Clark's Eye on Books

Clark I reviews books and sometimes writes them!

The Black Sand Beach - Vanessa Hearne, Author

The Black Sand Beach – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Patiently, digging in and lifting up just enough, she inched her way toward the warm, dry sand high up on the beach. The moon’s path tracked higher,
casting shadows in the furrows made by dragging her 400-pound shell to
the special spot that had called to her over thousands of miles….. A
dark silhouette sat nearby in the moonlight, as she had many times
before. Volunteers watched over the turtle nests, an around the clock
band of enthusiasts who kept predators and thieves away. The survival
of these ancient creatures depended upon a small handful of dedicated
watchers. As tonight’s watcher sat, the wind caught a strand of her
hair and whisked it out from under the blanket…. Old man Greg, the
relief watcher, came down the beach to take his turn at guarding the
next…. It’s Kailani, he thought. I haven’t seen her for a while! “You
sleepin’ there, girl? You okay? Hello…Kailani…?” Greg’s stomach
lurched as he sensed something was wrong.

Frank and his wife Jess have been given the news that they will be spending the winter, not in rainy/cold Seattle, but in Hawaii. Frank, who works for Spencer and Clark
Construction, was informed that the company had acquired a contract to
turn a beautiful black sand Hawaiian beach into a building site for a
group of California investors who felt money was no option and the
beauty of the land could always be replaced after building was
completed. Frank and Jess really didn’t know what they were stepping
into when they accepted what should have been a very profitable job in a
very beautiful location.

Whereas the investors had their ideas of how the construction would progress, the islanders had their own ideas and they didn’t quite match. They held
meetings and protested whenever possible all to no avail. Then help
stepped in. The land that was to be converted to hotels, condos and
tourist attractions was also the sacred burial grounds for the Hawaiian
people. And this land was protected by Pele the Volcano goddess who vowed to do
whatever it took to save this special place not only for those that
have already passed but for those who still live in the living world.

As construction starts, so do the accidents leaving Jess and her new found friend Trudy wondering how wrong this resort site idea really is.
When one of the “accidents” actually turns into death, both women know
they must convince their husbands and the construction company owner that the project
must come to a halt.

Reading the description of the beach with its black sand and the turtles as they come back to the beach of their memory knowing exactly what they are
returning for, made me feel like I was there. I felt as if I was
watching over the turtles as they made their way across the beach to lay
their eggs. I felt as if my feet were sinking in the black sand. I
could see the earth movers preparing to begin the destruction of this
beautiful land and I could feel Pele’s anger as she prepared to defend
her land. This is a truly moving, heartfelt story that gave me a peek
at the beauty of a place I’ll probably never see except in pictures.
And that brings me to a quick story about a picture I saw in a take-out
restaurant in my neighborhood. I had only read about half way through The
Black Sand Beach
when I went into the restaurant to pick up my
order. On the wall were pictures of places the owner had been. I saw
one beach that was covered with what looked like black sand. I asked
the owner if it was in Hawaii and he looked at me with surprise and said
“yes, have you been there?” I told him,” not in person but through
books.” Hearne’s description of The Black Sand Beach is so
explicit that I actually recognized it in a picture. Now that’s good

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