The Beach Trees and the Meaning of Home

BlogHer Review

When Julie Holt was only twelve years old the unimaginable happens. While watching her younger sister, her sister disappears without a trace. Karen White examines the after effects of tragedy with her protagonist Julie. After her sister’s disappearance her mother devotes her life to finding her, while her father and brother move on. When her mother dies Julie takes over where her mother left off… never allowing herself to feel rooted in one place, because she knows everything can change in a heartbeat.

Working for an auction house in New York she meets Monica. Monica is a struggling artist who is no longer in contact with her family. When they meet Julie is overwhelmed by how much Monica reminds her of her lost sister. The friendship between them is so strong that when Monica dies she leaves guardianship of her five year old son to Julie as well as her childhood beach house in Biloxi, Mississippi.

When she arrives in Biloxi she finds Monica’s childhood home has been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Julie was also told to see Ray Von who has a package to give her. Inside the package is a painting worth a significant amount of money and a mystery tying Julie and Monica together. Julie contacts Monica’s family to tell them the sad news about her passing in hopes to get answers as to why she left the family she spoke about so lovingly. What she end up with is more questions… including a link to her own family.

There are two narrators within The Beach Trees. One is Aimee, Monica’s grandmother who tells her story setting in the 1950s the other is present day Julie. Aimee believes her stories will help unlock the mystery of why Monica left.

I loved both of these women and their stories. They are both strong women who seem to put other people’s happiness above their own. Similarly, both women have unanswered questions about their pasts. The strong difference between the two women is how Aimee learns to live and love while looking for answers and Julie hasn’t.

This was a riveting story of one women’s journey learning what the meaning of home is. I did not want to put this book down. There were a number of questions that would arise and I wanted them answered before I put the book down. It seemed like the more I learned the more questions there were. The ending was a complete surprise to me. I would highly recommend this book. This is the first book I have read by Karen White and you can be assured this will not be the last.


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