ISBN-13: 9780451229212
Publisher: NAL Accent
Published: May 2010
416 pgs
Source: Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting

I fell in love with Karen White's writing style after reading a few of her earlier work - The Lost Hours and the Tradd Street series so when I knew she has a new book coming out this month, I just knew I have to read it!

Set in the 1940s and the Year 2009, On Folly Beach tells the story of the life of three women - Emmy during the present day, and Margaret and her younger sister, Lulu during the WWII period. Told in a third person perspective and with Emmy's and Margaret's stories alternate between the time span through chapters, I find this method to be effective as it allows the readers to get sucked into their stories at the same time instead of splitting into parts (which can be also effective in portraying the story but in a different light).

The story opens when Emmy is still depressed from the loss of her husband. To distract her from drowning into her misery, her mother suggested that she bought Folly's Finds, a bookstore at Folly Beach in South Carolina. Emmy is not at all keen with the idea in the first place, after all she is so used to her life living in her parents' place, tending to her mother's bookstore. Her curiosity is piqued only after she discovered some love notes written in some of the used books her mother had bought from Folly's Finds, and she thinks it might not be a bad idea to go to Folly Beach after all.

Upon reaching Folly Beach, she is somewhat touched by the warm hospitality from Abigail, the woman who owns Folly's Finds and her son, Heathcliff (he was named after a character in Wuthering Heights) but she could not say the same towards his great aunt, Lulu, for she feels Lulu's cool demeanour whenever she is around her. However, Emmy knew the older woman might have some answers in regards to the love notes found in those old books so she is hoping to find out some truth from her, though she knew it might take her some time and efforts to break the ice. Besides the mystery surrounding those love notes, Emmy is also interested in Lulu's bottle trees and why she is so adamant about continuing to sell them from the store's backyard.

When Emmy began to discover more love notes, the more she learned about the past history at Folly Beach and the relationship between Lulu and her elder sister, Margaret. The most interesting part is where readers will learn not only about Margaret's life but also her relationship between her lover, Peter as well as her cousin, Catherine.

While reading this book, I was very much like Emmy as we both have questions surrounding Margaret, Peter and Catherine, and not to mention Lulu who played an important role in this story. However, this is not all about mystery and secrets but is also about finding hope and having a second chance. With great characterisation and an intriguing plot, Karen White has succeeded in bringing this heartwarming story to life. And before I end this post, I need to mention that I absolutely loved the literary references mentioned in this book, as I am sure this will delight many booklovers. There, I said it. I hope I managed to convince you into reading this book because I really enjoyed it.

(Click here for other bookbloggers' reviews.)
15 Responses
  1. Alice Says:

    Hi Melody, I've seen this book around in so many other book bloggers' sites. I haven't read any of Karen White's book but sure would like to do that one day. Thanks for the review.

  2. Melody Says:

    Alice - Yes, I've seen this book being reviewed by many bookbloggers. I hope you'll read Karen's books if you've the chance; they are great reads IMO.

  3. Wanda Says:

    I have a Karen White book in waiting but this one sounds like it'll be begging for my attention too! Great review, thanks. :)

  4. Andreea Says:

    I didn't read your review because I am reading this book right now, but I am glad that you also got the chance to read it!

  5. Iliana Says:

    What a pretty picture! Thank you for the review Melody. You've got me hooked when you said there are a lot of literary references. I think every bookworm likes that :)

  6. Julia Says:

    Sound like you enjoy this book as much as you love White's previous books. I have seen this book at B&N and almost brought it but decided not to, since I had a choice to get between this book or the other book. Eventually I will read it :)

  7. bermudaonion Says:

    I loved this book, too. I wanted to go to the lowcountry while I was reading it. I was lucky enough to get to meet the author last week and I just loved her too!

  8. Melody Says:

    Wanda - I hope you'll read it soon! :)

    Andreea - That's great! I can't wait to hear what you'll say about this! :)

    Iliana - Thanks, Iliana! I'm sure the literary references will intrigue many booklovers, hehe. ;)

    Julie - I hope you'll read her books soon!

    Kathy - It's so great to meet up with authors! I know I'd be thrilled to meet Karen White if given a chance!

  9. Anna Says:

    Glad to see you enjoyed this, too. Looks like we've read the same Karen White books. I'll have to get my hands on her other novels.

    I hope it's okay to link to your post on the WWII book reviews page on War Through the Generations. I'll get it on the site soon.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  10. Melody Says:

    Anna - I can't wait for her next releases!

    No problem at all regarding the linking. Thanks, Anna! :)

  11. Folly Beach sure has gotten a lot of PR this week. It does sound good though.

  12. This does sound like a good one, Melody. I hope one day to read it. Like you, I really like the author's writing style and the premise sounds too good to pass up.

  13. The Bookworm Says:

    Sounds like a great read, I always enjoy literary references in books as well.
    Great review :)

  14. Melody Says:

    Diane - It sure is! :)

    Wendy - I really enjoyed reading this book! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did when you get to it.

    Naida - I love reading books about books. You can imagine how delighted I was when there were literary references in this book! :)

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I love the Tradd Street series, but haven't read anything else by White. This looks like a good place to start. I would love to buy a bookstore :)

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