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Review: Beach House Memories

May 15, 2012

Now that she’s grown old, Lovie Rutledge spends more and more time in the past.  She can’t help but think of the summer of 1974 since it was a pivotal time in her life.  In 1974, she’d been married to Stratton for years – he was a selfish man, though, so he didn’t appreciate Lovie and trivialized her passion for sea turtles.  When Lovie arrived at the family’s beach house that summer she discovered a biologist there conducting a study on turtles.  She shared her notes and worked closely with him and when the two discovered that they had so much more in common than turtles, Lovie found herself falling in love for the first time.  Lovie had a life altering decision to make – should she stay with the life she knows or risk it all and follow her heart?

Beach House Memories, by Mary Alice Monroe, is a fantastic book about a strong woman who is forced to choose between desire and duty.  It’s the third book in an accidental trilogy, but it stands alone just fine since it’s the prequel.  I have grown to love Monroe’s writing for it’s emotional impact and environmental messages.  I can count on crying and learning something when I read one of her books.

Lovie is a fabulous character.  As a Southern wife in the early 1970s, she was duty bound to put her husband and children first and she did just that.  She loved the summers because they were spent in their beach house on the Isle of Palms – things were more relaxed and she had time for her passion – the sea turtles.  Monroe masterfully weaves facts about the turtles into the narrative which I found fascinating.  I wanted to know more and found myself doing a little research and watching videos of turtle nests hatching as I read the book.

Times were changing in 1974, but those changes were happening slowly in the old established families of the South.  There weren’t a lot of choices for a woman with a family then and it was heartbreaking to see Lovie faced with such a difficult decision to make.  It was interesting to see the reactions of those around her, though – some supported her and others blamed her for the actions of others.   It was nice to see that we’ve made some progress in women’s rights since 1974.

The combination of an emotional story, environmental details, and Mary Alice Monroe’s beautiful writing makes Beach House Memories a book you won’t want to miss.  It’s the perfect summertime read!

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth F permalink
    May 15, 2012 6:47 am

    Oh this sounds good! I think I have a copy of it. I’ll have to make sure to read it.

  2. May 15, 2012 7:08 am

    Sounds like a great summer read.

  3. May 15, 2012 7:09 am

    Sounds like a novel I’d enjoy!

  4. May 15, 2012 7:29 am

    I will have to put this in my beach bag when we head to the beach house this summer 🙂

  5. Beth Hoffman permalink
    May 15, 2012 7:58 am

    I didn’t know Mary Alice had a new release. Terrific review, Kathy!

  6. May 15, 2012 8:34 am

    This is set on the island where we’ve gone on vacation with a group of college friends every other summer for the past thirty years! I might have to read it before we go this summer, in July.

  7. May 15, 2012 9:00 am

    I do like the environmental aspects of this book, and the fact that Lovie’s personal story is so compelling as well. Since this is a standalone novel, I might do well to pick it up. You’ve made it sound wonderful! Excellent review!

  8. May 15, 2012 9:53 am

    Sounds like a perfect lounge chair read.

  9. May 15, 2012 10:09 am

    I’m loving these beach stories you have been reviewing lately. Perfect for summer!

  10. May 15, 2012 10:27 am

    Oh, this one is new to me. I haven’t read anything from this author. Thanks for the great review! I’ll be adding it to my wish list.

  11. May 15, 2012 11:37 am

    I look forward to this book! I loved Beach House and Swimming Lessons.

  12. May 15, 2012 12:03 pm

    i have never read Monroe’s books but feel i need to remedy that! your review is beautiful!

  13. May 15, 2012 1:09 pm

    She’s a new author to me, but it looks like a lovely story.

  14. May 15, 2012 1:39 pm

    I haven’t heard of this trilogy before, but this novel sounds excellent. I will have to remember it when I take my beach vacation this summer.

  15. May 15, 2012 1:40 pm

    It does sound perfect for summer. And I like the environmental theme too.

  16. May 15, 2012 1:49 pm

    This book really sounds great, Kathy–the perfect book to read this summer!

  17. May 15, 2012 2:27 pm

    She lost me at “Lovie.” What a name!

    I am not that into beach reads so this is probably not one for me, but I do enjoy seeing these beachy covers. Reminds me that warm weather is just around the corner.

  18. May 15, 2012 2:42 pm

    I didn’t realize that all of Monroe’s books have an environmental theme. I think tht’s terrific and I love that this book focuses on sea turtles. This sounds like a perfect read for a warm summer day. The character’s name, “Lovie” tripped me up a little as it’s a “term of endearment” between my husband and I, (we got it from an episode of Gilligan’s Island we caught at 3 a.m. one night (morning?!)years ago)

    I haven’t read any of Monroe’s books yet but I want to particularly because of how much you enjoy her writing style. I like the southern influence, too!

  19. May 15, 2012 2:50 pm

    I love the cover. This seems like a great summer read.

  20. May 15, 2012 3:10 pm

    This one sounds like a book I’d enjoy…I’ve loved some other books by this author. In fact, I have another of hers on my stacks (Last Light Over Carolina).

    Thanks for your thoughts…and the time period is one to which I can definitely connect.

  21. May 15, 2012 3:12 pm

    It’s good to start collecting info on summer reads! I love “summer” books!

  22. May 15, 2012 3:36 pm

    Ah, the age old choose between desire and duty…those get me every time.

  23. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    May 15, 2012 3:44 pm

    I have loved the books I’ve read by her and this one sounds wonderful to me! I love learning about the south and the environmental issues as you stated!

  24. May 15, 2012 4:26 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it. The cover really makes me look forward to summer vacation!

  25. May 15, 2012 6:23 pm

    Lovie is such a cute name, and the book sounds great 😉

  26. bookingmama permalink
    May 15, 2012 7:27 pm

    Based on your excitement when you were reading this book, I’m looking forward to it.

  27. Patty permalink
    May 15, 2012 8:27 pm

    I love love love books like this one!!!

  28. May 15, 2012 9:23 pm

    I’ve not read her yet but this looks like a fun one to start with.

  29. May 15, 2012 9:40 pm

    Like the sound of this one.

  30. May 15, 2012 10:08 pm

    I haven’t read any of this author’s works. Glad this is a perfect summertime read!

  31. Caitie F permalink
    May 15, 2012 10:54 pm

    Wow – this looks really good! I am looking for some summer reads and this has to go on the list!

  32. May 15, 2012 11:07 pm

    It sounds wonderful! You really had me at “Beach House”

  33. Literary Feline permalink
    May 16, 2012 11:24 am

    This isn’t my usual reading fare but it does sound good. I am glad you enjoyed it, Kathy!

  34. May 16, 2012 1:49 pm

    This sounds fab!

  35. May 16, 2012 9:58 pm

    I discover so many great authors through your blog! This book would make a fantastic beach read. I have never read this author but will watch out for her books.

  36. boardinginmyforties permalink
    June 14, 2012 1:29 am

    Sounds like one that needs to go on my list. I remember this time period well and will certainly relate to that and I love strong female characters in novels.! This one is a keeper for me!

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