Title: On Folly Beach
Author: Karen White
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Paperback: 416 pages
To most people, Folly Beach, South Carolina, is simply the last barrier island before the Atlantic. To some, it’s a sanctuary, which is why Janie Hamilton’s mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly’s Finds, hoping it will distract Janie from the loss of her husband in Afghanistan. Janie is at first resistant, but intrigued after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly’s Finds, and decides to take the plunge. The store’s seller insists on one condition: Janie must allow Lulu, the late owner’s elderly sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard. Historically, bottle trees were brought by African slaves to the American South, and Janie had grown up with one in her backyard, and it has always been a symbol of refuge to her.
Janie generally ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers of the letters’ authors, the closer she feels to Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during World War II are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance…
Filled with emotion, longing, secrets and hope, On Folly Beach by Karen White is a beautiful look at two women, brought together by circumstances unknown to the other, who learn they may not be as dissimilar as they each originally believed. The story is told alternating between present day Folly Beach 2009 and 1942 Folly Beach the year that changed so many lives. Emmy, at the urging of her mother, drives to Folly Beach to consider purchasing Folly’s Finds from Abigail Reynolds and to rent a cottage from Abigail’s son Heath. However before even entering the home, Emmy encounters Lulu O’Shea, the creator of the bottle trees, and Heath’s great-aunt, an acerbic woman who does not take a liking to Emmy. Lulu, now into her 70′s has seen a lot, held onto secrets as well as heartbreak and is uncertain of her new business partnership with Emmy. Emmy begins uncovering secret notes in books and longs to learn about the past and about Lulu’s sister Maggie and cousin Cat, yet Lulu is extremely good with secrets. On Folly Beach is a beautiful look into the fragile and complex lives of people and the lengths they will go to hold on to secrets, past hurts, and grudges. White’s characters are fantastically created and quite easy to imagine knowing. White weaves together a tale spanning three generations of women and the men they loved and lost due to war. On Folly Beach is a captivating, mysterious and at times heart breaking novel that will keep the reader engaged until the very end. I would recommend On Folly Beach to all readers and encourage discussion groups to choose this book.
About the Author: To learn more about this award winning author and her previous eleven novels, please visit her website.
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I received a complimentary copy of On Folly Beach by Karen White from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the novel. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.