The Beach House
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The Beach House (Beach House #1)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  4,326 ratings  ·  507 reviews
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, therhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a b...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published November 17th 2008 by Mira Books (first published 2002)
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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...more
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...more
Kathryn Long
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...more
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...more
Lin Stepp
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...more
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...more
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
Feb 07, 2014 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Brittany Cuenin
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.
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!
Kristi Vitale
Head eastward and there you’ll find the beautiful sanctuary of the beach house, Primrose Cottage, resting in the Isle of Palms along the vast, fierce Atlantic Ocean, where loggerhead sea turtles amaze and inspire and always return to the sandy beach dunes to continue on in their circle of life in that humanly admired peaceful pace. If you listen, if you observe closely with intention, they will pass that unknowingly graced nonchalance and ancient intelligence onto you -- I suppose in hopes that...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
ajaleyah taylor
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Mary Catherine
Great summer read! Predictable, but enjoyable.
Stacy  okun
What a good read! I cried at the end, but it was a very sweet uplifting story of family and love.
Tanya Tomasovich
Not just a typical Beach, Summer Read!
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe is an excellent book that combines facts( about loggerhead turtles laying eggs on the beach with women's fiction!
The two central main characters are Lovie( who lives at the beach in Lowcountry, and is a protector of the eggs at the beach until they hatch), and her daughter Cara who was named
after the loggerheads. Cara is forty, and is something of a loner. At the invitation of her mom
Lovie she returns home to the beach h...more
I read this book years ago and don't remember everything, but do know it was so well written and very moving. I love reading about all different types of relationships, broken ones, healthy ones, healing ones, this book has a bit of all of those aspects. The sea turtle aspect of the story was so beautiful and something I didn't know much about. Would love to be able to see the baby sea turtles hatch one day and watch as they instinctively make their way "home" is amazing.
This is a wonderful book, characters well developed and you will learn about sea turtles and start to care about them as a positive fringe benefit of reading this book. I closed the book on the last page and immediately went to the sequel, which was equally wonderful. I would like to see Ms. Monroe write a third book in this series. Really speaks to women on all levels and ages. Excellent exploration of mother-daughter relationships and choices women make.
Really good story Sri in the Deep South. Really enjoyed it. Good beach read.
Joan Roll
Carettta Rutledge gets a letter from her mother with a request to make a trip from Chicago to their South Carolina beach house to “sort through years of accumulation”. The letter comes at a time when Cara has just lost her job and her life has been turned upside down. So, she quickly packs and leaves to return home for a visit. The visit brings many surprises and changes Cara’s future as she shifts back into the Lowcountry lifestyle, becomes one of the turtle ladies and renews old friendships.

Very much enjoyed... A beautiful story of a mother and daughters journey becoming reacquainted after years of being estranged. Almost a perfect setting, a home right on the beach filled with southern charm. Interesting plot with twist and turns almost predictable yet intriguing. Old friendships, new friendships, romance, and most of all forgiveness and understanding of the heart. It ended exactly as I had hoped... A great summer read!
This story had a lot to offer: family drama, romance, friendships, mostly likeable characters, sadness, and nature (I learned a lot about loggerhead turtles). I've read several books my Mary Alice Monroe, and I've enjoyed all of them. I'm looking forward to Beach House Memories.
I really enjoyed this book because it seems like my dream retirement. Retire to a beach, walk the beach each night and morning looking for new sea turtle nests. She becomes a turtle lady, volunteering with other women to look after the nests and save the turtle population. It is also about mending relations with her daughter, who lives far away but comes to visit and sees her mother in a new light.
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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
More about Mary Alice Monroe...
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