Book Review: Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

I received Beach House Reunion for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, because I do these reviews for love of books.  This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. If you like this post, do me a solid and buy your book from Amazon via my link.

 

Book Review: Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice MonroeBeach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe
Published by Gallery Books on May 22, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 400
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five-stars

Whisking you back to the shores of her bestselling Beach House series, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family's enduring love.

Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate who doesn't know where her life will take her, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt's beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original "turtle lady," Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition.

In this heartwarming novel, three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

 

Ever a fan of Mary Alice Monroe, and in particular, the stories of the Rutledge family in her Beach House series, Beach House Reunion doesn’t disappoint.

Mary Alice Monroe has a magical way of capturing this part of coast Carolina – not just the scenery, but the innate nature of the two spots – the relaxed, idyllic Isle of Palms and the refined, old money side of Charleston. We get to catch up with some beloved characters ten years on – Cara and her brother Palmer, Palmer’s wife Julia and children Linnea and Cooper (now grown up), and Cara’s friends Flo, Toy and Emmi, along with meeting a few new ones – including Cara’s new baby daughter, Hope. I soon fell under the spell of island life and was ready to go dig my toes in the sand – even though things at Primrose Cottage and in Charleston aren’t all roses and sunshine.

Cara returns home to the place she feels most safe, and discovers a lot more about herself and her new baby. There are a lot of memories and ghosts to conquer on the island and in the cottage, and some secrets she will rectify.

While Cara’s story is moving, for me the meat of the story fell to Linnea. If you are familiar with this series, you know what luggage the family is dragging around, wrapped up in a pretty bow of familial expectations, and Palmer begins to appear, eerily, too much like his father. Linnea escapes from her father’s expectations temporarily when she returns to the Isle of Palms, and while she is there she breaks expectations (she learns to surf, which she wasn’t taught because it wasn’t something girls did in her family) and she figures out what she wants to do. I actually had hoped we’d see a little more on this end of things and can only hope there is another book following with more of her story.

Ultimately, this is a story of fighting against family history and breaking bad cycles, of new beginnings, and of being true to yourself.

This was a lovely read, a reward at the end of a stressful day as I lost myself in the pages. I only hope that Mary Alice continues to write about this family, as there are many good years left in the beloved beach house.

 

NetGalley

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