Cover Image: Message in the Sand

Message in the Sand

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Member Reviews

I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. A cute women's fiction drama novel. The cover is pretty.
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Thank you to Goodreads for this book.

Have those tissues ready! I loved this book about Alan & Anne who live in Saybrook, CT with their two young daughters, Julia (15), a very smart girl and Pippa (6), who is just so adorable. Unfortunately things happen in lives, and their Aunt Candace comes from London, after their parents die suddenly in a car accident. She is their only living relative. Julia, wants emancipation at age 15 (she does her research and does file a claim) since Aunt Candace knows nothing about their lives and how to care for them. Wendell is the caretaker for their family and had issues of his own and knows nothing about raising kids, but Julia and Pippa love him. There are other characters who get involved. It was a happy ending and I would love to see a sequel since there's so much more that could happen in these lives.
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My taste in books are rapidly changing and I could not get in to this one at all. I had to DNF and will update my review if I ever try to read again.
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This was a pretty solid story about grief, loss and what makes a family.  While I enjoyed the story, it did take me a little while to get invested.  We met so many characters early on  and in just bits and pieces that it took a bit to get them straight.  At the end I was left with several questions that I wanted answers to.  It seemed things tied up very easily and all of a sudden.  Still worth the read and I will read more by the author.
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I thought this book sounded great, and I think if I had picked it up at a different time in my life, it would have been one I really loved!  I was not able to finish this book. This is the only reason I am only giving it 3 stars. Thank you for the copy!
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An emotionally packed story!

Description
An emotional and unforgettable tale of a small town irrevocably affected by an unforeseen and shocking event—from the author of the “charming gem of a novel” (Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author) Mystic Summer.

Wendell Combs is as local as they come. Born and raised in the small town of Saybrook, Connecticut, his venture into the larger world was met with heartbreak. Now, middle-aged and a confirmed bachelor, he seeks solitude from his tour of duty as a soldier back in his hometown, working as head caretaker for wealthy Alan Lancaster’s forty-acre estate, White Pines, a place he has come to love for its beauty, peace, and quiet.

Alan’s eldest daughter, fifteen-year-old Julia, also loves White Pines, but for very different reasons. She and her little sister spend their days riding horses, swimming in the lake, and painting landscapes inspired by the property they adore. While her parents prepare to host their annual summer gala fundraiser, Julia’s eyes are set to the simpler joys of summer: she’s fallen in love with the boy-next-door and longs for their next encounter.

But as the last guests leave on that magical summer night, a tragedy no one could have predicted suddenly occurs, shaking the entire town to its core. Wendell and Julia now face an uncertain future. At the height of their grief, two very different women return to Saybrook: Ginny Feldman, Wendell’s first love, who cannot stay away any longer, and Candace Lancaster, Julia’s estranged aunt who wants nothing to do with the town or the family estate she escaped decades earlier. Now, the only familiar things Julia has to cling to are Wendell and White Pines, but it looks like she’s about to lose both...

With Hannah McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) prose, this stirring and affecting tale explores the connection between people and place and what, ultimately, makes up the fabric of a family.
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I was unable to read Message in the Sand by Hannah McKinnon. I was never able to get it to download correctly to my kindle. Sorry.
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Hannah McKinnon is my go-to summer read. I love all of her books and look forward to them every year. This book, while very enjoyable, was not at all the light read I was expecting. This dealt with PTSD and heartbreak, but in a beautiful way. The characters were wonderful, and I didn't want this story to end. 

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This was definitely one of the best books I have read this year...the kind that grabs you from pretty much the first page. For whatever reason, with this book, I immediately liked the characters, the setting and the writing style of the author and that almost never happens. I wouldn't say it was five stars for me the entire way through and in fact it was 4 stars when I finished it...but as I was walking the next day, I noticed that I kept thinking about it so I moved it on to 5 stars. If you are looking for a book that is full of love, growth, and an overall good storyline, I would highly recommend this one. :)
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Message in the Sand was my second novel by Hannah McKinnon and she has since become one of my "go-to" beach read recommendations. While the covers might look a bit cutesy at first glance, the writing takes a bit more of an in-depth path...

McKinnon's writing is emotional and layered and I had a hard time putting this one down. The characters and relationships are multifaceted and the premise is layered while also taking on the important (and timely) issues of moving through tragedy and PTSD. 

The scene was set so beautifully yet it also tackles important and timely topics, which is my favorite kind of summer read. I highly recommend adding Hannah McKinnon to your reading list and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

{Thank you to Atria Books for my gifted review copies.}
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Sinking into this book on a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket; meeting with these characters, their beautifully articulated world and and their mesmerizing stories; I could not imagine a better place to be.

Wendell Combs, a strong, somewhat austere military veteran has dealt with so much fear and loss that he is unable to process his feelings safely. As the property manager and caretaker for the Lancaster family’s “White Pines” estate, Wendell manages a lakeside property in rural Connecticut that teems with wildlife and raw beauty, inspiring a closeness to nature at its core that has become his one true solace. 

Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here), Wendell’s roughly hammered-closed world is forever challenged as events unfold and he is thrust into deeper interactions with the Lancaster children - Julia, fifteen, a tempestuous teen on the brink of all the mysteries love and grown-up life has to offer her; and Pippa, a six-year-old pixie of a child, whose innocence and wide-eyed trust cannot help but charm all who come to know her. 

The resulting story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming, a raw and tender journey of the ups and downs, and ins and outs, that time and life can take to allow emotions long-hidden and “safe” to begin their ascent slowly into the light again. 

I loved this book, feeling its poignant message and satisfying ending a lovely close to an afternoon’s read.

A great big thank you to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

All thoughts presented are my own.
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Hannah McKinnon has become one of my go to no matter what author to read. Her story telling is superb. I discovered her by winning one of her books on an online giveaway and loved her book!
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This novel, set in a small lakeside town in Connecticut, alternates between four different points of view: Wendell, a veteran suffering from both PTSD and guilt about the death of his brother, who works as caretaker for an estate there; Julia, the teenage daughter of the estate owners; Ginny, who grew up in the town, who returns for the summer to help her parents with their business; and Roberta, a retired probate judge. An unexpected tragedy brings the various characters into contact with each other and propels most of the book.

I must say that the title and cover of this book are quite misleading - this is not at all a light summery book nor does it take place at the beach. Maybe two or three scenes take place on a lake, but a lake in the woods, not one that would have light colored sand or light blue water like the cover.

I may be one of the few readers out there who have read all of Hannah McKinnon’s previous books. The first three were in fact the fun kind of beach books that the cover promised, while the next two were a little less so. For me, this book was not quite as good as those first three books, but better than the last two. I enjoyed the characters and the story, it just felt a little underdeveloped. But all in all, still a good read and I will definitely continue reading her books. 3.75 stars.
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Another beautiful love story drawn from tragedy and sadness. I am always drawn to stories such as this during the summer. They really do bring a joy to the summer and reading by the beach.
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This was a great book. It is about several different people and how they overcome a horrible tragedy. I loved all the characters even Candace who was thrown into this and I thought tried to make the most of a bad situation. Glad they all got their HEA. I can’t wait to read the next one by this author.
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This book was absolutely beautiful. These poor girls orphaned so young and finding a home with Wendell, the most unexpected person. It’s truly about the power of love and that it’s never to late to start a family; even if it isn’t by blood. Wendell finally faced his past and was able to create the family he so needed while helping these girls. Such a great book
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A really fine page turner. This novel is atmospheric, heart-rending, and multilayered. 
Many thanks to Atria Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Healing
This wonderful book should be made into a movie. It starts out slow and idyllic and ends the same way. In between is the story of a cherished piece of land and what family really is. The book is much like watching what neighbors go through. The characters are realistic and they react as one would expect. This is a book to savor and read again and again. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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Message in the Sand by Hannah McKinnon has a solid premise and is filled with many of things I love in a story: small town, second-chance romance, family drama, and a good cause. While it ticked many boxes for me, I story didn’t grab me like I thought it would.

Mostly, it was to do with the characters.  I just didn’t connect with any of them.  Julia is sympathetic, but her desperation came off as insulate. Aunt Caroline is not a compelling antagonist.  I would have liked more development of that character and a better understanding of her feelings toward her childhood home.  Wendell Combs is the most compelling character. Wendell really steals the show.  His journey through PTSD and opening up to close, caring relationships again.

I found the information about the legal system as it pertains to minors interesting.  The resolution between Julia and Caroline is satisfactory.  The chaste, sweet romance is a secondary story thread that leaves a hopeful end.  I enjoyed the story arc, but the storytelling left me wanting.  Message in the Sand could have been a deeply emotional book had I been able to feel the love, anguish and eventual contentment the characters should have been feeling.
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Big fan of this Author! Each chapter has the perspective of each character.  You have a mix of characters from a judge, ex girlfriends, a home caretaker.  The setting is in a small community.  Easy breezy summer read!
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