Karen White's The Beach Trees: One Part Mystery, One Part Love Story
By Karen Ballum on July 06, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
How do you rebuild? When something precious is ripped from your life, how do you start over? How do you pick up the pieces and make a whole when there are essential pieces missing? Those are just a few of the questions that Karen White addresses in her newest novel, The Beach Trees. It's one part mystery, one part love story and a whole lot of parts of great summer reading.
"Death and loss, they plague you. So do memories. Like the Mississippi's incessant slap against the levees, they creep up and with deceptive sweetness before grabbing your heart and pulling it under. At least, that's what Monica told me."
Julie Holt doesn't know anything about rebuilding -- she's more of a count-your-losses-and-run person. There was the disappearance of her sister when she was twelve. She's spent most of her life trying to find her and watching her family fall apart. Then her best friend Monica dies and leaves her something more important than anything -- her son, Beau. Knowing that she needs to find answers, not just for herself but for Beau, Julie heads south to Biloxi, Mississippi and River Song, the summer home that Monica loved.
But when Julie arrives she finds that Hurricane Katrina had taken River Song -- yet another loss. Julie keeps moving on, finding Monica's family for Beau's sake as much as her own. Much like Julie's sister, Monica had just disappeared and her family had no idea why, or that she had died. As Julie learns about Monica's life and the Guidry family past, the narration flips back and forth between the present day with Julie and the New Orleans of the 1950s and 1960s with Aimee, Monica's grandmother.
As the two stories intermingle, all involved begin to realize that they are connected by more than just Monica's death. Each chapter brings you tantalizingly closer to discovery, but what is it that they are going to find? The truth? A murderer? Why we choose to rebuilt not just houses but also lives?
I hope that you will join us this month as we read and discuss Karen White's The Beach Trees in BlogHer Book Club. Sometimes we need to rebuild more than just a house. Sometime we need to rebuild ourselves.
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