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Beach Girls (Anglais) Relié – 1 octobre 2004

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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche.

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Chapter One

June, 2003

Her mother's best friend lived in a blue house, and that was all Nell Kilvert knew. So, from the minute she and her father had arrived at the beach for their summer vacation, Nell had kept her eyes peeled for a blue house. When she asked her father where it might be, he said that after so many years away, his only strong memory of Hubbard's Point was of falling in love with her mother on the boardwalk.

Beach girls now, beach girls tomorrow, beach girls till the end of time . . . Nell still remembered her mother's stories about Hubbard's Point, where she'd spent her childhood summers. She said that she and Aunt Madeleine and her best friend--what was her name?--were happiest with their feet in salt water. Her mother had said that no matter where they were, no matter where life took them, they would always be united by blue summer skies, high winds and sudden gales, and hot beach sand under their bare feet.

Hot beach sand . . .

Nell felt it now, scalding the soles of her tender feet. "Ouch, ouch," she said out loud.

A girl about nine--her age--looked up from her beach towel. "Stand here," she said, moving over so Nell could get some relief from the hot sand.

"Thanks," Nell said, standing on the very edge of the girl's towel.

"Do you live here?" the girl asked.

"We're renting a cottage," Nell said. "My father and I."

"That's good," the girl said. "What's your name?"

"Nell Kilvert. What's yours?"

"Peggy McCabe. I live here. Year-round."

"Oh," Nell said. She felt funny standing on the corner of the strange red-haired girl's towel, and thought how cool and fun it would be to live at the beach all year. Then, realizing that she had a Hubbard's Point expert on her hands, her eyes widened. "Do you know any blue houses?"

Peggy looked puzzled. "Well--that one," she said, pointing.

Nell looked over. Tall grass grew at the end of the beach, holding the sand in place so that no storm could ever wash it away. A big blue house nestled on the low dune--Nell had thought it had to be a beach club, but her father had told her it belonged to some lucky family. He had told her that it was built on pilings, to keep it above the highest tides, and that when they were young, he and her mother had gone underneath to kiss. Did it belong to Mom's best friend? Nell had asked, tingling. No, we didn't know the owners, her father had replied.

"A different blue house," Nell said to Peggy.

"Oh," Peggy said, getting a funny look on her face. "The witch's house."

"The witch?"

Peggy nodded, scooting over even farther on her striped towel, inviting Nell to sit down. She pointed across the crescent of white sand and sparkling bay to a house on the Point, hidden in lacy blue shadows of oak and fir trees. Nell peered, shielding her eyes from the sun with visor-hands. "That house looks white to me," she said.

"It is now," Peggy said. "But it used to be blue. When I was really little. I remember, because my sister Annie had a song about it:

Heart of stone, house of blue,

If you come in my yard

I'll make you a witch, too. . . ."

Nell stared up at the house. She was skeptical: her mother's best friend couldn't be a witch. On the other hand, Nell had ruled out just about every other cottage at Hubbard's Point. She had ridden her bike up and down all the roads with her father. And she'd gone back to the only two blue cottages she'd found and asked the people if they remembered her mother, Emma Kilvert. Both times, the answer was no.

"Why do you call her a witch?" Nell asked.

"Because no one ever sees her," Peggy said. "She lives in New York all winter, and when she's here, she stays in her yard till after dark. She talks to owls. She writes children's books about all different birds. One got made into a movie. People who don't know how weird she is come from outside the beach to look for her--but she doesn't even answer her door! And every morning, before the sun comes up, she walks along the tide line to look for shorebirds and her lost diamond ring."

"Her lost diamond ring?" Nell asked.

"Yes. She's a divorcee. She's been married lots of times. No kids, even though she writes kids' books. She collected the engagement rings, and wears them on all her fingers. But she lost the biggest one while she was swimming in a storm, and she has to find it. It's worth thousands. She puts spells on the men who cross her! And on kids who trespass in her yard. They read her books, and she chases them away. You should see the sign she has by her stairs. . . ."

Nell frowned, hugging her knees, making herself small. She didn't like the sound of this woman. Maybe it was a mistake to want to meet her. . . . But then she thought of her father and his new girlfriend, Francesca, and she thought of her mother's soft blue eyes, with the gentle sun lines around the outside corners, and of the way she used to talk about her best friend, and Nell felt a hole in her stomach.

Beach girls now, beach girls tomorrow, beach girls till the end of time . . .

Just thinking of the old saying made the shiver worse, and the hole bigger, and made Nell miss her mother so much she thought the sorrow might crush her right there on the beach. She stared up at the house on the hill, holding her knees tighter.

Could her mother's best friend be a book-writing witch? Nothing seemed impossible anymore. In fact, compared to other things that had happened during Nell's lifetime, that didn't even seem so weird or terrible. She thanked Peggy for the information, and then she set off to find a way up the hill to the House That Used to Be Blue.

The Hubbard's Point tennis courts had come a long way from when Jack Kilvert was a kid. Back then, they were cracked blacktop, a second thought to the beach and marsh, sloping into the sandy parking lot, underwater during big storms. Now they were green composite, neatly lined, rolled, and maintained--and people had to sign up to use them.

"Thirty-love!" Francesca called from across the net.

Jack concentrated as she prepared to serve. Her hair was honey brown, held back by a wide white band that set off her tan. Willow thin, except for the hourglass factor, she had legs that went on forever, and, in spite of his attempting to focus on the game, Jack was aware that she had stopped some traffic. Two men, smok-ing cigars and carrying beach chairs and floats, had stopped on their way down Phelps Road to watch her serve. Or stare at her legs.

She served, he returned, she jumped the net into his arms.

"You won, you bum," she said, kissing him on the lips.

"Doesn't that mean I'm supposed to jump the net?" he said.

"Don't get technical about everything. Maybe I was just in a big hurry to hold your big sweaty body--did you ever think of that?"

Jack laughed as she kissed him again. She felt thin and hard in his arms. He had a memory that bypassed his mind entirely, existing solely in his heart: of holding Emma twenty-five years ago, right in this same spot. Francesca was the spitting image of his wife as a young woman. Jack did the age math, and his head hurt.

"Come on, let's jump in the ocean," Francesca said.

"I want to go home and check on Nell."

"She told me she was going to the beach," Francesca said. "In fact, she saw me pull up in front of the house, and she met me before I even got out of the car. I think she wanted to go through my trunk, to make sure I hadn't brought an overnight bag. Honestly, she's like the border patrol."

"No, she was just welcoming you."

Francesca snorted through her pretty, perfect nose. "You are so not right about that. My parents were divorced, and when my father brought women home, I gave them hell. This is my payback--and believe me, I deserve it. Don't worry, though. I don't scare easy, and I totally respect her need to stake out her territory. I'll win her over--you'll see."

Jack didn't say anything, not wanting to give her the wrong idea about where things were going.

"Look . . . if she's at the beach, that means your house is empty," Francesca said, squeezing his hand. "I already know you have to be proper on the chance she'll walk in on us, but can we at least hold hands on the couch?"

"While going over our British North Sea plans . . ." Jack said. They both laughed, Jack pulling back his hand as they set off, thinking, Real romantic, you jerk. He was forty-eight, overwhelmed, overworked, and totally confused about life's twists and turns. She was twenty-nine, dangerously beautiful.

For the last six months, Jack had been in the Boston office of an Atlanta engineering firm. Francesca worked in his department now, and they had been colleagues for several years before that. They played mixed doubles together with people from work. He admired her serve, the precision of her mind, the excellence of her engineering skills, her great sense of humor.

Did she notice that he was keeping distance between them, not wanting people to think he was part of a couple? And just who would care? Who would even remember him? Emma had spent about fifteen childhood summers here, before her family had moved to Chicago. Jack's family had rented here for three years in a row; Emma was four years younger--his sister's age. He had met her on the boardwalk one clear July night, and their fates were sealed. This year, needing a place to take Nell on vacation, he had chosen Hubbard's Point over the Vineyard, Nantucket, the Cape, islands in Maine . . . not so much because he wanted her to see the place where her parents had met, bu... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Revue de presse

"Few writers evoke summer’s translucent days so effortlessly, or better capture the bittersweet ties of family love."—Publishers Weekly --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 559 pages
  • Editeur : Thorndike Press; Édition : Lrg (1 octobre 2004)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0786269634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786269631
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,2 x 14,5 x 2,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Par b careful le 11 juillet 2010
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Si quelqu'un veut acheter ce livre, il n'est pas en français contrairement à sa présence dans la catégorie livre français.
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Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer

Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 53 commentaires
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
My Very First Encounter With Luanne Rice - I am NOW a Fan! 29 septembre 2004
Par Julie Jordan Scott - Publié sur
Format: Poche
My first experience of Luanne Rice nets a treasure on so many different levels.

I picked this volume up at a second hand store - the cover attracted me and I was looking for an "entertainment only" read.

What I wasn't expecting and was thrilled to find was a discussion of the arts, what is sacred, what is failure and what is success, and how important it is to keep human - actually all being - connections alive.

Yes, it is classified as a "Romance" but the "Romance" is as much about Romancing Life - Romancing a child's heart - as it is a romance between a man or woman.

Perhaps its Romance among Men, Women, and the breath of Life itself.

This is an excellent example of a "simple, entertaining read" being so much more for the willing, open reader.

Thank you, Ms. Rice - for bringing me such a delightful gift - exactly the words I needed wrapped up in a lush package of fiction.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Horribly Overrated. 12 juillet 2005
Par Forever21 - Publié sur
Format: Poche
Beach Girls felt like too much and not enough all at once. This was a most disappointing read. It's fluff but even with romantic fluff there needs to be some interesting characters to sustain me throughout a 300 page read. And there simply was way too much of one character and not nearly enough of everyone else and their motivations. Hence, I cared nothing about what happened to Stevie and her sudden, instantaneous lurve for Jack, her dead best friend's husband. I found Jack suddenly finding everything he's ever wanted in Stevie a bit to easy and tidy, especially since it came on the heels of the author destroying his wife and their relationship.

While Beach Girls is supposed to be a story about a trio of young women who make a pact, each with distinct personalities and dreams in life, and then drift apart as life takes them in certain directions, in reality there's actually very little actual Beach Girl interaction. And it's actually Stevie's story. All Stevie all the time. Maddie and Emma's stories don't really exist. In fact, they don't really exist as full characters. It's clear, after the Prologue, that Emma and Maddie exist merely to serve Stevie and make her look more appealing and wise in comparison to the mess they become over the course of the book.

For a character to play such a central role in the whole story the author never really dives into Emma, her motivations, her relationships, what led her to be willing to do what she was about to do--especially given what was said throughout the story about her steadfast devotion and love for Nell. There's so many missing gaps in Emma as a character, Jack/Emma and in their lives it's hard to buy what the author expects us to buy as her explanation for who Emma becomes.

What Ms. Rice ultimately explains as Emma's secret felt cheap and incongruous with what had been written about Emma's love for Nell throughout the course of the book. Emma's actions drive this entire story into being, yet Ms. Rice goes out of her way to actually avoid giving Emma plausible motivation and evidence for what she is about to do at the time of her death.

Another bothersome detail is that Ms. Rice gives no glimpse into those missing years in the narration either for supposed main characters like Maddie, Jack, and Emma. The reader knows almost to the minute exactly what Stevie was doing in those missing 27 years. Given that the characters are now in their mid to late 40's and Nell is only nine, what exactly was Emma doing with her time until she had Nell in her mid-thirties, given that she and Jack got married in their early to mid 20's? Was she merely a bored housewife? Was she working? There is no explanation, it's like since they don't matter as characters to the author, those details that give a glimpse of the larger picture don't matter.I was most curious about Emma, Nell, Jack and their relationships with one another and Ms. Rice never really explains any of it, and what little she does explain she goes out of her way to take a hatchet to throughout the course of the narration.

I was left with way more questions than answers about these characters and their relationships at the end of the book and didn't really care about Jack/Stevie/Nell's perfect family when there was much that the author failed to explain and characterize.

The premise is interesting and heartwarming and tragic all at the same time, the descriptions of Hubbard's Point are striking but I felt like the author fell so in love with one particular character that she neglected everyone and everything else in the book, to the point where everything and everyone merely exist to serve the character of Stevie (who IMO was so perfect, so wise, so beautiful, so wonderfully "creative" she became annoying).
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The beach is for bonding and for healing (3.5 *s) 24 janvier 2005
Par J. Grattan - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
The starting point of Beach Girls is the joyous summers that three teen-age girls spent on the beaches of Hubbard Point, Conn sharing their lives and dreams, cemented by a solemn oath (a circle drawn in the sand) to always be together. The story resumes twenty-seven years later with the girls having inevitably lost contact many years before.

Now the focus is on trying to recapture some part of those idyllic days as the author reunites most of those characters, but only after life's realities have taken their toll. Conveniently, an inter-family marriage, not at first revealed, provides the basis for the return to the same beaches. But the real driving force in overcoming the gulf of many years of separation is the rather worldly nine-year-old daughter, Nell, of one of the beach girls. Time and again the young girl provides the push to get the old friends to take the next step in renewal and even growth.

The story is a bit sugary with a good bit of tugging-at-the heart scenes. There really are no villains - just people hesitant and unsure about relationships. The tale is not without some questions. For one, one of the beach girls takes a tangential turn in her life that is not well understood. The author's desire to have matters turn out well seems to drive a somewhat improbable connecting of a technocrat (sorry, no more details) to one of the beach girls, turned earth mother. But on the beach, all is possible. The characters are the focus of the book, but one could have hoped for slightly more in-depth portrayals.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great Girls 8 février 2005
Par need to read - Publié sur
Format: Poche
This story was so well written I felt I was one of the Beach Girls. It is a very sensitive story about how trauma and love gone wrong effects people. The beauty of it is in the telling of how they heal and go on with their lives. It is not maudlin at all but very smooth and lovely in the telling. You will like this story if you enjoy the beach scenes and nature and you will even taste a bit of Scotland's beaches too. The story evokes a sense of peace and beauty as the creative works of the artists come together and love remains.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This summer's PB is Hardcover material! 28 septembre 2004
Par JJ Stark - Publié sur
Format: Poche
Every summer, Luanne Rice releases a PB book which usually has some connection to the previous summer's release. BEACH GIRLS is no exception, with references to Bay & Tara who first appeared in last year's PERFECT SUMMER (2003), and even a small reference to Mrs. Renwick, who first appeared in FIREFLY BEACH, then later in PERFECT SUMMER. The PB novels, which are released every summer, don't usually excite me as much or grab my attention the way that Luanne Rice's HC releases do each Jan/Feb. (I have to admit - I never even finished reading FIREFLY BEACH because I just couldn't get into it!). BEACH GIRLS was another story, however. This story seemed to follow the same pattern that Luanne Rice's HC books seem to go, with a heavier, emotionally charged story with several characters intertwined and connected by the heart. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have been reading Luanne Rice since a friend loaned me their copy of CLOUD NINE shortly after its original release. I have been hooked ever since, and have become quite the fan. The PB books which she releases in the summer always seem to be a fast paced, light-hearted read, meant to be read quickly, and then seem to be soon-forgotten. They aren't as emotionally charged as her HC books are, but BEACH GIRLS was different.

I don't think I would compare this book to the Ya-Ya books (as some have done here), although it does refer to the bonds between Best Friends. I do find similarities to Judy Blume's SUMMER SISTERS, Debbie Macomber's SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET and BETWEEN FRIENDS, and Kristin Hannah's THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. These are some of my favorite authors/books, and now BEACH GIRLS is right up there, earning a high rating and recommendation from me.

Anyone who enjoys a story about true friendship, and the love and bonds between family & friends, will thoroughly enjoy this book. It's all there - the three best friends who grew up spending summers together on the beach; a close brother/sister relationship which is put to the test when one of the siblings feels betrayed by the other; the tender and innocent child who brings them all together. It's all there for readers to enjoy, without being overly melodramatic.

Of course it's predictable. Luanne Rice has been writing women's fiction for more than 10 years now, and all of her stories carry the same themes and are meant to pull at the reader's heartstrings. With all the connections to previous novels, what does one expect? I don't think that Luanne Rice's summer PBs are the best novels to draw in new fans and attract readers - I think the HC books are much better at grabbing readers' attention and stopping their hearts. But BEACH GIRLS was different, and I think that someone who has never read a Luanne Rice novel before, would be easily enticed into picking up another one of her previous books - perhaps even reading PERFECT SUMMER, in order to get the background on Bay & Tara!! But if a new reader isn't interested in going backwards to the novels of the past, I think anyone who read BEACH GIRLS and Luanne Rice for the first time would make sure they pick up a copy of her next HC novel, which should be on bookstore shelves shortly after the New Year!! I know I'm looking forward to it, and can't wait to see what's in store! I'm also hoping that maybe next summer's PB novel will pick up where this one left off, because once you finish this book, you'll definitely be wanting to know what happened next!
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