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~ Kathy M.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recent Reads: "The Beach House" by Mary Alice Monroe

I just finished another book!  Many of my book reviews are not of those books hot off the press, but if you run across them at a book sale or in the library I'm just letting you know what you are in for.

"The Beach House"
Mary Alice Monroe, c. 2002

I really did enjoy this book.  It takes place over a summer on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island off of the South Carolina coast.  It is about the ins-and-outs of a family working through their issues as they help others and help the Loggerhead turtles. 

The author does a wonderful job on descriptions and teaching us about the turtles, but some of the conversations and dialogue don't ring true.  For instance, we can tell that Brett is madly in love with Cara, but when he asks her to marry him, she says it won't work because they are both loners.  What???  Maybe she is, but he just hasn't found the right girl yet, ever since his college sweetheart was thrown from the back of his motorcycle and died.  There is so much in this book that what I just told you isn't really a spoiler, just an example. 

It is the little details that bugged me.  When Cara loses her job in Chicago, she packs up a suitcase and drives straight through to her family's beach house to spend time with her mother.  In her haste, she forgets her computer and cell phone.  On month four of her visit, a hurricane hits the island and the phones are knocked out.  It is pointed out that since she left her cell phone in Chicago, she couldn't make any calls for help.  Well, hello, she could have gotten another one by that time.  Maybe she just didn't need one on the island, but I'm not sure why it was even pointed out.  It was just things like that; but if I ever write my own book I'll keep my eyes open for such pitfalls, since the devil is in the details. 

I'm not sure why I am being critical about these little things, because the story was really nice and the characters were well developed.  Themes throughout the book include sea turtles, island life, the after-effects of mental and physical abuse, parent-child relationships, dying of cancer, illicit affairs, long-time friendships and above all the healing powers of love.  I read it pretty fast, and I will read the other books by Ms. Monroe as I come across them. 

I give it two thumbs up and worth your time.  It isn't up there with The Help or The Secret Life of Bees, but then not many books are.

~ Kathy M.

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Kathy A. Johnson said...

I know why you're being picky about those details: they bug you when you're in the midst of enjoying a well-told story. If there are too many things that jolt me out of the story, then I get frustrated by the book and sometimes even put it aside. At least this one kept your interest all the way through, and made you curious about the author's other works.

Linda Reeder said...

I do believe I have read this book, and like it too.

Arkansas Patti said...

Thanks for the review. I will keep an eye out for it. Fortunately for me, my memory is iffy enough that I would never catch such story line faux pas. Sometimes old is good.

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