Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Beach Trees ~ Book Review
I first read Karen White over a year ago when I had the chance to review her book On Folly Beach. I hadn't realized that I had one of her other works in my *to-read* pile until I finished and looked up some info on her.
So when I had a chance to read and review her latest novel, The Beach Trees, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. And then I received the my copy. Just look at the cover:
Doesn't it just pull you in completely? It's so beautiful. The colors and the water. It's so intense that I can almost smell the fresh air. Ahhh.
Julie is our main character in the present day. We meet her and she's grieving over the loss of her closest friend, Monica. She also finds herself in custody of Monica's son Beau. A little boy holding onto one small red hat and sucking on his thumb as if it were the only thing to soothe him.
We take the journey with Julie as she heads to Biloxi, Mississippi to find Monica's family. The family that Beau should know. As she comes to know them we meet Monica's brother, and Beau's uncle, Trey. The buttoned-up lawyer who is ready to fight her for what he claims is rightfully his.
We also meet Aimee, the boy's Great Grandmother. Her role in the family is puzzling, and her history intertwines with Julie's as the story unravels. Aimee tells Julie her life story, her memories, and her love for two brothers as we turn each page.
We are often brusquely brought back to the present without a finished note of Aimee's story. Julie doesn't like it any more than we, the readers, do, but it forces us to turn the page.
We watch as Julie develops a love for the memories Monica shared with her. A love for her family, friends and the place she called home so long ago. We observe as her connections to Biloxi and New Orleans strengthen and she helps Trey to develop River Song as it stood in his sister's and his memories.
We observe as Julie learns to let go of the past, let go of the things she hung on to and move ahead, strong enough at last to live her own life. And we're thankful that the small smile on a little boy's face is enough to get her started and shove her in the right direction. Then we're grateful for Monica, and all she did to get her friend to this point - despite the unexpected mystery that unravels surrounding that, as well.
And lastly, we learn about the beach trees. I won't touch on that too much as I don't want to give away what the title actually represents. I think it's important to just find that as you turn each page on your own.
Oh, and let me not forget that there's murder and mystery in this thrilling read, as well. Perfect (if not frustrating, upsetting and sometimes disappointing - in the characters, not the book itself!) way to spend your summer - at the beach or not - The Beach Trees is an excellent and worthy read. I hope you grab yourself a copy and enjoy it!
**I was not compensated for this review in any way. The publisher did provide me with a copy of this book to facilitate my review. **