Author: Mary Alice Monroe
Overview from Goodreads:
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.
Two different generations returning the beach house that each of them loved to live and grow was an excellent addition (Book#5) to the Beach House series. After reading Beach House for Rent, this was a great continuation of the story (although you could read this as a standalone and still understand the overall stories).
We pick up the story about three years after Beach House for Rent ends. Cara has finally become a mother and adopted a baby. She uproots her life and leaves her career in Tennessee to raise her new child at her beach house on the Isle of Palms. Her child will be raised near her friends and family in the place that has brings Cara comfort and a sense of peace. She continues to be at home at the beach, but now she has to decide with what comes next for income and potentially love.
Our second protagonist for this part of the series is Linnea, Cara’s niece. We get to explore her life while living at home with Cara’s brother Palmer after graduating from college. With no immediate job prospects on the horizon, she moves in with Cara to become her live-in nanny. Linnea’s deeper connection with Lovie is explored and her love of turtles further come to light as she becomes an active member of the Turtle Team.
As both Linnea and Cara have the same family history, we get to dive deeper into the secrets of their pasts and more about Lovie and Cara’s father. We also get to explore the theme of family and breaking the cycles from the past. Palmer is a central story as he is working together with his daughter and sister to help himself from becoming like his father and fears that the cycle will further continue in his son. Palmer is a decent guy deep down, but he’s working to not become a product of his past.
I continue to love how this author integrates the zoological facts of different animals found on the island with the overall importance of environmental conservation and education. The previous novel delved in to pelicans and this one focuses on loggerhead turtles. By putting together these facts, you can see how wildlife can relate to certain people and it gives an extra element to the story. Through Linnea’s love of turtles, you are able to further see the importance of groups like the Turtle Club as they not only provide assistance to the animal’s conservation, but they are there to provide education to others (either other residents or tourists).
The overall story continues to show the importance of friends, family, relationships, and moving forward no matter the obstacles you face. We go through multiple emotions throughout the story and it’s a great ride along the way. Although this book took me a little longer to get into than the previous novel, it had a very satisfying conclusion and I now want to go back and read the first three in the series (as I mistakenly started with #4). Excellent beach read that can be read in just a couple of sittings (less if you dedicate a little time for reading).