Mary Alice Monroe is one of my many favorite authors. Her latest novel, the 5th in the “Beach House” series, Beach House Reunion, is sure to be a bestseller. Monroe has a way of blending the environmental concerns of the low country of the southeastern U.S. with romance, history, and women’s and family issues. Her books teach us about the endangered loggerhead turtles through the passions and career choices of some of her characters in such a way that I want to move there and join the Turtle Team, or fight the big developers who are destroying the coastline. It is at our coastlines that the effects of climate change are most readily visible. She has won several literary awards, and it’s no surprise that, as an active conservationist, among them is the International Book Award for Green Fiction.
The continuing saga begins when Cara and her newly adopted daughter, Hope, return home to their cherished beach house on Isle of Palms. Even after 3 years, Cara’s grief for her late husband, Brett, is still raw. She meets David, an acquaintance from the previous book, who is caring for his infant grandson. Through a series of play dates for the kids, they become fast friends.
I always learn something from Monroe’s books. In this one, I learned that the colorful Carolina Parakeets are gone. They ate sandspur seeds which are toxic. Feral cats ate the birds, and also died. While this did help with the overpopulation of feral cats, the beautiful birds are gone. According to Monroe, deforestation, diseases, and hunting destroyed all of these beloved birds.
In Beach House Reunion, family issues are confronted. Cara, her brother, Palmer, and his family are finally able to break the cycle of dysfunction passed down from his and Cara’s father. This is a book you don’t want to miss.