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The Color of Light Paperback – June 7, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Newly divorced and pregnant with her second child, Jillian Parrish seeks refuge in the South Carolina island community where she spent her childhood summers. Though Pawley's Island is the only place she feels truly at home, she is haunted by childhood memories of her parents' troubled marriage and the unsolved disappearance of her best friend, Lauren, especially when she reconnects with a friend who was implicated in the disappearance. When Grace, her precocious seven-year-old, begins to communicate with an imaginary friend named Lauren, information is revealed that will irrevocably change the lives of the island's inhabitants. White takes great care with the setting and characters, especially Jillian's conflicted feelings about family and motherhood. Her prose is lyrical, and she weaves in elements of mysticism and romance without being heavy-handed. This is an accomplished novel about loss and renewal, and readers will be taken with the people and stories of Pawley's Island. Aleksandra Kostovski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A story as rich as a coastal summer...dark secrets, heartache,...and a great love story." -- NYT Bestselling author Deborah Smith

"An engaging read with a delicious taste of the mysterious." -- NYT Bestselling author Haywood Smith

"The reader will hear the ocean the past reluctantly gives up its ghosts in this beautiful, engrossing novel." -- RT Bookclub Magazine - 4 1/2 stars

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (June 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451215117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451215116
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,726 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 or follow me on Facebook at and Twitter @KarenWhiteWrite.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Priscilla Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this wonderful story by gifted writer Karen White, we are taken to Pawley Island in South Carolina with our main character Jillian Parrish and her 7-year old daughter, who seems to have a very special supernatural gift. One that will change the lives of all it comes in contact with.

Jillian is pregnant and divorced and is desperately seeking peace and the meaning of love in her troubled life. Abused as a child, thrown into a closet of darkness for the smallest error , Jillian clings to the good memories of days spent with her grandmother on Pawley Island. Hoping to somehow rekindle that peace by returning, Jillian finds she encounters other ghosts, such as the unsolved mystery of her best friend Lauren's disappearance years ago.

Linc was Lauren's boyfriend and Jillian's friend; he was also a suspect in Lauren's disappearance. As fate would have it, both Jillian and Linc are now together on the island, although for different reasons, their lives would soon intertwine as they join forces to end the turmoil that haunts them both.

The author does a wonderful job defining the characters, making them real in your minds eye and helping to bring the story to life. She throws in some unusual twists that will delight and surprise you as the work unfolds. You will be shocked when the truth of Lauren's disappearance is discovered. This is one outstanding work, brimming with mystery, love and a touch of the supernatural that is a real page turner from beginning to end. I recommend it highly, excellent read.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten Lancaster on July 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Karen White's for five years now, and I think this is her best book yet. In "The Color of Light," she tells the story of two people, Linc Rising and Jillian Parrish, who have each suffered great loss. They separately decide to go back to live in the place they love the most (beautiful Pawley's Island off the South Carolina coast) despite the fact the island also holds very painful memories for each of them. The author's lyrical descriptions of the island make it the perfect setting for this haunting tale. With great skill, she balances a suspenseful "Sixth Sense" style mystery with the very human story of two people trying to come to terms with their past and each other. I especially loved the character Grace, Jillian's young daughter, an "old soul" with a winning personality and a very special talent. "The Color of Light" is engaging, heart-warming and suspenseful all at the same time-a difficult balance to keep, but Karen White handles the task beautifully. Great reading for the beach or any time you're in the mood for a good story.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on June 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have never heard of this author before and I had a chance to read one of her books recently. It's been awhile since I had a book where I could just sit down and read it straight through. There's always stuff going on and frankly, lately, none of the books I picked up captured my interest for more than five minutes, till this one. I picked this book up and could not put it down. It is also a lyrical read, full of lush descriptions of the lowcountry in the Carolinas and with summer in full swing here in Ohio, it definitely makes for one of the better summer readings around here.

The cons are few. It was pretty much predictable in places. I figured out the story line pretty quickly, but it still had a twist that I wasn't expecting. So that sums up the suspense pretty nicely. As for the main character's daughter, she's a little too intense for my liking. And perhaps a little less repetition of Jillian's fear of the dark might be better. After hearing about her traumatic childish fear of the dark five times, I get the hint. Jillian is scared of the dark. And there were several things at the end that were left unfinished. Maybe the author thought it wasn't relevant to the story, but to me, the reader, it left me feeling slightly dissatisfied.

Other than that, it was simply one of the few books that I just couldn't put down. It was such a refreshing read. It is also perfect for summer. I am now enthused to try her other books. Ever since Lisa Wingate stopped writing her Tending the Roses series, I have been looking for a new author to read. I think I may have found her.

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. K. Stokes on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jillian is pregnant and recently divorced when she returns to Pawleys Island with her 7-year-old daughter, in hopes that she can recapture the peace she felt there, and that by coming to terms with the past, she can make sense of the present and build a future. She moves into the beach house that was her grandmother's, where she'd spent summers as a child, next door to where her best friend Lauren lived until she disappeared.

Linc, who'd been Lauren's boyfriend and Jillian's friend, is also back on the island, though incognito. He'd been a suspect in Lauren's disappearance, and he's returned to try to find out what really happened. Jillian recognizes him, and they resume a tentative friendship, though Linc believes Jillian blamed him for Lauren's disappearance.

Then there's Jillian's daughter Grace, who calls her mother "JillyBean" and talks to an imaginary friend named Lauren; Janie, a mentally disturbed middle aged woman who carries a baby doll everywhere with her; and the Weber family--the chief of police, his wife, and children, who remember Jillian and welcome her home, though they have mixed feelings about Linc.

The characters are all vivid, and the three story threads--Jillian's emotional growth, the romance between Jillian and Linc, and the unraveling of the mystery of Lauren's disappearance--all intertwine and depend on each other...but it was really pretty standard.

I could see all the plot twists coming a mile away, and I've read this identical plot dozens of times before. It didn't help that it was a really slow-moving story. And it had the far-too-typical problem of romances with children in them: Grace disappears completely for chapters at a time, whenever it's convenient to the plot, and Jillian has no trouble at all presumably leaving a 7-year-old completely alone at home while she pursues her romance.
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