The Beach Trees

December 5th. 2011

Karen White’s novel, The Beach Trees, was the PERFECT book for a rainy Sunday. I read this story from cover-to-cover buried under a faux fur blanket, in front of a crackling fire, with Earl Gray tea and Bischoff cookies on the table. Yes, nirvana is possible. But you probably want to know more about Karen White’s novel. (For the record is was almost 11 pm before I’d finished this book and my husband had turned off the lights in the rest of the house and long since doused my fire as it was going to cost a fortune when the gas bill came in–his words, not mine. Apparently nirvana isn’t cheap.) This is the fourth (?) book of Ms. White’s that I’ve read, and it’s moving to the top of the list of ¬†favorites. She is a master of words, and plot/subplot, and place. I usually have to stop after the first page and go through the 12-step program of envious writers because I don’t think I can ever write as well as she does, but I’ve digressed. Karen White weaves a complex tale of fractured human emotion with a heavy dose of Southern mystique that each time I turn the last page to questions resolved, hearts healed, and houses restored, I want to rush back to my deep Georgia roots and hang on to the nearest oak tree I can find. The Beach Trees is no different, in that a house and mysteries are front and center here, but she writes this novel from the perspective of people rebuilding (and why they would) after devastating hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. And the crazy thing is, not being from the Gulf Coast, after reading her novel, I can still smell the air and feel the humidity of her settings. This story has so many elements of art, history, dysfunction, and restoration that it is a treasure trove of details and setting. Give this book as a gift to yourself. You won’t regret it nor will you have to exchange it in the after-Christmas sales.