Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I am Reading

The Beach Trees - Karen White
From the moment I began The Beach Trees until I turned the last page, I was engrossed in the characters and the setting and had a hard time pulling myself out of the story to get back to the real world.  She has created a place I’d love to live and characters I’d love to know in real life.
Julie Holt has been floating through life, since her younger sister disappeared when Julie was 12.  When her mother died, Julie continued the search alone, her father and brother long ago pulling back from the family unit.  Working at an auction house in New York, Julie found a true friend in Monica Guidry, and when a heart condition leaves Monica dead at the age of 28, Julie finds herself the guardian of Monica’s five-year-old son, Beau, and the owner of a beachfront property in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Julie has nowhere to go but Biloxi, where she finds out that the family Monica left behind 10 years ago — her grandmother, Aimee, and her brother, Trey — are living close by in New Orleans.  
If the story wasn’t interesting enough, with Trey and Julie reluctantly working together to rebuild the beach house that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and Julie trying to figure out what to do about Beau and her inability to move beyond her childhood, White manages to flawlessly insert a mystery that had me on the edge of my seat.  Monica left Julie a painting of her great-grandmother that was painted by Julie’s great-grandfather, and Julie pursues the connection between her family and the Guidrys.  Why did Monica leave home in the first place?  How and why did the woman in the portrait disappear?  In a leisurely Southern style, Aimee tells Julie how she met the Guidry family in the 1950s, was torn between two brothers, and intrigued by their mother, who refused to conform to society’s expectations.
The narrative shifts back and forth from Julie’s plight in the present and Aimee’s coming-of-age in the 1950s.  The transitions are seamless, the plot is well crafted, and the writing is beautiful. You will enjoy.
Relax... Respect... Enjoy... Dorri

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