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The Beach Trees

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  9,590 Ratings  ·  996 Reviews
From the bestselling author of After the Rain, Sea Change, and The Color of Light...From the time she was twelve, Julie Holt knew what a random tragedy can do to a family. At that tender age, her little sister disappeared-never to be found. It was a loss that slowly eroded the family bonds she once relied on. As an adult with a prestigious job in the arts, Julie meets a st ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by NAL (first published January 1st 2011)
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Melissa Muszak
Aug 11, 2013 Melissa Muszak rated it really liked it
Ok, here's the thing. It was a gripping read. I debated on 3 or 4 stars, but ultimately decided that I since I really, really wanted to find out what happened, that was saying something. I have five main issues:

1) The historical part of the story was fantastic. However, the newer story in the book was not nearly as good as the story in the past. I kept wanting to skip ahead to go back to Aimee's story.

2) The reason that Monica left was not believable to me. It wasn't good enough to stay away fro
Mar 06, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it
After finishing THE BEACH TREES, I longed for more of the story, and to go and see what New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are like. I closed the book, and it was as though I'd left some good friends behing!

Karen White's THE BEACH TREES is an excellent and compelling read! It begins with Julie, who has inherited (part) ownership of a home on the river in Biloxi, Mississippi, along with her best friend's five year-old son. Her deceased friend, Monica, died very young, of a congenital heart problem, a
Jun 21, 2011 Lizz rated it it was amazing
I have been sitting here since I finished the book trying to come up with a good review. I just keep coming back to.... Wow. I love Karen White's books, but this is my absolute favorite. I found myself torn between wanting to keep reading to find out what happened, and wanting to read more slowly so as to be able to savor the story longer. No need to rehash the plot (not that I ever do anyway) since that has been done numerous times by those more skillful at that than I. Just read it. Then you c ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This is my third book by Karen White and by far it is my favorite by her. I was captivated from the beginning. Told from the perspective of two women, Julie and Aimee. I was more interested in Aimee's story, from the past, than Julie's. It's definitely a story that I hated to put down because I wanted to know 'what happened'. Full of mystery, family secrets, loss, and a little romance.
Marilyn Rondeau
Aug 02, 2011 Marilyn Rondeau rated it it was amazing
Julie Holt and Monica Guidry become best friends with the young artist Monica, who because of artistry and zest for life had reminded Julie of her long lost sister who had disappeared some 17 years ago and whom Julie was still looking for. After Monica, who had congestive heart failure died, Julie received a legacy of a beach house as well as guardianship of Monica’s five year old son Beau. Julie decided to head to Biloxi and discover the beach house Monica had so loved and to discover why Monic ...more
Cherie Magnus
Jul 16, 2012 Cherie Magnus rated it liked it
It's one thing to have a facility with words, and it's another to construct an engrossing story with a smooth release of information. Ms White is a wordsmith, but much of the time in this novel there were too many of them, and too much reading the expressions of people, along the lines of "behind his eyes he kept his secrets to himself", and having an important recollection just beyond the character's grasp and memory all to create suspense. "Something floated by in my mind that avoided me." The ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Jacqie rated it liked it
Kind of a vanilla book for me. The setting was what spoke to me most about the book. It made me want to be on a secluded beach, listening to the bird calls and smelling the breeze.

There are two protagonists in the book, Julie and Aimee. Julie's story frames the book. She has become the guardian to a five year old boy after his mother dies young of a heart condition. She takes him to New Orleans to meet his family and also to restore a beach house in Biloxi that she now co-owns with that family,
Mar 22, 2017 Marla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Captivating, beautifully written and sad family story. I really enjoyed listening to this story.
WOW! So different than what I usually read...and it was soooo good. There was romance in the book, but I wouldn't classify this as a Romance. It was such a heart wrenching story of such wonderful people and how things that happened generations before affected their family. Hidden family secrets, the heroine, Julie trying to uncover those secrets and wonderful story telling from the characters had me turning the pages seeing what would happen next.

This is a story is about finding answers to unkno

Kerry Hennigan
Dec 25, 2012 Kerry Hennigan rated it liked it
In travelling south to Biloxi, Julie Holt is travelling towards her future; one in which she has a home at the evocatively named River Song, left to her by her late friend Monica, and is step mother to Monica's son Beau. Or, it could just be another episode in her life of searching.

Julie's younger sister went missing when they were both children, but Julie has never given up hope of finding Chelsea, and never stopped feeling guilty for her sister's disappearance. Monica had reminded Julie of Che
Dale Harcombe
Dec 21, 2013 Dale Harcombe rated it liked it
Three stars.
Maybe it was the wrong book at the wrong time of year or possibly I was put off by the faint print but I struggled to read this one. Julie Holt's sister disappears when she is twelve and it affects her life. Even as an adult she is constantly looking to find her sister, Chelsea. When she meets Monica, a struggling artist they form a deep friendship or so Julie thought. Even though Monica leaves her son Beau in Julie's care, Julie finds out she doesn't know as much about her friends
Mar 02, 2014 Lorrie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, karen-white
hmm. Wonderful, slow moving, lazy read but with a twist. The reader is immersed into the after effects of Hurricane Katrina (and even Camilla), Katrina tree art, and the culture. The read was so languid and slow, I could only give it 4 stars. It was a good bedtime book. Put me to sleep many nights.
Sep 21, 2011 Denise rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. Being a huge fan of Karen White, I probably loved the book before I even read it. This author really knows how to do family drama and wonderful, draw you in scenic descriptions. A big bonus if you are a fan of southern fiction.
Nov 09, 2016 Cheri rated it it was amazing
So much history of the Katrina Hurricane in this book. The story itself was heartwarming and very intriguing.
Mar 26, 2013 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Julie Holt’s own Massachusetts family disintegrated after her little sister disappeared when Julie was twelve. Forever haunted by that loss, Julie grows up and moves to New York, where she meets struggling artist Monica Guidry, seemingly by chance. Monica, too, has been profoundly affected by family tragedy and has run away from her own family for reasons Julie has yet to learn. When twenty-eight-year-old Monica dies suddenly, she makes Julie the guardian of her five-year-old son, Beau, and wil ...more
Molly (Cafinated Reads)
May 04, 2011 Molly (Cafinated Reads) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Molly (Cafinated Reads) by: TLC
I absolutely LOVED this novel! It's not your everyday's BETTER than that! If you are looking for a well written, mostly serious yet at times funny, beach read, look no further than Karen White's THE BEACH TREES. Her style is unique and gripping and will keep you hooked to the very end.

The characters found amongst these pages are both complex and real. Julie and Trey both experience the tragedy and stress of loosing someone they love. But, when both are faced with decisions and huge r
Jun 23, 2016 Carolyn rated it did not like it
Okay I knew better, having really disliked another book by this same author but a friend gave this to me with a great recommendation. Oh my gosh - where to start?? Truly the most clichéd story ever. NO ONE doesn't know how it will end after the first 5 pages.
This supposedly smart young woman doesn't know how to swim, doesn't know about boob-showing to get beads at Mardi Gras, has no clue what a po'boy sandwich is. She constantly wears a blouse...a blouse with a skirt, a blouse with jeans. A blo
May 06, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I imagine most people would acknowledge they have kept a secret to protect someone else’s feelings at least once in their life. In this novel, however, the secrets are many and have devastating consequences despite how fiercely attempts are made to guard them. Entering this culture of secrets is Julie Holt and a five year old boy for whom she has recently been made his legal guardian. Her mission, left to her by her close friend, his mother, is to connect him to his New Orleans/Biloxi roots. The ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Villate rated it liked it
This was an all right story. I was a little surprised by the "twist" of who murdered whom in one case, and a little surprised by the reason for the other murder (oh come on, really? I know it's New Orleans, but REALLY?). I liked that racism wasn't a huge theme of the story but that its influence was still felt and that it affected the actions of some of the characters - that seemed more realistic than the ham-handed behaviors portrayed in, say, "The Help." The main characters were a little too b ...more
Sep 01, 2011 Lyndi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from the "giveaways" here on Goodreads! I have read this author before, and while I liked that book (The Lost Hours) I enjoyed this one even more. This book tells the story of Julie, friend to a recently deceased Monica, who finds herself the guardian of Monica's son Beau. Monica's family is from the Gulf Coast and Julie ends up there looking for a home she inherited from Monica that, thanks to Hurrican Katrina, no longer exists. Instead Julie finds Monica's brother Trey and thei ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Contrived and frustrating to read. I was impatient with the alternating events past and present and threads that took a very long time to tie together. It is not logical that Aimee would take months to tell her whole story--who does that?--especially when it contains the main point of what Julie wants to find out. It is a stretch that Monica purposely created this mystery before she died for Julie to solve--who does that?? This is peppered with annoying characters who can't seem to ever answer a ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Annie rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to figure out if it should be a 3 or 4 star review. My favorite part was the setting more so than the story. Karen has a way of making you feel you are right there in side the book, you can see the devastation from Katrina, can here the surf, taste and smell the food, feel the old southern charm that permeates everything. I lived in Biloxi, Pascagoula and just outside of New Orleans when I was younger and it took me back to that time.
I usually do not like the going back in time
Linda Bourg
Jan 20, 2014 Linda Bourg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Right from the very beginning i was hooked to this story. I suppose it is because i am from the south and know about the devastation, and heartache hurricanes can bring, and how families are affected with the long haul of rebuilding homes and lives. There was also a bit of mystery to this book. family secrets that just haunted them until they came to light. I really enjoyed this one. Will read more by Karen White.
Sharon Huether
Nov 29, 2011 Sharon Huether rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, chick-lit
The author spins a mystery enticing the reader to want to read more. Julie's best friend Monica, dies and now she is part owner in a beach house in Biloxi plus she is now a guardian for Monica's five year old son. Julie gets acquainted with Monica's family, were secrets are slowly revealed, bringing her into their circle. Wonderful story.
Wendy Wax
Jan 11, 2012 Wendy Wax rated it it was amazing
One of my very favorite authors!
Jan 10, 2014 Tracy rated it liked it
Sorry Karen, but this book with the beautiful cover was dull, dull, dull. The plot dragged on and on and on when I just wanted to scream...."spit it out already!"
This book was written as one person revealing a story to another person, but the person telling the story told it so slowly over a long period of time and frankly seemed only to do so in order to drag the book out longer than it really needed to be. Why? I have no idea...maybe to span the length it took to rebuilt the beach house. The r
Jan 29, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I enjoyed this audio book very much. This was one of the Reading Group Choices for 2012. I've never read anything by this author before but was very happy that I chose to listen to it. This is read by 2 readers, Ki Gottberg and Gin Hammond. They each read for one of the main characters in the book. I like it when there are alternating voices because it helps you to remember who is telling the story and I think that having multiple voices just adds depth to the narration. Julie Holt is a young wo ...more
Feb 18, 2011 Diana rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
The formula the author uses to unravel The Big Mystery gets irritating after a while. Using an ongoing conversation to purposely draw out the story doesn't work for me ("I'm afraid that's it for now, I need to rest" and the conversation picks up days later...ugh), especially when the joint realization amongst the key players in the last 20 pages (insert eye-roll here) could have been figured out without most of the historical recounting from the matriarch character.

One thing I really get annoyed
Susan Wyno
Jul 03, 2016 Susan Wyno rated it it was amazing
I don't give many 5 star ratings. I reserve that for the very very best books. This was probably 4.5 stars.
This is the first book I've read by Karen White and I really enjoyed her writing style. This book is written with alternating storytelling of events from the past, then back to the present. I often find two different story lines like this as annoying, especially ones with so many characters. I found myself wishing I had a family tree to keep track of them all. However this book was worth t
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After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first ...more
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