Last Light over Carolina Paperback – Jun 8 2010
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“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 bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End, Last Light Over Carolina, Time Is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. Her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a great read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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!