Monday, July 5, 2010

On Folly Beach by Karen White

On Folly Beach by Karen White. New American Library, a Division of the Penguin Group (USA), Inc. May 2010. ISBN #: 9780451229212

How do you know when it's time to let go? Emmy has just lost her husband to war and is just existing. There comes a point where her mother says she should buy a local book store in Folly's Finds in South Carolina's Folly Beach, a move that is harsh for Emmy but eventually will be the most healing separation possible! Upon her arrival there, she meets Heath, a survivor of cancer who refuses to think about the past and contemplates only the present, who goads Emmy but who carries a penchant for leaving unfinished business himself. Then there's brusque Lulu who displays just enough glimmers of understanding and humor to intrigue Emmy. And there are the rest of the family, original owners of the bookstore Emmy will buy, who are charming, loving and the most pleasant people around this tourist area, people who really know how to enjoy life and make lemonade from the lemons life flings!

A mystery begins to evolve which is fascinating and rivets the readers more and more to the pages as it deepens. It consists of "bottle trees," a unique creation common to southern America, and the hidden messages within the bottles and hidden within classic beloved fiction pages.

A story begins to piece-by-piece emerge, involving Maggie, Lulu and Cat in the 1940s, when America was at war. Folly's Beach became a haven for military personnel on leave. Love bloomed in those dire days, with soldiers living for love, not knowing if they would live to fulfill their dreams for the future. And rumors circulated about Germans sinking American boats outside the harbors of South Carolina, as well as the possibility that there were actually German spies disguised in South Carolina. The latter rumors though were dismissed as just that.

Maggie and Cat have lost loved ones through death, events that have shaped them into the giving and selfish people they are. But rush not to judgment, for there is more to these representative ladies of the times, as well as much more to the story of Lulu, a child who "misses nothing" and fears losing the few who have not died in her world.

On Folly Beach is a perfect summer read - heck, a perfect read for any time of the year. Karen White knows how to spin a perfectly crafted story and/or mystery, and readers are sure to love this soon to be best-seller, for sure!

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