I've read nearly every one of Luanne Rice's novels since CLOUD NINE. Nearly every one of these has similar themes with stories and characters that either grab you & keep you turning the pages wanting more, or they fall flat with little enthusiasm for the ending. SANDCASTLES fell into the latter category. I just don't think it was one of Luanne Rice's better stories.
I still think when it comes to Woman's Fiction and Love Stories, Rice is one of the best, but something seems to be getting old here. Many of her recent novels feel like recycled material with similar characters and plot lines
SANDCASTLES seemed promising before its release, but once I started reading it, I found it very predictable with characters that I didn't really care that much about. I never really connected with Honor or felt the love she once she had for John. Nothing really happened that made me want to see them work things out and/or "live happily ever after." There were times in fact, when I thought Honor was just being plain selfish or even a "B**CH. Her reasons for falling out of love with John weren't really explored and/or explained. It's almost as if she just woke up one day and realized that John wasn't really the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
As for Regis, I kinda knew from the very first chapter which direction her story was going to go. The ending didn't surprise me and I wondered why it took so long to get to that point. As for her engagement, it seemed like a ploy to keep readers guessing with an extremely weak conclusion.
The supporting characters weren't as strong in SANDCASTLES either. Many times, Luanne Rice uses characters from previous novels to fill in the "neighborhood." There was only the briefest mention of previous characters and I don't even remember what relevance (if any) they had to the story. The characters of Bernie and Tom were far more interesting than Honor and John and I cared more about their love story than I did Honor and John's. Although it too was fairly predictable. I would rather have read & learned more about their love story and journey rather than the one readers were given.
Don't get me wrong here, SANDCASTLES isn't exactly the worse novel I've read lately, but it's definitely not one of the better ones. It's certainly one of Luanne Rice's weaker releases. Perhaps she needs to explore fresh material with new pllotlines and a variety of characters. Some writers stick to what they do and know best, and for a while, Luanne Rice was on a winning streak. But her last couple of novels just fell a little flat for me. Had any of these been the first Luanne Rice novel I had read, I don't think they would have been strong enough to keep me coming back each year. With previous works such as CLOUD NINE, FOLLOW THE STARS HOME and BEACH GIRLS, readers know that Luanne Rice is capable of writing beautiful stories about the many loves in a woman's life (husband, boyfriend, children, parents & friends). We just need to read some new material with stronger characters and storylines that capture and holds readers' attention. I'm looking forward to future releases with high hopes of improvement.