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On Folly Beach Paperback – May 4, 2010

206 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. This book was nominated for the prestigious RITA award in 2001 in two separate categories. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including another RITA, the Georgia Author of the Year Award and in 2008 won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Learning to Breathe.

Karen currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—southern women’s fiction—and has recently expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston. Her tenth novel, The Lost Hours, will be released in trade paperback by New American Library, a division of Penguin Publishing Group, in April 2009.

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two teenaged children, and a spoiled Havanese dog (who appears in several of her books), Quincy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, singing, playing piano, chauffeuring children and avoiding cooking.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451229215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451229212
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up being a voracious reader and it was a natural step to turn my interest to writing. I have published 18 award-winning and bestselling novels including my June 2014 release, A LONG TIME GONE, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at number 24.

I write what others have termed "grit-lit"--southern women's fiction, as well as a contemporary paranormal mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. All of my books are set in the US South, and feature a female protagonist at a crossroads in her life.

I live near Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two children, and the cutest Havanese dog, Quincy, whom readers may recognize as General Lee in the Tradd Street series.

My upcoming book, THE SOUND OF GLASS, will be released by New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group, on May 12, 2015. It's set in the beautiful town of Beaufort, deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Up next: the re-release of my first two books IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON and WHISPERS OF GOODBYE in the fall of 2015!

For more about me and my books, please visit my website at www.karen-white.com or follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karenwhiteauthor and Twitter @KarenWhiteWrite.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 139 people found the following review helpful By A. Pohren VINE VOICE on May 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Karen White has a talent that shines and glitters like diamond chips, upon black velvet, in the sunlight. Her writing voice is amazing and never ceases to thrill me. For me, On Folly Beach was an intricate, intriguing and delicate blend of two stories interwoven into one. There is the story of Emmy Hamilton who has lost her beloved husband, Ben, to the war in Afghanistan. With his death, comes the end of Emmy's dreams and plans for the future. It is not until Emmy's mother gives her a push (as well as the appearance of a box of books that hold mysterious and heart wrenching messages) that she ventures to buy a bookstore in Folly Beach. However, Emmy is soon to discover that with the bookstore, comes a not-so-easy-to-like elderly woman named Lulu. Enter the second story - sisters Maggie and Lulu and their story, which takes place in the early forties and during WWII. Maggie, with a heart of gold, has known heartbreak, love and patience. She is the owner of the store on Folly Beach, as well as caretaker of her little sister Lulu. With mysterious twists, turns and gripping events, the reader will fall into the lives of these women, become entranced and unable to resist continuing from page to page, until the very end.

As I mentioned, Karen White interweaves these stories and time periods together, in a seamless and perfectly timed way. Though the time periods and stories change from chapter to chapter, this is done in such a way that it is like a puzzle fitting snugly together. The past and present reflect perfectly upon one another as the story progresses. I also want to mention the slight hint of the paranormal, which Ms. White sprinkles throughout On Folly Beach, is a delightful added bonus to the story as well.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
When Emmy Hamilton's husband dies in the war, she isolates herself in her hometown in Indiana, until one day, almost in an uncharacteristically unusual way, her mother pushes her to buy a bookstore in Folly Beach, South Carolina, where she herself grew up, and then offers her an additional incentive. A box of old books, shipped from the store Folly's Finds that contains a unique image of a beautiful bottle tree. Perusing the books leads to another discovery that seals the deal for Emmy.

She takes the plunge, and from the first moment that she arrives, she is catapulted into a world of beauty, strange individuals--like Lulu, whose sister Maggie was the first owner of the store, and who creates strangely beautiful bottle trees--and town customs that allow Emmy to slowly begin to immerse herself in her new environment.

As she examines more of the old books, she begins to uncover what appears to be a strange and secret correspondence between a man and a woman living in Folly Beach in the 1940s. Letters and notes on the margins of pages lead Emmy to ponder and begin to question some of the townsfolk, including Lulu. But Lulu is strangely reticent, which piques Emmy's curiosity even more.

The reader is treated to the story told in the past (1940s) and in the present (2009), in alternating sequence, and this method of revealing the story slowly amps up the mystery even more.

It took a couple of chapters before I became totally invested in the story, but by then, I was so intrigued that I couldn't wait to find out more.

On Folly Beach, by Karen White, is another wonderfully compelling read by an author whose work I have grown to enjoy. I am now excited to read her next one.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Staci on May 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has so much going for it...Southern location, bookstores, Nancy Drew, book lovers, loss loves, broken hearts, an intriguing mystery and strong family connections. There wasn't a page that I didn't enjoy reading and even though I wanted desperately to see how Emmy and Lulu's stories would end, I truly didn't want this book to run out of pages!!! I love how White took historical facts and weaved them into her story. It really made everything come alive and I could visualize each character, smell the ocean, and feel the heartbreak.

For me a good book not only entertains, but also can help expand my knowledge of history and folklore. I've never heard of bottle trees nor had any idea about the stories behind them. Slaves from Africa thought that you could capture evil spirits within the bottles, thus keeping you safe from harm. When the sun rose the next day, the spirits were then destroyed.

She headed down the street without glancing back, hearing again the sound of the wind crying into the necks of open bottles, afraid of what she might see if she did.

Add to this, the time period of World War II,German U-boats off the eastern coastline, Foreign spies and you really have an interesting history lesson going on. History came alive within this book and I felt connected to each time period and to all of the characters. Even the ones that I didn't like so much on a personal level. I feel that she told Emmy and Lulu's story with incredible insight and she made you understand that even though they're separated by years in age, that when you lose someone you love during wartime, the loss and the feelings experienced are universal. I could easily see myself re-reading this one at some point and I normally don't re-read anything! Looks like I'm going to have to visit Folly Beach and bring this book with me! Maybe I'll come home with a bottle tree too!!!!
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