Book Review: Journey to Sand Castle

Journey to Sand Castle


Leslee Breene will touch your heart with Journey to Sand Castle. The book delves into many emotions, but the greatest is the healing power of love.

As Hurricane Katrina rages in New Orleans, divorced teacher Tess Cameron does what she can to help victims as they pour into the school for protection. Utter chaos leaves people in a panic: families are separated, there is little food and water, and no electricity. Hope of returning to their normal lives dwindles with every moment. As the people leave the school for more permanent shelters, Tess is left with a little bi-racial girl, Crystal, the daughter of a fellow teacher, a single mother, whose whereabouts is unknown. A three-legged cat is also thrown into the mix, a newly acquired pet of Crystal’s.

Tess’s teaching job and apartment are destroyed, but rather than seek temporary shelter with the other victims, she attempts to take Crystal to her grandfather in Sand Castle, Colorado in the San Luis Valley. When she finds the crusty, bitter man, she’s discouraged by his apparent disinterest in his granddaughter. Left in a quandary, but wanting to do the right thing for Crystal, Tess tries to find a job to tide her over until she can get her life, and the life of her little charge, in some kind of order. She learns that Grant Wilder, a widowed rancher/outfitter, needs a cook and someone to keep house. Tess isn’t much of a cook and has never considered herself anything more than a wandering spirit, a rolling stone, but for the sake of Crystal, accepts this temporary job and, with the little girl, moves onto the ranch.

The story develops into an exciting drama as fate spins its magic in the lives of those involved.

On a personal note, I was intrigued with the theme of Hurricane Katrina. As an American Red Cross volunteer, I spent several weeks in Louisiana assisting the victims of this horrendous disaster. I could relate to the profound loss and confusion of Katrina’s aftermath as Breene describes it in this novel.

I highly recommend Journey to Sand Castle. It’s a memorable novel of depth and redemption.

Book Review: Starlight Rescue

Starlight Rescue by Leslee Breene, a Contemporary Western Romance, is a story of a woman with a big heart, and a big debt.

Veterinarian Kimberly Dorn, runs a Wyoming ranch on which she keeps rescued animals, mostly horses and llamas. She’s facing a large loan payment and the threat of greedy land developers. Gabe Trent, from Montana, is a wildlife photographer and filmmaker who needs a temporary place to stay while working in the area, and rents a building on Kimberly’s ranch.

Sparks are ignited, but Kimberly must keep reminding herself that Gabe is just passing through. One of the highlights of the book is when a llama gives a complicated birth and Kim and Gabe assist.

The intriguing love interest is well handled. Breene also does a good job of portraying the personalities of the animals in her charge. Readers have an opportunity to learn about horses, llamas, and emus as Kimberly conducts her daily business.

Starlight Rescue is a fun read, full of life’s passions, compassion, and vivid Wyoming landscapes. For more information about the author, visit