Customer Reviews: The Color of Light
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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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on July 6, 2005
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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VINE VOICEon June 14, 2008
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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on December 19, 2008
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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on March 25, 2011
It's a pretty convoluted tale about a woman who leaves her old life and husband behind just before giving birth to her second child. Her first child, Grace, is seven years-old and is psychic. Good thing, because Grace's insights always happen, coincidentally just in time to move the plot forward.

Jillian Parrish, the main character, is returning to her grandmother's home which, coincidentally, came up for sale just at the right time in her life to buy it. It's never explained why the home wasn't left to her, being the only child. On her way to move in, Jillian gets into an accident. Coincidentally, the chief of police, who knows her, is driving behind her to save the day. What a coincidence too, when his daughter turns out to be the real estate agent who sold Jillian the house. Jillian didn't realize it because, unlike most people, she never laid eyes on the woman who sold her the property which she bought sight unseen. Luckily the home was in perfect shape. Also, surprise, surprise, the house came with brand new furnishings. SO this woman gets a beach front property for a steal. Boy do I want her luck! Next door lives the architect, who bought both homes which are duplicates of each other and coincidentally, came on the market at the same time for him to buy them and then sell one to Jillian. His motive: the other house is where his girlfriend Lauren, Jillian's childhood friend, went missing. What a lark he had the opportunity to buy both at the same time, because, ya know, he's now coincidentally an architect, which means he gets the plans to both houses so he can look for secret passages and such. It takes a while for Jillian to recognize him as the boy she once knew, even though she's harbored secret fantasies about him for years. Now, years later, he doesn't have any children of his own, but, coincidentally he likes kids and isn't married, and is handsome and tan, and doesn't mind that Jillian was and is pregnant with another man's kid. Jillian should buy a lottery ticket for all the luck she's having.

Nothing good ever happens when it's up to Jillian, though. She's not too bright so she doesn't get the clues being constantly thrown her way. She wants to know what happened to her missing friend. But she's too stupid to ask her psychic daughter who knows the whole story. The architect former boyfriend, Linc (what?!) was accused but never convicted. Jillian should just ask Grace if he did it, but she never listens to anybody.

In a flashback we learn the missing girl, Lauren, was VERY FOND of Jillian's father, who is a cad and a n'er-do-well. They share beers even though the soon-to-be missing Lauren is only 17. Next Lauren reveals she has an "older" lover and is going to run away. Of course, she is never to be seen again. The reader puts two-and-two together long before the thick-headed Jillian does. Probably because Jillian isn't even smart enough to lock her doors and has the odd habit of leaving her children either alone or with near strangers. A crazy-lady in town has a pretend rag doll baby but no one seems concerned when she admires Jillian's newborn. You can read between the lines what will happen next. Or not. Because even after the crazy woman admits to committing horrifying acts and being obsessed with babies, Jillian forgives all and invites her to move in. Totally predictable, and when it's not, it's bizarre in a freaky, bad way.
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on July 30, 2011
I reread certain parts of the book to try to figure out if I had it wrong or not. I didn't. The ages of the characters just don't work. We know Jillian is 32. Martha tells Jillian that that Jillian's grandmother had her father first, and then 12 years later she had her 8 children all in a row. Then says Janie was born last. The problem is that Janie is close to 50 years old, while Martha's one son is 36 and her youngest daughter is younger that Jillian! It's little things like that in books that drive me crazy!

Otherwise, it was a quick, predictable read. I love Folly Beach, and The Beach Trees 100x more than this book!
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on March 15, 2011
It was a pleasent read, the writting is not great, the plot is interesting but very slow going. Overall, don't get your hopes up that this will be an awesome book ... it's only "ok". At times you'll struggle to want to con't.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2006
Pregnant and freshly divorced, Jillian and daughter Gracie return to the summer home once owned by her grandmother for a new lease on life. It is on Pawley's Island that Jillian has both her most cherished and most painful memories, as her best friend Lauren disappeared without a trace 16 years earlier.

Gracie's apparent second sight divulges long buried secrets, forcing Jillian to face her greatest fears and befriend the guy who was accused of murdering Lauren and fled soon after. Now a successful architect, Linc has re-emerged, renamed himself, and returned to the island that he both loves and loathes. He is not prepared for the feelings that Jillian's presence invokes, and debates on leaving the past ... in the past.

Haunted by memories of childhood abuse and the loss of her beloved friends, Jillian at first discounts Gracie's ramblings about her imaginary friend (also named Lauren) until she realizes that there are far too many coincidences. New secrets and passions are revealed on the small island, as Jillian and Linc work together to discover what happened to Lauren all those years ago.

While the story is well written, with believable dialogue (thought Gracie could be grating after awhile), unfortunately, you don't need second sight to see where the story is going. You can pretty much predict the outcome, as it is really no mystery with all the foreshadowing the author provides. Despite its predictability, it is a solid and original story, with endearing characters. Don't miss "Falling Home" and "After the Rain," also by White. They are not to be missed.
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on August 1, 2015
Jillian is returning back to Pawley’s Island, her childhood home. She is recently divorced, is pregnant, and has a 7 year-old daughter named Grace. Moving back to the small community is hard in some ways, easier in others. She is still haunted by the disappearance of her friend, Lauren, as a teenager and by the suspicion placed on their mutual friend, Linc, who left the community as well. Jillian also has memories of the fights her own parents had. She is stunned to find out that Linc is the one who is in charge of remodeling and selling the two homes, one of which she has purchased, the other which belonged to Lauren’s family. Things begin to get odd when her daughter has a imaginary friend who shares a name with her missing friend and who seems to know too much about the past. Jillian and Linc work together to unravel the past mystery and also potentially rebuild trust and a relationship between them.
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on November 1, 2013
While I loved the setting, as I always do with Karen White's SC settings, I just found the story a bit predictable. I stayed with it because of the settings and feeling of the book, but the plot was thin. The heroine wasn't likable because she was so sought after and "good" and the hero was a bit too "knight in shining armor" for my taste, and it was pretty easy to see the ending coming, but Karen White does tell a good enough story along with her compelling settings.
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