I have read and enjoyed many of Karen White’s novels and On Folly Beach was no different. I really enjoyed this latest novel of hers. Like many of her novels, On Folly Beach is a novel full of emotion – sadness and happiness and yet hopeful at the same time. There is also a great mystery that weaves the past with the present in a way that will keep you turning the pages to find out exactly what happened and how it relates to the present day and those in it.
Emmy has lost her husband to the war in Afghanistan six months ago. She still desperately misses him and finds it hard to move forward at all with her life and still be able to breathe. Emmy’s mother knows she’s struggling and encourages Emmy to buy a local bookstore called Folly’s Finds in Folly Beach, South Carolina where she herself grew up. She feels that Folly Beach could somehow awaken the life that she knows her daughter still has inside of her.
Emmy is very against the idea until she starts going through a box of books that her mother had purchased from Folly’s Finds. It contains a lot of old books but the interesting thing is that many of the books have these secret messages of love written in the margins. Emmy has a masters in library science and at one point her dream had been to be a curator in a museum or university working with rare book collections so needless to say these old novels and messages are definitely sparking her curiosity. Finally she decides to jump in feet first and take a risk – she’s going to move to Folly Beach and buy the bookstore with the hopes of finding yet more messages and unraveling the mystery of them.
When Emmy arrives in Folly Beach she is confronted with the not quite so pleasant Lulu, a woman in her seventies, who she will have to work with. Lulu is the sister of the woman Maggie who had once owned Folly’s Finds and she has a thriving business selling bottle trees. Lulu also happens to be the only person left alive who really knows the truth about what may have happened many years ago and just who it is who may have written those love notes in the novels.
This novel alternates between the past in the 1940’s with Lulu, her sister Maggie and Maggie’s cousin Cat and the present day 2009 with Emmy coming to Folly’s Finds and trying to uncover the mystery behind all that happened back in the 1940’s. Emmy’s discoveries begin to unravel the little world that Lulu has built for herself. Of course there are many unanswered questions and each question brings the past closer and closer to Lulu who has been running away from it her whole life. At the same time uncovering this past life brings Emmy back to realizing she still wants to live even without her husband.
I really enjoyed the characters in this novel- with my favorites being Emmy and Lulu. Emmy I liked for her vulnerability, sadness, and love of anything books. Lulu I liked for different reasons. She seemed mean and rude to everyone but it was her way of not letting anyone get too close. As you read about her past you begin to understand more and more about why she’s as she is and why she devotes her life to making her bottle trees. I loved the setting of Folly Beach and mostly I just loved being able to immerse myself in a Karen White novel and say good bye to real life for a while.
I read On Folly Beach by Karen White for her blog tour with TLC Book Tours. You can check out the rest of the tour stops for On Folly Beach here. You can buy your very own copy of On Folly Beach by Karen White here in the US and here in Canada. Be sure to pop in and visit Karen White’s website as well!
Would you like to win your own copy of On Folly Beach by Karen White? Well I just happen to have 2 copies up for grabs courtesy of the publisher Penguin.
To enter: just leave me a comment with a way to contact you. No email address and your entry will be deleted.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) as the books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. I will draw for the winners on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Good luck everyone!