Beach House Memories
By Mary Alice Monroe
(Gallery Books, Hardcover, 9781439170663, 400pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
She felt it now. She was slipping into the insistent undertow of the past. There was no use fighting it. It was so easy to simply close her eyes. And relinquish.
Autumn brings its own haunting beauty to the sun-soaked beaches and dunes on Isle of Palms, where Olivia “Lovie” Rutledge lives in her beloved Primrose Cottage with her daughter, Cara. Looking back as summer fades, Lovie can remember many island summers, but especially one. . . .
In 1974, America was changing, but Charleston remained eternally the same. Lovie had always done what was expected—marrying the son of a historic Charleston family, Stratton Rutledge, and turning over her fortune and fate to his control. But one thing she steadfastly refuses to relinquish: her family’s old seaside cottage. The precious summers spent on the barrier island are Lovie’s refuge. Here, she can escape with her children from the social expectations of her traditional Southern mother, and her overbearing husband’s ambition and philandering. Here, she indulges her lifelong vocation as a “Turtle Lady,” tending the loggerhead sea turtles that lay their eggs in the warm night sand and then slip back into the sea.
This summer, however, is different. Visiting biologist Russell Bennett arrives on the island to research the loggerheads. What begins as a shared passion for the turtles changes to a love far more passionate and profound than Lovie has ever known—but one that forces her to face the most agonizing decision of her life.
For Charleston’s elite, divorce is an unforgivable scandal, and Stratton’s influence is far-reaching. If Lovie dares to dream beyond a summer affair, she risks losing everything: her reputation, her wealth, even her precious children.
Beach House Memories—a poignant and emotional tale of a strong, passionate woman torn between duty and desire, between the traditions of the old South and the social changes sweeping America—will capture your heart. For Lovie, it is an empowering journey of seasons of self-discovery.
Until this autumn, this time of changing tides, of holding on and letting go. . . .
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including The Butterfly’s Daughter, Last Light Over Carolina, Time Is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Beach House, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. She is an active conservationist and lives on a barrier island outside Charleston, South Carolina.
"Monroe knows how to weave a tale and this is one of her very best. She creates vibrant characters [who] live and love in the paradise-like world of the South Carolina low country. It is a magical place in many ways, especially in the words with which Monroe describes it. Every summer deserves one book that is THE summer book, and for beach reading you couldn't make a better selection than this one. Mary Alice Monroe knows how to pull readers into this world instantly and keep them there till the very last word on the very last page."
-The Huffington Post
“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