Folly Beach

September 11th. 2011

Karen White’s novel, Folly Beach, lovingly weaves multiple stories together with mystical tenderness of loss, bravery, and the unanswerable question of when has grief worked its course. Two different time periods (1940s and 2009) and two significant plots run concurrent in this novel set in a sweet little beach town near Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s a credit to Karen White that she manages to knit the characters, the emotions, and the secrets into one big carpet of family graces. I found this story to be memorable, charming, and poignant. I’ll definitely search for more of Karen White’s stories.

Ten Beach Road

September 3rd. 2011

“You don’t really know what your made of until things fall apart.” Madeline Singer

This quote from one of the three main characters in this beautifully written novel, Ten Beach Road, sums the whole plot into one sentence. Three women, total strangers to each other, wake up to find their lives–which were already on the brink of disaster–completely fall apart courtesy of a financial investment that could have been ripped from yesterday’s newspaper headlines. Their only resource is an old Mediterranean Revival mansion, named Bella Flora (that name sings in my memory,) on the coast of a Florida. Choices, questions, and the decision to pull together to renovate the mansion create the ultimate “Survivor” episode. And just when things look like they might turn around, they don’t. This story is sooo good, soooo rich with character, and soooo well-written–thank you, thank you, Wendy Wax– that I stayed up late night after night when I needed my beauty sleep. This will go down as one of those books I blurt out when someone casually asks, “read any good books lately?”