“To me, the glass is half-empty some days and half-full on others. Sometimes it’s bone-dry. Or overflowing. – Mary Alice Monroe
The first of June has always meant summer to me even though I realize the official start signified by the Summer Solstice is later, not until June 20th here in North America. I thought I would recommend a delicious beach read from Mary Alice Monroe. Beach House Memories is the prequel to The Beach House, first published in 2002, followed by its sequel, Swimming Lessons.
Beach House Memories slowly unveils the answers to the questions the reader is left with after reading The Beach House. The trilogy is set against the background of the plight of the endangered loggerhead sea turtles on the Isle of Palms, one of the barrier islands off the coast of South Carolina. The story centers around the passion of the main character, Olivia “Lovie” Rutledge, to rescue them. It should come as no surprise that saving the sea turtles is also a passion of the writer, Mary Alice Monroe. The story is filled with fascinating facts about these noble creatures and the lengths they will go to ensure their species survives.
Lovie is an elderly lady, as she was in The Beach House, when this book opens but very soon the reader is back in 1974 and we meet Lovie when she was a young Charleston matron living a very correct life as the wife of Stratton Rutledge. Stratton is the son of an old and very proper Charleston family with a home on Tradd Street and everything that comes with it.
This is women’s fiction at its best. Mary Alice Monroe is a master of the genre. Beach House Memories explores the relationship between Lovie and her husband, her two children, her mother, and her friends.
This is also a love story. Stated more clearly, it is a story about the people and the turtles that Lovie Rutledge loves and it explores the decisions she makes in order to remain true to those loves.
Beach House Memories stands alone. You don’t have to read the other two books in the series to understand and enjoy it. I bet you will though. Once you meet these characters you will want to know more about them. You can read it anywhere but, if you can, take it to the beach. The sound of the ocean is the perfect soundtrack for this story.
I hope you like it as much as I did. Prepare yourself to fall in love with the sea turtles.