Saturday, May 19, 2018

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

For a while, Mary Alice Monroe wrote one of her Beach House books every five years. I'll admit, it always took time for me to remember the family and the relationships. Fortunately for those of us who love to go back to the Isle of Palms, Beach House Reunion was published only one year after Beach House for Rent. Three years have passed, and it's time for the Rutledge women to once more return to the refuge of Primrose Cottage on the Isle of Palms.

Cara Rutledge inherited Primrose Cottage from her mother, the island's original turtle lady, Miss Lovie. She inherited neighbors, and the shelter of the cottage that has gone through hurricanes, love and death. Now, three years after her beloved husband's death, Cara has quit her job and returns, bringing one-year-old Hope, the daughter she adopted. But, Cara discovers it's hard to work at home and take care of a baby. Fortunately, her niece, Linnea, has learned it's hard to be a recent college graduate without a job and live with her parents. Her aunt's need for a nanny coincides perfectly with Linnea's need to escape the family home in Charlotte.

Summer on Isle of Palms is always a special time. It's turtle nesting season. Lovie's greatest gift to the women in the family, and the friends of the family, was her passion for the ocean and its creatures, especially the turtles. It's also the time that Cara and Linnea find the strength and support they need, men who share their love for the South Carolina Lowcountry and island life. Monroe entwines the story of the turtles and their life cycle with the story of the Rutledge women. While men in the family can be demanding, angry, and, sometimes abusive, the women find the source of their strength and life on the island.

While summer is the time to gather strength, September brings storms, both in nature and in the Rutledge family. Hurricane Irma will bring changes to everyone's life, violence that was foreshadowed in the book. It's going to take the beach and the strong Rutledge women to change the course of the family.

If you haven't read the previous four books in the series, I'd suggest you go back and meet Lovie and her daughter, Cara, for the first time in The Beach House. Don't worry if you can't, though. The other books will reintroduce you. But, be prepared. These are emotional stories of mothers and daughters, close friends, and the strong bonds formed by women who need and support each other. They're stories that are dependent on nature, ones that emphasize the importance of the connection to life with nature. And, I cried through the entire last two chapters of Beach House Reunion.

It's a book that's filled with ocean life, passion, and family love. Beach House Reunion offers shelter. If you read it, seeing island life as a refuge, you may end up in tears as well.

Mary Alice Monroe's website is

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe. Gallery Books, 2018. ISBN 9781501193293, 384p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Kay said...

I'm pretty sure that I read the first book a long while back. Don't think I've read any since that time, but I'm going to keep these in mind for when I need a break from the mystery genre. They sound wonderful and I'll likely reread The Beach House to refresh my memory.

Lesa said...

That's funny, Kay. I read the first and the third, and it was sort of scattered for me as well, although I really enjoy them. I think they must have suffered from a lack of promotion somewhere along the way.