The Sandcastle GirlsBy Chris Bohjalian
'How do a million and a half people die with nobody knowing? You kill them in the middle of nowhere.' The year is 1915. When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, her diploma from Mount Holyoke and a crash course in nursing have left her wholly unprepared for the atrocities she must face. For Aleppo is the first arrival point for the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who have been forced to march out of Turkey and through the desert to die. There Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter in the genocide. When Armen leaves Aleppo and travels to Egypt to join the British army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and slowly he begins to realise that, unless he can find his way back to her, he risks becoming lost forever. Present day, New York. Laura Petrosian has always known her grandparents' ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed 'The Ottoman Annex', yet she has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura's grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family's history that reveals love, loss - and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.