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Saturday, June 24, 2017

(55)Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Cara Rutledge has just finished getting her beach house ready for the summer rental season.  The income is crucial to keep the bills paid.  Her husband, Brett, runs an EcoTours business and it has been a money-sink recently.  Cara and Brett were arguing about money when Brett goes out for a run and never comes back.  His fatal heart attack leaves Cara reeling.  Even more so when she discovers that he canceled his life insurance policy.  She decides to sell their home and move into the beach house, for many reasons, but the beach house has always had healing qualities for her.   There is one problem - the beach house is rented.

Heather Wyatt's father rented the beach house for her so he can spend some quality time with his new bride.  Heather is a shy and quiet young woman with extreme anxiety relating to her mother's death.  Even she realizes that the beach house has healing qualities.  She is starting to come out of her shell and even has a boyfriend.  Her lease agreement is through the end of the summer and Heather is not about to leave early for Cara.  The two women decide to share the beach house with each other for the rest of the summer.  What will happen to the two women once the summer is over?

Beach House for Rent is another wonderful Lowcountry read from Mary Alice Monroe.  Even though nearly twenty-five years separate them in age, both Cara and Heather are trying to recover and heal.  For Cara, it is a fresh pain and for Heather, it is several years old.  The book alternates between Heather and Cara in narration, sometimes for several chapters.  It isn't until the book is more than half over that they become roommates, so you really get to know bother characters before that point.  They both have grown in the book, but I really think that Heather had the most growth given the way she really came out of her shell. I liked how she blossomed with her boyfriend, Bo.    I wasn't sure how the author was going to end things, but it was a good conclusion.

Bottom line - I haven't read a lot of books set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, but Mary Alice Monroe certainly knows how to make a reader fall in love with the area.  From the ecosystem to the cuisine, she makes it feel like you are there with the characters.  What reader doesn't love a book that can transport you to another place?