“Magical! Mary Alice Monroe’s writing is always sensitive and true, as inspiring as the natural wonder about which she writes.”
—New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank
“Monroe’s usual resplendent storytelling shines even brighter in BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES, which offers startling insights into the intimate connection between nature and the human heart.”
—New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry
“Mary Alice Monroe takes us back to the mid 1970’s when sea turtle conservation was in its infancy. The efforts by “turtle lady” Lovie Rutledge to document the number of loggerhead nests each season on the Isle of Palms was largely unappreciated or even ridiculed by locals. Then a kindred spirit comes into her life and fills her with self-worth, resolve and bittersweet beach house memories. BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES is another in a remarkable trilogy that has increased sea turtle volunteerism and conservation efforts. I highly recommend it.”
—Sally R. Murphy, DNR Sea Turtle Coordinator
About the Author
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including The Butterfly's Daughter, The Beach House, Swimming Lessons, Last Light Over Carolina, Time Is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. She is an active conservationist and lives on a barrier island outside Charleston, South Carolina. Mary Alice is the recipient of the 2008 Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book.
Mary Alice Monroe is known for her intimate portrayals of women's lives and keen eye to setting. Monroe brings to life the many colorful people and the compelling story layers of her home--Charleston and the the beaches of the lowcountry.
Mary Alice Monroe's books have achieved several best seller lists including the New York Times, SIBA, and USA Today. She has served on the faculty of numerous writer's conferences and retreats and is a frequent speaker. She serves on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and the Charleston Volunteers for Literacy. Her first children's book received several awards, including the ASPCA Henry Bergh award. In 2008 Monroe was awarded the prestigious SC Center for the Book Award for Fiction.
About 10 years I bought a paperback "The Beach House" to take to the beach. I didn't know the author but I liked the cover. As I read the first few pages I fell in love with the writing of Mary Alice Monroe and a few pages more I fell in love with the book. It grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. I've reread it many times and have had to replace that original copy because it was worn out and remains one of my very favorite books. What a thrill I had last year when I discovered Mary Alice was writing a prequel to The Beach House. Lucky me, I won a hardcover copy from First Reads! I was not disappointed. It took me right back to the beauty of Isle of Palms, the warmth of Primrose cottage, the strength of Lovie Rutledge "The Turtle Lady" and the wondrous story of the loggerhead turtles. I loved this book!!! This is really Lovie's story as she is dying of cancer and in her last hours she thinks back to that memorable summer of 1974. I won't tell you more of the story but I will tell you that this "Southern Fiction" will draw you in, maybe remind you of your childhood, a love you might have had or give you hope that things can be better or just something to dream about. You will not be disappointed.
Lovie, Olivia, has spent her grown life being the perfect wife, homemaker and best mother she could be. Her husband shows little appreciation for what Lovie does for his family and business as long as she keeps his cultivated professional appearance. Deciding to further his career goals her husband decides to go to Europe and not spend time with his family this summer.
Lovie takes her 2 children to her beach home, the only place she finds solace and can be herself. The people of Isle of Palm know Lovie as the Turtle Lady, she has been keeping track of the nesting turtles for over 10 years...a love she learned from her father.
This year Dr. Russell Bennett, sea turtle specialist, arrives on Isle of Palm to do an impact study on the development of the North end of the island on the nesting turtles. After a rocky start Dr. Bennett is extremely impressed with Lovie's journals and information she kept on the turtles and it begins a strong friendship and camaraderie. I once again am not going any further because I don't want to accidently give anything away, so here's my thoughts on Beach House Memories...
First off, I have to admit I'm a little bias because I already have a passion for Sea Turtle Conservation. I highly recommend that everyone should experience sea turtle at least once! That being said, Mary Alice Monroe wrote this beautifully vivid story of love, loss, growing up, friendship and life that will touch your heart. Her colorful and expressive story of the South Caroline coast makes you feel like your feet are engulfed in the warm sand and the mosquitoes are buzzing in your ears. Although, at times I wanted to throttle the female character's choices, I do realize I'm living 30+ years in the future and the women back then did have different circumstances. Wonderful story telling, heart-felt read and turtles, what else can I say but I loved it.
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Read.
First I have to say that Mary Alice NEVER disappoints when she writes a book, she is truly one of my favorite authors! She can draw you into a story like no other! So many of us have waited so long to hear more of story that started with "The Beach House" and "Swimming Lessons" and "Beach House Memories" was so worth the wait!! It is set in 1974 and it tells Lovie's story of that fateful year when she fell in love with Russell Bennett! Mary Alice's descriptive prose and beautiful writing makes you feel like you are right there experiencing everything that Lovie experiences. She is truly a gifted writer!! Get yourself a copy of "Beach House Memories" and be prepared to be totally entertained and moved by this story!!
It comes as no surprise to me that BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES is yet another outstanding novel by author Mary Alice Monroe. This author not only entertains readers with a wonderful story line, but transports you to the wonderful world of the Lowcountry. It teaches, entertains, and mesmerizes the reader. You fall in love with the main characters, relax at Primrose Cottage, and become a Turtle Lady. What could be any better?
I too began to read Mary Alice Monroe after reading The Beach House and I haven't missed any books since that day. I found Beach House Memories to be extremely captivating and once again was drawn into the plight of the loggerhead turtle and the societal expections of the southern wife and mother. Working beside Dr Russell Bennett, the marine biologist, Olivia displays her love for the loggerhead turtles and all she has learned from many summers of maintaining logs of the turtle nestings. Slowly Russell and Olivia discover the soulmates they are. The book certainly brought back memories of the lifestyle in the 1970's, cute little white gloves and all the do's and don'ts.
After finishing Beach House Memories, my next stop was the used book store to locate The Beach House and Swimming Lessons for a second round. This time I won't be so foolish as to give them away. All are definite KEEPERS!
I love books about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and this one did not disappoint. I love sea turtles, too, and this story contains lots of interesting information about that wonderful species. An overall good read.