The Beach Trees: I Loved It Until The Last 20 Pages [SPOILERS]

BlogHer Review

Things that signal a good book for me: 

1)      A strong sense of place

2)      Characters that are fleshed-out, sympathetic, and interesting

3)      A plot that engages me enough that I want to tell my husband about it (bonus points if he asks detailed questions about it because it sucks him in too).

So, the fact that Karen White's new book, The Beach Trees, had all three of these (and a bonus point!) would indicate a book I really loved.

And I did love it. For 380 pages.

Tragically, the book was 400 pages. 

It just . . . tidied up too cleanly at the end. And for a book that includes murders, kidnapping, disappearing people, unhappy marriages, illegitimate children, robberies, arson, and decades old mysteries, it’s pretty crazy that a too-neat ending is even possible. Even a picture perfect ending doesn’t bother me so much as an ending that seems forced into perfection.

My book-angst needs venting, so consider yourself warned that there are spoilers ahead.

First off, I rather suspected that Mrs. Guidry was going to be the murderer, but even so, I felt like there was little or no justification for why she might have killed Aimee’s mother.  

And why did the Dad send Xavier away for fear that he might have seen something? What did HE have to hide?  (Oh. . . I just suddenly understood this just now. I am quite slow, apparently. I was thinking the dad was Aimee’s dad, not Mr. Guidry. So, ignore this qualm with the book).


And to make everything work so hard to fit and then leave Chelsea’s disappearance unsolved. ..  oy! And yes, I understand that it has poetic meaning, moving forward with your life, etc., but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  

I haven’t read many books where I so thoroughly enjoyed 95% of it and then had my feelings change so quickly. Am I the only one who was disappointed in this one?