The Beach Trees: Loss, Love, and Rebuilding

BlogHer Review
“Because the water recedes, and the sun comes out, and the trees grow back.”

The Beach Trees by Karen White is a novel about loss, love, family, forgiveness, and rebuilding.

The story is told from the perspective of two strong female characters that have each suffered tragic loss in their lives. Julie suffered the loss of her younger sister when she was kidnapped from the backyard on Julie’s 12th birthday. Then again later as an adult when her good friend, Monica passed away making Julie guardian of her 5-year-old son and co-owner of a destroyed beach house. A Yankee, Julie takes her young ward, Beau to post-Katrina New Orleans to meet his mother’s estranged family. Where our other narrator Aimee, Monica’s paternal grandmother tells her family’s intertwining, tragic, history in New Orleans and Biloxi starting in 1950.

White does a lovely job painting a portrait of the lush gardens, ornate homes, and heady atmosphere of New Orleans. She also clearly describes the painful devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the determined rebuilding in the following years. However, while the author emotionally connects the reader to locations and spins an intriguing mystery that kept me reading, I simply didn’t feel connected to the characters.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of The Beach Trees is the recurring theme of loss and moving on with life. The best illustration of this the actual title of the book. The Beach Trees refers to the Katrina Trees carved from the salt-soaked, wind-damaged live oak trees in Biloxi. These trees now stand as beautiful sculptures reminding residents and visitors of the power of both Mother Nature and the human spirit.

Where to Buy The Beach Trees

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