The Beach Trees by Karen White
Publisher: New American Library
Publication date: May 3, 2011
Paperback: 432 pages
On the library stacks: Adult fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read three of Karen White's previous novels, I was so excited to be able to be on this tour for her new book, The Beach Trees. This is a rich tale set on the Gulf Coast in 2010 about two women from different generations struggling to rebuild their lives after someone close to them has been lost.
Julie Holt is an executive assistant at an auction house in New York City. Her best friend Monica dies from a heart attack, leaving Julie part-owner of a beach house in Biloxi and the guardian of her 5-year old son Beau. Julie heads to Biloxi, sees the ruins of the house left from Hurricane Katrina and carries on to New Orleans where she must confront Monica's estranged family with the news of her death and to introduce them to her son.
Julie is haunted by the kidnapping of her sister who has been missing for the past 17 years. Living her life in a holding pattern, she does not understand why residents of the Gulf feel so compelled to build permanent lives in a place that can experience such devastation. When she meets Beau's great-grandmother Aimee, she finds a purpose in figuring out why Monica fled as there appears to be a connection to her own family. Told in alternating voices between Julie and Aimee, the reader gets to know both women well as they work together to reach an understanding about past events so they can heal and ultimately put them to rest.
As in On Folly Beach, I love how Karen White uses multi-generational voices to add depth to the nice mystery element in this novel. She also did a terrific job creating the atmosphere of her time periods and locations. However, the framework of this story was its one weakness. I think that it was unreasonable to expect that it would take months for Aimee to tell her story, especially to someone living under her own roof. But it did work for keeping the reader in suspense until the end. A solidly satisfying read that is perfect for the beach this summer.
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other great reviews from bloggers participating in this tour.
Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of the TLC Book Tour.
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