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The Beach Trees

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  10,681 Ratings  ·  1,070 Reviews
The moving new novel from bestselling author Karen White.

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 struggling artist who reminds
ebook, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by New American Library (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Melissa Muszak
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cherie Magnus
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
Marilyn Rondeau
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Captivating, beautifully written and sad family story. I really enjoyed listening to this story.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic read! I was hooked from the first chapter. While reading this, I learned a lot about New Orleans, Biloxi and the devastation Hurricane Katrina had on those areas. Ms. White really did her research while writing this novel. The things she described had me running to Google so I could see pictures of Katrina trees as well as shoofly porches.
The book not only had a romantic theme, but a mystery element as well. Karen White definitely has a new fan. I can't wait to get my hands
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
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
Jun 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary BG
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
Dale Harcombe
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much history of the Katrina Hurricane in this book. The story itself was heartwarming and very intriguing.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my very favorite authors!
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julie, whose 9 year old sister disappeared when she was twelve and supposed to be watching her is now afraid of attachments. However, a friend of hers, Monica, dies and leaves her to be guardian of her 5 year old son and half owner of a beach house in Biloxi. She decides to go to the house and is devastated to see that the house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In desperation, she tries to sell a painting Monica had also given her and is soon approached by two members of Monica’s family, her ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, maybe being an outsider from both the South and New Orleans helped. The author does a great job to conveying both the destruction and the rebuilding after Katrina, and other hurricanes. The actual story is touching, but keeps you guessing with a couple mysteries weaving through the plot. Her imagery is amazing, and I felt like I could picture everything without ever stepping foot in that region of the country. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to " ...more
Nancy Hoefer
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure I chose this book because it had the word "beach" in the title. The story was set in the Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, areas. Another reason I would pick it up - my love affair with the South. It was good. Some parts seemed unbelievable to me but it added to the story nonetheless.
Diana Donnelly
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book I have read by this author with plans to read her others since this was very well done. It's about New Orleans and Biloxi and the devastation that occurred with their two hurricanes. It's also about the love the people have that live in these areas and their determination to rebuild even knowing that the catastrophe could occur again. This book was also a mystery that left you guessing until the final pages.
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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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“I know what it is to hope and pray so hard that you're sure God will answer your prayer just so you'll stop asking.” 44 likes
“The answers we seek aren't always the answers we want, are they? But knowing the truth is what helps us sleep at night.” 34 likes
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