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Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love
by Sebastian Cole
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Reviewed by: Celina Cuadro

I must confess I approached Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love with trepidation - I am not a regular reader of romance novels. I prefer to entertain fantastic or speculative worlds rather than consider the possibility of true love discovered at a cathartic moment of gazing into a beloved's eyes, and so I approached Sebastian Cole's tale with eyes narrowed and hackles raised. After all my posturing and suspicion, I caved in record time and surrendered to the tale's earnest charms. In the final analysis, I am a jaded romantic, and Sebastian Cole's Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love shook out most of the cold jade and revived the romantic in me.

Noah Hartmann, born to a wealthy Rhode Island family, was having a good life without really living. His desire to find something better than the comforts of a privileged life made him take up the quest of finding his soulmate. Despite all his hard work and diligence, he actually found her - a whirlwind named Robin who tumbled into his world and breathed life into him. And just when he thought he was finally happy, he lost her. Broken and confused, he somehow managed to move on with his life only to have Robin appear again and again, making him realize each time that he loved her as truly and deeply as each time he lost her. It was a painful metamorphoses for the lovers: Robin awoke to the horrors and secrets of her past to free herself for Noah, and Noah was paying a high price to destroy the veneer of existence he was cocooned in for the chance of a life with Robin. And despite the many twists of this heart-wrenching story for the reader to enjoy, the author gifted me with one more delectable twist that sent my heart-strings strumming!

I went into this novel kicking and screaming, refusing to give quarter: I scoffed because Noah's 'search for true love' could only be the pursuit of the trust-fund rich, since only they could have the financial resources to focus on such a pursuit. Robin's vibrant redhead persona I dismissed as too unreal - no woman was that redheaded and gorgeous, not even in the subjective light of the man who loved her! And when they gazed into each other's eyes for the first time and got the butterflies in their tummy so bad they couldn't eat, I mentally SNARLED. Noah's character however quickly won me over: Sebastian Cole painted for his readers a really nice guy, the kind who usually 'finished last', who was going through some very painful growth in order to be his own man and cut his own swath in the world. I also could not hate Robin's character - for all her beauty and the aura of living in the moment she exuded, she truly was a 'damsel in distress' in a most touching way, and I couldn't help but sympathize and feel for her. Each new twist the author wove into the plot then kept matching a new revelation in Robin's past, and very soon I was willingly wading deep into all the heartache, wondering if there would be any respite for these troubled souls. And, when I finally surrendered and committed to these star-crossed lovers to watch the tale reach its fruition, Mr. Cole reveals one more gem of truth after all was said and done that warmed me to my toes.

So to the hopeless romantics out there I say, Highly Recommended - have at it, this is a must-read. To the snarling cynics like me who mentally have their arms akimbo and their eyebrow raised, I say pick up Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love and surprise yourself by discovering the romantic in you.

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