeth Endicott and Armen Petrosian, lovers who meet in Syria during the Armenian genocide; and that of Laura Petrosian, their adult granddaughter, who, nearly a century after her grandparents met, wants to make sense of why they were so silent about their youth. Laura's suburban existence is radically different from the violent setting in which her grandparents fell in love. Yet all three want the answer to one question: After such horror, is any kind of happiness possible? As a reader, you want so badly for Bohjalian's passionate characters to find some version of yes. And find it they do—but at a terrifying cost. This rendering of one of history's greatest (and least known) tragedies is a nuanced, sophisticated portrayal of what it means not only to endure but also to insist on hope.
— Leigh Newman