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Last Light over Carolina [Paperback]

Mary Alice Monroe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 8 2010
Last Light Over Carolina

Every woman in the sultry South Carolina low country knows the unspoken fear that clutches the heart every time her man sets out to sea. Now, that fear has become a terrible reality for Carolina Morrison. Her husband, shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, is lost and alone somewhere in the vast Atlantic fishing grounds, with a storm gathering and last light falling. Over the course of one terrifying, illuminating day, Carolina looks back across thirty years of love and loss, joy and sorrow: How she rejected a well-to-do upbringing to marry Bud and embrace his extraordinary lifestyle by the sea . . . how hard times and loneliness have driven them apart . . . and how, with one mistake, she may have shattered their once-unbreakable bond forever. While their the close-knit community rallies together to search for one of its own, Carolina knows their love must somehow call him home, across miles of rough water and unspeakable memories.


New York Times
bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe explores a vanishing feature of the southern coastline, the mysterious yet time-honored shrimping culture, in a compelling tale of a strong woman struggling to prove that love is a light that never dies.

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Review

“Maxwell is a master at combining poignancy and charming characters with humor, as well as sensuality with tenderness. In this tale of holiday wonder she is a miracle worker.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her books received numerous awards, including the Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book and the International Fiction Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina where she is at work on her next novel. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and on Facebook.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent read April 28 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just love Mary Alice Monroe's writing, it makes you go to a warm beach in the middle of winter
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful read Aug. 18 2010
By Lyndi
Format:Paperback
Another wonderful novel. Mary Alice Monroe has done it again. I feel like I am right there with her character. Carolina seems to pop out of the book and you become as one.
It is a great read.
Thank you
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  84 reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carolina Shrimping June 24 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe is a salty sea tale of Bud Morrison, a longtime captain of a shrimp boat, and his wife of over 30 years, Carolina Brailsford on the day he suffers a debilitating injury at sea. Over the course of the day, memories of Bud and Carolina reveal the heady first years of their marriage interspersed with the prime of the shrimping industry. As the day unwinds, so does their marriage as the shrimping business takes a hit for the worse with the influx of foreign shrimp.

Carolina is portrayed as intelligent, hardworking, and committed to her marriage. Bud seems to be drawn ever farther away with the Miss Carolina just to make ends meet. Bud and Carolina seem to be a team that thinks it is working together only to be drifting ever farther apart. But through it all the beauty of the ocean and their love for each other will eventually lead them to safe shores.

By the time divorce is considered, I alternately wanted to cheer for Carolina and conk some sense into Bud. The ending is all encompassing and painted on the broad South Carolina shores. I had a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes with the most satisfying conclusion. There had to be a majestic ending for a story that just gets bigger as it goes along.

Last Light Over Carolina can proudly sit on your shelf with Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Mutiny On The Bounty, and Moby Dick. The story is involving, gritty, dramatic and altogether well written. It is highly readable and memorable and gets my big thumbs up.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful homage to lowcountry shirmpers Sept. 6 2009
By CandysRaves (and Rants) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I first found out about this author when I ordered the wrong book. I meant to order The Beach House by James Patterson and instead ordered The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. She pulled me into that beautiful book and I've been a fan ever since.

I also grew up near Charleston, so I'm familiar with the area and the traditions. She never ceases to make me remember something. This book was no different. From the talk of Hurricane Hugo (I was 14, it's been nearly 20 years, but I remember almost every detail of those 2 weeks of insanity after it hit) to her uncanny ability to make a specific place a character, she always brings me back.

I now live in Austin and when I start to feel homesick, I know I can pick up her books and be there again. Her description of McClellanville, of the boats, of the smells, of the shrimp, of the people... they all draw you right back to the docks of the coast. The town and the boats - they all became vivid characters for me. I remember driving down to the docks and buying shrimp off the piers as a kid, I remember seeing the men unloading the haul. I remember seeing the boats trawling off of the coast while we were at the beach. My point? This woman has talent!

The book itself is amazing. I found myself laughing, crying, wishing, being angry and then crying all over again. The storyline is a beautiful homage to the lives of the family of shrimpers. It's not an easy life and many don't end well. Bud and Carolina, Josh and Lizzy are proof of that. They are characters, but I bet there are people just like them that could attest to how difficult of a life it can be.

The flashbacks were so well done, following Bud and Caroline's journey - it was the perfect way to do it. The ending left me scared until I realized there was another chapter (oh, thank goodness, there's that bow that I like my stories all tied up with!).

Thank you, Ms. Monroe... for bringing me back to the lowcountry. My momma always taught me to be polite, so really - a heartfelt thank you for your writing. It never ceases to make me feel at home again.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Monroe July 1 2009
By LDG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have followed Monroe's work for some years and have seen it deepen and mature from book to book. Her sense of place and relationships has always been sure and her depiction of the emotional states of her characters both sensitive and deft. With Last Light Over Carolina, Monroe once again draws attention to issues of vanishing resources and ways of life, describing the life of Shrimpers through both the female and male voice to great effect. She explores the differences between new love and a mature love with penetrating insight and brings each of her characters to a truer understanding of how they are complicit in their own downfall. There is greater suspense in this book about whether Bud and Carolina or Lizzy and Josh with their new-found understanding of themselves and their relationships will have an opportunity to change their lives. I think readers will find the conclusion to Last Light Over Carolina as emotionally satisfying and richly rewarding as the entire read. Pick it up, give it to a friend, tell others--you'll all be happy you did.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, good characters, overuse of flashback storytelling Sept. 5 2009
By Sheri in Reho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I had the pleasure of reading Ms. Monroe's last book, Time Is a River, and enjoyed it quite a lot. Last Light over Carolina has some similar themes--marital infidelity, soul searching, a traumatic illness or event, and a strong female character--but I didn't find these themes explored quite as successfully here as in her previous book (or perhaps it was just that this story wasn't as good a match to my own interests).

Last Light explores the decline of the shrimping business in the low country of South Carolina. For generations, families in that area have lived off the proceeds of their shrimping boats but, as more shrimp is imported, less local shrimp is being purchased. As a result, these families aren't able to make a living on the water anymore. Most of them don't know any other way to make a living.

Bud and Carolina Morrison, the book's main characters, are at heart good people whose marriage is strained by their economic situation and by Bud's pride. I enjoyed the Carolina character and understood that it is difficult to keep a marriage (or even a friendship) close when one of the pair is away for months of the year and away many hours of the day even when in home port.

I disliked the way Bud and Carolina's story is told via the use of frequent flashbacks. Every time one of them reflects on a past experience, we jump into the way-back machine and off we go to relive the past for several pages. While I completely understand that knowing what Bud and Carolina have been through in the past helps the reader better understand what is happening in the now, I felt that this device was tremendously overused. In fact, after multiple flashbacks, I started to hear Wayne & Garth (in their infamous Saturday Night Live sketch with Madonna) in my head, parodying the ridiculous way in which TV and movies often transition to these flashbacks (the fade-out with wacky music).

The real strength of this book is in the love between these two people and in the traumatic event that occurs in the last half of the book. The last quarter of the book, as this event comes to a climax, was tremendously tense and exciting--without question, the best part of the book in my opinion. If only the entire book had carried more of that level of passion, emotion and excitement.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a darn good read! Dec 11 2009
By Barbara McArthur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Mary Alice Monroe is quickly becoming a favorite of mine - I thoroughly enjoyed "Time is a River", and now, here she is again with a good one - "Last Light over Carolina". Monroe very deftly handles what happens in one day in the life of Carolina Morrison - with flashbacks to flesh out all that she is feeling - all the things that are happening around her. She delivers a setting that one can see and smell, and characters that are real. Love that pluff mud!

I took my time reading this one, as I was enjoying the experience and really didn't want the story to end, as much as the suspense was building all the while as to how Bud Morrison could possibly survive his life threatening dilemma.

I find all the most important aspects of an entertaining read in Monroe's books - she manages to transport me to another place, she gives me characters I can indentify with and care about, and she moves the story along at a pace that makes the pages turn. Bravo, Mary Alice - you've done it again!
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