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The Beach House [Paperback]

Mary Alice Monroe
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.95
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Book Description

April 17 2012
Known for her moving characters and emotional honesty, Mary Alice Monroe brings readers a beautifully rendered story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters.

Caretta Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning out of control—has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide "turtle lady" and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life's most precious lessons—true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven.

Frequently Bought Together

The Beach House + Beach House Memories + The Summer Girls
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.38

  • Beach House Memories CDN$ 13.71
  • The Summer Girls CDN$ 13.71

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

After losing her high-powered advertising job in Chicago, Caretta Rutledge grudgingly returns to her low-country roots at her mother's behest. Cara has long resented her mother, who focused her maternal efforts more on looking after the annual loggerhead turtle spawn than on protecting herself and her children from their abusive father. But when Cara learns that her mother is ill, she must lay her bitterness aside and try to make amends. Cara starts by restoring her mother's small beach house and joining the same turtle brigade she resented while growing up. In the process, she reconnects with an old friend and finds love in the arms of a local boat owner and naturalist. This poignant read won't disappoint fans of so-called "Southern Fiction"; the South, which represents both poison and tonic, is eloquently portrayed here, and its healing properties inevitably come to the fore. Just enough information about the loggerhead turtles and their spawning cycle opens each chapter, swiftly engaging the reader from the outset, and all of the integral characters are richly developed. With its evocative, often beautiful prose and keen insights into family relationships, Monroe's latest (following The Four Seasons) is an exceptional and heartwarming work of fiction that is bound to please fans of women's fiction and romances alike.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Mary Alice Monroe is helping to redefine the beauty and magic of the Carolina Lowcountry. Every book she has written has felt like a homecoming to me."-Pat Conro

"An inspirational tale of redemption."

-Publishers Weekly on Swimming Lessons

"Monroe makes her characters so believable, the reader can almost hear them breathing. . . . Readers who enjoy such fine southern voices as Pat Conroy will add the talented Monroe to their list of favorites."

-Booklist on Sweetgrass

"Skyward is a soaring, passionate story of loneliness and pain and the simple ability of love to heal and transcend both. Mary Alice Monroe's voice is as strong and true as the great birds of prey of whom she writes."

-New York Times bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons

"With each new book, Mary Alice Monroe continues to cement her growing reputation as an author of power and depth. The Beach House is filled with the agony of past mistakes, present pain and hope for a brighter future."

-RT Book Reviews

"Monroe writes with a crisp precision and narrative energy that will keep [readers] turning the pages. Her talent for infusing her characters with warmth and vitality and her ability to spin a tale with emotional depth will earn her a broad spectrum of readers, particularly fans of Barbara Delinsky and Nora Roberts."

-Publishers Weekly on The Four Seasons

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to begin family ties April 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was highly advertised the last time I was in Charleston, SC. Being in need of something new to read, I bought it from the area Barnes and Noble dealer. I have to say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. The story line is such a strong one that it made me want to try to do a lot more with my own mother because you just never know when something could happen to any of us. In addition, the book draws wonderful parallels to the life of the loggerhead turtles, one of my favorite animals. These gracious animals need good people to help them become a revived species, and Ms. Monroe does a beautiful job of describing the activities of the Turtle Team and makes you, the reader, want to help out! The turtles, along with Lovie, are gracious beings that spread goodness throughout the entire book. Again, it makes the reader want to be a decent and kind human being. This book is a must read. I am keeping it and sharing it with my mother hoping she will enjoy it as much as I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Summertime Read June 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to bestow 3 and a half stars on this book because some of the dialogue was stilted and unreal, and then I thought, "Are you kidding? You loved this book!" Anyway, there are no half stars available.
OK, so maybe some of the plot was a bit far-fetched. And maybe the three-page soliloquy by the dying mother, Lovie, was in words that no real person would use. And maybe the corporate circumstances of our heroine, Caretta (Cara) Rutledge, were a bit unreal. I realized at the end, which found me crying my eyes out, that I simply did not care. This was a perfect summertime read for me, and I suspect will be so for many others.
The plot is nothing new: An independent Chicago woman, Cara, comes home to the Carolina Low Country (The Isle of Palms, beautifully and evocatively described) at the behest of her long-estranged mother, Olivia (Lovie). It is only after a week of licking her wounds (for she was fired from her high-powered job right before leaving on her visit) that Cara comes awake and realizes that her mother is very ill. And it takes all summer for the two to reconcile and reach an understanding granted to very few.
As a backdrop to the story is a wonderful, absolutely wonderful, side plot about the real-life Isle of Palms/Sullivan Island Turtle Team, and its heroic efforts to save the loggerhead turtles. The author is a proud member of the team, which figures prominently in the story; and in fact, her "author picture" is a portrait of the real-life "Turtle Ladies" and herself. I was so fascinated by the turtle team, and so profoundly affected by the wonderful descriptions of the island, I would probably be on the next plane if I could.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep your hankies near by! Sept. 25 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an absolutely stunning book ~~ beautifully written and with insightful looks between a mother and her daughter and the forces of nature. At first glance, it looks like a typical feminine contemporary novel ~~ but Monroe writes with a haunting sense of self as she presents this story.
Lovie knows she's dying and before she dies, she wants to reconcile with her daughter whom she hasn't seen much of in 20 years. Cara, named Caretta ~~ after a turtle ~~ has lived in Chicago after leaving the house in a rage with her father. Olivia begs Cara to come home and asked her to help her do some cleaning out. Cara comes home ~~ because she just lost her job. And that is when the story begins.
There is Toy, Lovie's companion. She's dealing with problems of her own ~~ found at a shelter by a friend of Lovie's, she came to live with Lovie as she goes through her pregnancy. In love with a man who doesn't love her, Toy isn't sure what to expect of her future. Then there is Palmer, Lovie's son and Cara's brother ~~ he doesn't think along the same ways as the ladies do. He's money-hungry and always looking for a good deal. There is Brett, a long-time friend of the family. He meets Cara again and sparks begin to fly. Then there is the Turtle Ladies ~~ always on the lookout to help the loggerhead turtles nest and move their nests if possible. They may be volunteers and Lovie is in charge of them ~~ their friendships rekindled over the summer. And this is the story between Lovie and Cara ~~ as they comes to grips with Lovie's upcoming death and bridging the gap between the years.
It is a beautiful story meant for mothers and daughters to share and relate to. It has enough scenery in there that makes you long to live in St. Palm Isles as well. It is just a poignant story that will grip your heart and won't let go till you have turned the last page. I highly recommend this one for every woman who longs for a lovely story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Can Go Home Again Feb. 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you left home at 18 because your father emotionally abused you and you hated your mother for not protecting you, should you go home again? If you find yourself at the height of your career in fast-paced Chicago, should you return to the laid-back life of the South Carolina low country? If your name is Cara Rutledge, the answer to both questions is yes. When Cara finds herself ousted from her ad agency position, her ongoing love affair not fulfilling, and nowhere else to turn, she reluctantly answers her mother's call to come for a visit.
The reader will be drawn immediately into this story mainly because of well-defined characters who tug at your heartstrings. From the headstrong yet vulnerable Cara to her terminally ill mother Lovie and the pregnant teenager Toy, readers will bond with these multi-faceted characters as they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and each moves on with the support of the others.
This book is a great tribute to the eternal bond between mothers and daughters as it examines the actions that part us from our loved ones and the painful road back to rediscovering love. It is also a great love story as Cara finds her soulmate in the most unexpected place, her mother reveals a long-held secret love affair,and Toy faces some serious truths about the father of her unborn child. It is also a story about turtles. Yes, turtles. Specifically, the loggerhead turtles who travel hundreds of miles to hatch their young along the South Carolina coast each year. Even if you've never given the first thought to turtles, you will be captivated by the turtle trivia that fills this book.
I highly recommend you curl up in your favorite reading spot for a most enjoyable read about an unforgettable family. And don't forget the tissues.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy Memories
This book would be ok for a light summer read. I did enjoy the aspect of the turtles and learned a little about them (I have a memory as a child watching a turtle on Myrtle Beach... Read more
Published 14 days ago by TMac
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEACH HOUSE
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Barbara Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, you CAN see sunsets on the east coast!
Just a quick response to the READER FROM ORANGE PARK FL's review: While South Carolina is indeed on the east coast, and the sun does set in the west ... Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunsets over the East Coast!
A wonderful book and true to the last detail of "Low Country" living. Yes, Florida reader, the sun does set over the Atlantic Ocean if you are lucky enough to be on a... Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by Paula on SI
3.0 out of 5 stars What coast are we on??
This was an enjoyable read for a long airplane ride. The fact that it was set in an area, South Carolina, and I plan to visit there this fall was another draw. Read more
Published on May 26 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story with chick-flick potential!
I am not a fan of sentimental fiction, but I found this book to be honestly moving and quite geniuine in its emotions. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beach House
I really enjoyed reading The Beach House. I can't wait for my mom to read it!! I Love the Beach and that's what caught my eye. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2002 by Toni Ratschki
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Southern Story
The Beach House is a beautiful story of family, love, and reconnecting with one's past in order to move into a happy future. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2002 by
4.0 out of 5 stars Extended Vacation
During my visit to Isle of Palms I heard about this book and ordered it from The book captures the spirit of the island with the "turtle team", eco-tours (Caper Island... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2002 by Seveen Jaja
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