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What if you discover everything you believed to be true about yourself has been a lie?

Stunned by news of an impending redundancy, and impelled by the magic of a long-forgotten sand dollar, widow Jenny Sullivan retreats to her godmother in Oregon to consider her future.

What she doesn’t bargain for is to uncover the secret of her adoption at birth and her Native American heritage. This revelation sees her embark on a journey of self-discovery such as she’d never envisaged.

Moving between Australia’s Sunshine Coast and the Oregon Coast, The Sand Dollar is a story of new beginnings, of a woman whose life is suddenly turned upside down, and the reclusive man who helps her solve the puzzle of her past.

275 pages, Paperback

First published October 26, 2014

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About the author

Maggie Christensen

36 books125 followers
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them.
From her native Glasgow, Scotland, Maggie was lured by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ to Australia,where she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she selects and delivers books to the housebound.
A member of Queensland Writer’s Centre, RWA, ALLi, and a local critique group, Maggie enjoys meeting her readers at book signings and library talks. In 2014 she self-published Band of Gold and The Sand Dollar, Book One in the Oregon Coast Series, in 2015, The Dreamcatcher, Book Two in the Oregon Coast Series and Broken Threads, and in 2016, Madeline House, book Three in the Oregon Coast Series

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5 stars
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49 (30%)
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23 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,110 reviews2,668 followers
December 10, 2014

Jenny Sullivan was shocked, angry, saddened – the news that the position she held was disappearing; a job she had loved for the past ten years – what would she do? Her best friend Rosa did her best to console her but finally Jenny decided to take leave and go to Oregon to visit her beloved godmother whom she hadn’t seen for quite some time. She would work out her future while in Maddy’s company. Jenny lived in Noosa Australia, and loved everything about it. Her life had been filled with ups and downs – she had lost her husband when her children were young, but now they were grown with families of their own. Jenny was an independent woman now…

The sand dollar which Maddy had given Jenny as a child had stayed with her in every move she had made over the years. Now she felt its magic once again – she packed it in her suitcase along with her other belongings. Maddy was thrilled to see Jenny, and within days, the relaxation and ambiance of the Oregon coastline and her godmother’s calm demeanour had Jenny gradually losing the tensions that had pressed her down for the past few weeks.

Mike Halliday was a professor at a university in San Francisco – after a particularly tragic time in his life he decided to retire; to take the time to write the book he’d been thinking about for some time. His interest and specialty was Native American heritage; he couldn’t think of a better place to work on it than the cottage he owned in Oregon.

When Jenny discovered her past; a past she didn’t even know she’d had, she was devastated. Her emotions were all over the place; but she decided she needed to find out the truth. But would finding it out be the best thing for Jenny though? Would her journey of discovery tear her apart?

This is my first by Aussie author Maggie Christensen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Sand Dollar weaves a story between Australia and the US; it’s a story of heartbreak and second chances. I loved the well rounded and very real characters - Maddy was adorable; eighty three years old and full of spirit and compassion, love and understanding. I have no hesitation in highly recommending The Sand Dollar as an excellent and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Sharon.
992 reviews192 followers
December 22, 2017
Jenny Sullivan is lost for words and feels quite emotional when she finds out that the job she has enjoyed doing for the last ten years is coming to an abrupt end.

The timing could not have been better when Jenny gets a letter from her godmother Maddy in Oregon who asks her to come and visit her as there are things she needs to discuss with her face to face. Just before Jenny received her godmothers letter she came across an object at the bottom of one of her drawers when she was cleaning it out. It was a sand dollar and she recalls when she found it with her godmother in Oregon many years ago. Was this a sign or just coincidence that within days of noticing the sand dollar she then receives a letter from her godmother. Either way Jenny had made up her mind, she needed a break, so she made arrangements and before she knew it she was on her way to Oregon.

Whilst in Oregon Jenny will not only get to spend some time with her beloved godmother, but she will also discover hidden secrets. And in the middle of all of that Jenny meets Maddy's next door neighbor Mike. Mike also has his reason for being in Oregon. Could there be romance around the corner for Jenny and Mike?

I enjoyed this story far more than I imagined I would. A well written story of friendship, love, second chances and a story that had me intrigued from start to finish. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Rita Chapman.
Author 14 books166 followers
April 15, 2017
It was lovely to read a book where the main character, Jenny, lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Australia, my own home turf. When her career hits a major bump Jenny heads for Oregon, USA to visit her godmother and meets her neighbour, Mike. This story has likeable characters and is an entertaining read.
Profile Image for Sandy  McKenna.
674 reviews16 followers
February 13, 2023
A thoroughly enjoyable read

Following a long career, Jenny is faced with the choice of retrenchment or reapplying for her existing position. Needing to ponder this mementous decision, she takes extended leave and heads to Oregon in the United States to visit her godmother.
An excellent read with lots of surprises, great characters and amazing locations.
Very highly recommended for lovers of a good story with a few twist and turns as well as a touch of romance.
Profile Image for Simone.
112 reviews16 followers
June 21, 2015
Jenny Sullivan is at the tail end of her successful career, but still the news that she will soon be made redundant leaves her shaken and a bit lost. While her children see it as an opportunity for her to become a live in babysitter for them she knows that she wants her retirement to be more about her. Randomly coming across a sand dollar in her home, it immediately brings back memories of her godmother Maddy in Oregon. On a whim Jenny decides she will visit Maddy and forget about her other life stresses for a while. Upon her arrival in the US, Jenny knows she has come to the right place. Despite her advanced age Maddy is very much as she remembered her and the scenery is beautiful. Jenny immediately slips into a happy and relaxing routine, relishing the time she is spending with her godmother. But then a chance discovery of an old letter while helping Maddy de-clutter presents Jenny with another body blow when she discovers a secret about her past.

Mike Halliday is Maddy's neighbour. Happy to leave his old academic life in San Fransisco behind, he loves the peace and quiet of the Oregon coast and while he misses his late wife, he has no plans to fall in love again. Upon hearing that Maddy's goddaughter is arriving and suspecting that she may try to matchmake, he decides he will do his best to avoid Jenny as much as possible. Despite this their paths do cross and both realise that sometimes love will find you even when you're doing your best to retreat from it.

I really enjoyed the way the Sand Dollar celebrated mature women, illustrating that they still continue to live fulfilling lives and are just as affected by the angst of new love or the devastation of learning a life changing fact. Jenny is a well developed three dimensional character and I fully empathised with her as she navigated her way through re-discovering who she really was. I admired the way she strove to remain true to what she wanted in life rather than giving in to what her children expected of her.

The Sand Dollar is a lovely book, with the backdrop of the Oregon Coast an added texture to this multi-layered story. It has an easy to read style that flowed nicely without lagging and explored many themes, chief of these that knowing who you are and where you come from is an intrinsic human need no matter what age you are. I applaud Maggid Christensen for choosing to write about an often neglected age group and showing that their stories are just as interesting and engaging as the twenty somethings.

Profile Image for Bodicia.
209 reviews20 followers
November 26, 2014
High flying career grandmother Jenny Sullivan is stunned when a restructuring at work causes her to lose her job. Whilst clearing her house, she finds a sand dollar which she found on a beach when she was a child and visiting her godmother Maddy. Deciding to visit Maddy, she leaves Australia and heads for Oregon in the USA to give herself the breathing space to decide what to do next.

Widow Mike Halliday has moved in to the holiday home his wife and he loved so much in Oregon and is planning a solitary existence whilst he gets on with his research on Native Americans and their culture. When his neighbour Maddy tells him her goddaughter is on her way for a visit he resents the interruption to his routine and vows to have as little as possible to do with her and any matchmaking Maddy might have in mind.

I really liked this romance between two people in the autumn of their lives. Independent people, brought together by circumstance, but neither needing or wanting a relationship with anyone and doing everything they can to avoid the complication of it. Neither of them had reckoned on Maddy’s indirect influence after her fall nor the letter which would throw Jenny in such turmoil. Struggling to find her truth, Jenny has to re-evaluate her whole life in her roles as a daughter, mother and grandmother. I loved the character Maddy who is feisty, determined and willful; she reminded me of somebody who had a great influence over my own life.

Giving us characters most people can relate to on one level or another, this is genuinely heartwarming stuff which is well written and perceptive.
Profile Image for Rosie Amber.
Author 0 books114 followers
March 22, 2015
The Sand Dollar is a piece of contemporary fiction. Sixty year old Jenny lives in Queensland Australia. The company she works for is making her redundant which has rather shocked her. Jenny's son and daughter believe this is good news as she'll be able to help them both out with baby-sitting, but Jenny wants more from life.

She decides to travel to Oregon to visit her Godmother Maddy. Mike Halliday, a widower, has also decided to move to Seal Rock, Oregon after the death of his wife. He wants a quiet life where he can continue his research into Native Americans.

When Maddy has a fall Jenny and Mike must let down their defences and work together. Jenny discovers some old letters from her Mum to Maddy and is shocked by their content. It opens up a whole new direction of her life and leaves her with lots of questions.

This is a relaxed paced story about people in later life still finding reason to live and love.
December 6, 2015
I really enjoyed the Sand Dollar: Loved Band of Gold as well. Puts me in mind of books by Liz Brynski - of mature women who are not "washed up". LOVE the cover pic (Jane Dixon-Smith) and can't wait for the Broken Thread and the Dreamcatcher. I live on the Sunshine Coast and am considering pretending Maggie Christensen is my Author name.
The Sand Dollar
November 20, 2015
I really enjoyed this book even though I read book 2 in the Oregon Coast series first. The beautiful settings on the Oregon Coast and Sunshine Coast are the ideal background for a beautifully written mature love story. The characters and the problems they face in life are both interesting and realistic. Can't wait for the third book in the series.
September 7, 2020
Enjoyable reading

Unraveling the mystery was interesting, but it seemed to slow with Jenny and Mike trying to figure out where they stood with each other. I found it amusing how the American characters spoke using Australian colloquialisms such as:

Ring you Instead of Call you
Come round instead of Come over
Takeaway instead of Takeout
A lie down instead of A rest
Called in instead of Stopped by
Rub along Instead of Get along
Hire car instead of Rental car
Get a coffee Instead of Get some coffee

I’m not being critical, but perhaps an American editor would be helpful. 🤗

All and all, I did enjoy the book. This is the third book I have read by this author.
Profile Image for April.
2,117 reviews34 followers
November 22, 2018
The Sand Dollar
The Oregon Coast Series, Book 1
: Maggie Christensen

This is book 1 in this series. I listened to book 2 before this one, and felt the need to listen to this one. I was drawn in and was hooked. I stayed up half the night to find out if a second love after 50 could happen. There were plenty of twists and turns and drama. Now I need to find the third book.

The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed by Gail Hedrick.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Profile Image for Judy.
262 reviews3 followers
September 12, 2018
This is my first read from this author and I loved this book. So many stories are centered around main characters in their 20s and 30s. It was so nice to read a romance about people that are in my age bracket. Jenny and Mike are well developed characters who both find their second chance. Their story is special. And I love Massey. I’m loving king forward to continuing this series with Ellen’s story. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Glennis Browne.
37 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2021
It was interesting to read of two widowed people easing their ways into a new friendship, displaying caution when realising there was more to the comfortable companionship than they envisioned. I understood how two mature adults might tend to recoil from allowing their emotions to change their well thought out plans for their individual futures. Maggie brought the story to completion cleverly, holding my interest with the challenges and obstacles.
10 reviews
March 12, 2018
Love is for everyone

Living alone can be a good thing, but finding love is better. Learning to be open to possibilities and being ready to change is difficult at any age, but even more so to those who have given up the idea of finding love. I recommend this book to everyone but especially to those whose companions have been taken.
Profile Image for Lena West.
Author 15 books3 followers
July 14, 2020
Another beautiful second chance romance from Maggie Christensen, a master of this genre. Imagine suddenly finding out you're not who you thought you were! Add in a new romance and a new career to finding a whole new family, and Jenny really had her hands full. I couldn't put this book down and look forward to the next.
305 reviews3 followers
June 30, 2018

Enjoyable and a little slow moving tale of rediscovering
purpose and direction in what youth would term "over the hill" lives. Loved the setting in Oregon. Some of the phraseology and colloquialisms I assume are Australian,but fun. Good yarn.
Profile Image for Alice.
1,574 reviews
November 3, 2021
Too much

And not enough. Background, adoption explored and resolved with ease. Problems with daughter's expectations and no angst? Wealth apparent. Severance pay enough to afford a business? Doesn't ring true.
322 reviews
April 25, 2022
Such a lovely start to a new series. Great characters living on the Oregon coast. Love Jenny but Maddy is a very close second. Second chance romance, second chance at life. Lots of twists and turns. Could not put this book down
453 reviews1 follower
February 16, 2018
Good story. Couldn't put it down. . The couple walk along the beach often and I found it relaxed me also. This is book 1 and awaiting the others. Good ending.
Profile Image for Janine.
596 reviews30 followers
April 15, 2016
How refreshing is it to read a book that not only has an engaging story in it but is steered towards relationships with mature aged adults.

This tells the story of Jenny who is a victim of company restructuring despite being a competent and loyal employee for years. At the same time her godmother who lives in Oregon, USA writes to her asking for a visit as she has things she needs to discuss with Jenny. Needing a break anyway from work and family pressures she takes long service leave and flies to Oregon to meet with Maddy, her 83 year old godmother to sort out her affairs.

What she doesn't count in is meeting Mike, Maddy's neighbour who is a widower and has decided that a quieter lifestyle is what he needs after caring for his late wife.

Sounds like a typical romance novel? No, it is so much more, Jenny makes discoveries about her life that she did not know which leads her to make a lot of decisions. I loved the way the author has woven several plot lines beautifully, just when you thought you knew what was going to happen, bang, another shock comes up - I loved being on the roller coaster!!

This is the first book I have read by Maggie and I already have the next book ready to go. A clever Australian author who has tapped into a market of mature readers, who know that love isn't just for the young. Highly recommended for readers of women's fiction or life-lit.
Profile Image for Jaffareadstoo.
2,592 reviews
October 17, 2015
When Jenny Sullivan finds a sand dollar amongst her cherished possessions, it brings back memories of the happy times she spent in Oregon, USA with her godmother Maddy. Jenny unexpectedly discovers that the job she has enjoyed for the last ten years is about to come to an end and in order to make sense of this catastrophic event, she makes the momentous decision to travel from her home in Queensland ,Australia to Oregon in order to spend some special time with her godmother. Forced into making some dramatic changes in her life, Jenny uses her time in Oregon to discover the hidden secrets of her heritage which, ultimately, opens a journey of self-discovery that Jenny could never have imagined.

I thought that the story was allowed to evolve nicely and the author shows a real sense of empathy with her characters. The gentleness of the narrative allows Jenny’s story to be told in an entirely realistic way and I enjoyed the anticipation of how the journey would advance and develop. The burgeoning relationship between Jenny and widower, Mike Halliday is sensitively explored and shows that people can, and do, find love at a later stage in life. Jenny’s relationship with Maddy is a joy to read, as is Maddy herself, who is feisty and determined.
Profile Image for Cheryl A..
293 reviews29 followers
June 9, 2022
Beautifully multilayered cozy.

The author allows the reader to get to know the characters and their interactions with all characters. A lovely story of mistakes people make and the turmoil of such actions. From several different generations and locations, the scenes until the reader turn pages to see what it of these things get settled. Remarkable story with some sadness, loneliness, love, and romance intertwined to a great ending!

I was given this book free in the hope of an honest review. I loved this book and can hardly wait to start the next one in this series!

(Completed October 15, 2018)
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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