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The Beach House (Beach House #1)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,200 Ratings  ·  625 Reviews
Known for her moving characters and emotional honesty, Mary Alice Monroe brings readers a beautifully rendered story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters.

Caretta Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning o
Paperback, 480 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Mira (first published 2002)
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Katherine Steckler I read Beach House first and then Beach House Memories. That's the order I was told to read them in and I'm glad I did. :-)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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It's chic-lit written well. It's predictable, no-brainer, relaxing, light. No surprises. It's a lesson in southern charm, and southern food and southern morals. And a moral quest to save sea turtles.

Then there's family dynamics, a cruel history with secrets waiting to burst forth, and a flourishing future. There's a romance and a few other elements to boot - like the few billion books, following the exact same blueprint, in the same genre.

Not a bad book for the right audience. I'm not. And that
Aug 31, 2014 Britany rated it liked it
Loggerheads, Barrier Islands, and family secrets all collide in this novel.

This is my first by Mary Alice Monroe, and I wasn't disappointed. Had all the good makings of a great novel, however didn't quite come together perfectly for me. A little too much jargon got in the way, along with trying to throw way too many things into one book. Betrayal, family rivalry, abuse, a teenage pregnancy, saving seaturtles, romance, and to top it all off add in a hurricane!

Caretta Rutledge comes home to Isle o
With the flair of a true wordsmith, Mary Alice Monroe has penned a beautiful, poignant tale centered on the mending of a broken mother/daughter relationship. It gives the story of three women and the memorable summer they share together. The storyline and delivery are excellent and each character portrayed is richly developed.

Set in lovely Charleston, SC with the main story unfolding on the Isle of Palms, the author’s descriptive details easily pulls the reader into this journey, making this ba
Dec 03, 2008 Antof9 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, this book surprised me! Looking at it, I would have assumed it was a generic romance novel like many of the other books on the shelves at my club. But I wouldn't even call it a romance novel. There is some romance in it, but it's very clean, and that's definitely not the central focus of this book.

One thing I didn't like and it almost put me off at the beginning of the book is something I consider a lazy authoring technique -- having the characters say things to each other like "y
Kathryn Long
Sep 20, 2013 Kathryn Long rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Beach House is a story that evoked a multitude of emotions in me. I laughed and cried, my heart broke, and yet filled with warmth and happiness. Monroe sent me on a roller coaster ride of moods and feelings, leaving me fullfilled at the end. It was truly an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

I am a mother with two grown daughters. After finishing the book, I told them that even though I don't ask much from them, I am asking them to please read The Beach House. Those who have read it w
May 28, 2012 Alina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hoped to enjoy this book, especially since I previously lived in Charleston, SC -- and, I did. The author put the "happily ever after" spin on all the storylines; that's what I prefer. There was just enough of everything: mystery from the past,simmering romance (with a hero who would have swept me off my feet), personal redemption, coming of age and 'seize the day'. Plus, the main character is thankfully 40. (I'm not keen on reading about teenage love!)

The book was not a 4 or 5 for me because
Lin Stepp
Jun 10, 2012 Lin Stepp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big Mary Alice Monroe fan ... and this was another of her fine books.
It is a rich, sweet story with warmth and a lovely link to the cycles of nature and sea turtles.
Cara return home to the island and her mother's house after 22 years of living independently, having a successful career - back to her family's 1930s beach cottage. She's just been fired as exec director in a Chicago ad agency over losing an account.
Arriving at the island, she learns her boyfriend hasn't been upfront with her
I was urged to read this on my annual South Carolina beach vacation with old friends. It's a perfect beach book that would also be enjoyable for someone who only wishes she were at the beach. In addition, the reader will painlessly learn quite a bit about loggerhead turtles, the symbol that holds the book together.

Caretta Rutledge thinks she has her life in order. Since leaving her Charleston home at 18, she has earned two degrees, become an account executive in an ad agency, and bought a lakefr
Aug 28, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable book set in the city of Charleston and the neighboring South Carolina low-country beach town of Isle of Palms. I was drawn to the book for its setting because I recently visited the region and was very intrigued by it. In the end the book had much more depth and plot than I was expecting. It touches on the themes of family relationships--particularly between mother and daughter--and the natural cycles of birth and death. I especially liked the role that nature played in the ...more
Caretta Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother -- coming just as her own life is spinning out of control -- has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide "turtle lady" and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that ...more
Sue Phillips roberts
This is a story about "going home". (Yes you can go home again.) It is also about mending relationships, forgiveness, love and new beginnings. Set on the coast of North Carolina. It's a GOODREAD.
Feb 07, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Caretta Rutlege had thought that by moving to Chicago at age eighteen, she had effectively left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind her. Over the past two decades, Cara had created a comfortable life for herself, as well as a successful career that kept her busy. The status of polite truce that currently exists between herself and her mother has worked well for them both - and she sees no reason why that should change.

But an unusual request from her mother - coming just as her own
Brittany Cuenin
Jun 13, 2013 Brittany Cuenin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lowcountry
Great beach read! If you're packing your towels and swimsuits, add this to the list - or, if you're staying at home, grab a glass of lemonade and sit down to read.

This novel takes place on Isle of Palms, SC - outside of Charleston. If you've visited the Lowcountry, this book will take you right back. Loved the descriptions and the complexity of the mother daughter relationship. Well done.
Sep 21, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This started out a little slow and I was honestly afraid I wasn't going to be able to get into it. I'm glad I stuck it out though because this was a great book. I haven't cried while reading a book in a long time but this book definitely brought up some feelings and had me crying. The main character, Lovie, has terminal lung cancer and her main goal before she died was to reconnect with her children and have her family back together. This of course made me think of what it would be like to lose ...more
J.H. Moncrieff
Dec 30, 2015 J.H. Moncrieff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a slow starter, but I'm really glad I stuck with it. Even though the ending won't surprise anyone, it's a beautiful little story about families breaking apart and coming together again, set against the backdrop of the fight to save the loggerhead sea turtle.

Think of it as Terms of Endearment with turtles. Although there was some repetition that made me squirm after a while - only so many smiles stretching across faces I could handle - there were some truly beautiful lines and gorgeo
Nov 24, 2012 Billiejo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, one of my favorites that my friends and I still talk about and its been years since I've read it!
Life lessons, for true. :) Mary Alice Monroe has now written a sequel to this book, which is called swimming lessons. This book has had a huge impact on any number of people I know.

From the Publisher

Known for her moving characters and emotional honesty, Mary Alice Monroe brings readers a beautifully rendered story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters.

Carette Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request
Sep 20, 2013 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cara Rutledge had left her home and parents at age 18. She made her way in the world even putting herself through college and gaining a great position in an ad agency in Chicago. She has a beautiful, minimalist condo right on Lake Michigan and a boyfriend, who is also a colleague and understands her workaholic lifestyle.

Cara goes to work on her birthday with a song in her heart looking forward to a great day. Her world is turned upside down, however, and in even more turmoil when she receives a
Jan 23, 2013 Hazel rated it really liked it
A book group pick and not one I would have picked up on my own steam. However, it was a quite enjoyable read. I would liken it to a wordy Elin Hilderbrand, the same type of beach setting, mixed characters, one gritty storyline but a lot of fun going on within the book.

It is no classic but a book that would be a good holiday/beach read. It was a bit too wordy in places and I felt that a good 100 to 150 could have been edited out of the book without changing the story in the slightest. Some parts
Eric Wright
Another SC/Georgia story I've read in research for an island novel I'm writing. Monroe’s story combines a plea for the conservation of the endangered loggerhead turtle with a love story set against the background of a staunch Charleston family. The story mainly takes place on the Isle of Palms/Sullivan’s Island, SC, where the turtle woman, Lovie, mother of estranged Caretta, nurses memories of a summer’s great love affair.

Caretta left home for Chicago as a late teen, furious with her autocratic
ajaleyah taylor
May 05, 2013 ajaleyah taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I decided to read this book because my mum recommended it to me and she thought that i would enjoy it.

The category that this book fits into is a book recommended by a member of your family.This book as in my opinion was hard to get hooked to it took about 9-10 chapters before it got me kind of wanting to read .

My favourite quote from the book is in the prologue it is...

"Consider the turtle. Perchance you have worried,despaired of the world, meditated the end of life, and all things seem rushing
While this novel isn't anything earth shattering, it's a perfect beach read that I know I'll be recommending to friends this summer whom are looking for great books to read on the beach.

I wasn't expecting much from this novel but I ended up being pretty surprised by how much I liked it. The plot twists and turns aren't anything surprising but the story itself is somewhat like the south it takes place in, slow and meandering but sweet. I rarely tear up during novels but this one had me tear up n
Sandra Nachlinger
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe is a beautifully written story about 40-year-old Cara and her mother who is dying of lung cancer. Cara goes back home to the barrier islands of South Carolina and while caring for her mother, confronts issues that have followed her since she was a child. Loggerhead turtles figure in the plot too, and I learned a lot about them through this story.
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
Regina Spiker
This would be a wonderful summer read - however I read it in the dead of winter! Maybe I needed to feel a hot summer breeze and pretend I was at the ocean after all the cold and snow we have had here in Western MD. Did you know that a loggerhead is called Caretta caretta in Latin? I've always been interested in those big old sea turtles and how they travel what seems like millions of miles to lay their eggs. This wonderful book of fiction about a lovely older woman nicknamed Lovie, who loves log ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Every book I have read by Mary Alice Monroe I have enjoyed, she is a wonderful writer, weaving a good story and interesting characters.

This story is so close to home, that is probably why I enjoyed it so much. I grew up on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean too and being from a Southern family I certainly could relate to her characters. A very endearing story surrounding mother and daughter.

An educational story involving the plight of the Loggerhead Turtles. I am a naturalist at h
Mary Catherine
Jul 24, 2014 Mary Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great summer read! Predictable, but enjoyable.
Stacy  okun
May 06, 2014 Stacy okun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a good read! I cried at the end, but it was a very sweet uplifting story of family and love.
Dec 22, 2015 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the low country

Vivid reminder of the beauty and fierceness of the Low Country of SC. Lovely telling of mended relationships and deep love.
Cameron Burns
Dec 29, 2015 Cameron Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book!!!
Oct 23, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually loved a great deal about this novel. The turtle ladies, the setting, the texture of some of the relationships.
Two things happened in this novel that killed it for me.
The first one I saw coming a mile away. A woman who has put her career first, whose dying mother fears she has shut out love.....decides to abandon her career for love.
Really? Does anybody know real women who do things like this?
There is ZERO discussion of how Caretta will make a living...or IF she will decide to stop w
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New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her books.

Mary Alice Monroe writes richly textur
More about Mary Alice Monroe...

Other Books in the Series

Beach House (3 books)
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Beach House Memories

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