Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house. When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted. It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other. And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible."
Cara's mother left her a cottage, Primrose, on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina and even though it's quite old, she refuses to sell it (the land is worth a fortune!), because it means so much to her.  Cara and her husband rent out the house for the summer to an artist, Heather, who has the incredible task of painting shorebirds for postage stamps.  Heather struggles with some major social anxieties and normally keeps to herself, but that is hard to do on the Isle of Palms.  For starters, Bo Stanton is building a deck on the property and she sees him everyday.  Despite her major social issues, she can't help but feel a connection with him and the same goes for Bo.  He actually helps Heather move out of her comfort zone.  Then there's Cara who deals with a major and unexpected tragedy that shatters her once perfect world into a million pieces.  To recover from this major blow, she wants to find refuge at Primrose and ends up rooming with Heather.  In turn, an unexpected friendship forms and both women help each other through life's ups and downs.   Mary Alice Monroe's Beach House for Rent is a perfect beach read for fans who enjoy Dorothea Benton Frank's novels as well as beach fiction about female friendships.

I immediately liked the character of Cara in Beach House for Rent. I enjoyed learning more of her back story, especially about her childhood, and I liked her spunk.  On the other hand, I took a little while to warm up to Heather as she is a bit more rough around the edges.  As readers learn more about her past and as she slowly gets over some of her issues, I enjoyed her a bit more.  In fact, Heather's love interest, Bo, is very charming and I really liked their blossoming romance.

Apparently Beach House for Rent is a part of Monroe's Beach House series, but each book can be read as a standalone.  What is pretty cool is the fact that some of the characters are recurring, so I definitely want to check out the other books in the series to get more of a complete picture.  

Also, Beach House for Rent is my first novel that I've read by Monroe and I was pleasantly surprised regarding her incorporation of nature. I really appreciated all of her facts and descriptions of the shore birds as well as the turtles.  I read that the other novels in the series also highlight coastal wildlife as well as nature, which I really enjoy.  Also, her descriptions of the Isle of Palms were so beautiful as well the descriptions of Primrose.  It had me dreaming of a vacation down South and renting a gorgeous ocean front cottage with beautiful views and the sound of the waves lulling me to sleep at night.

So, if you are like me and beach reads are your thing, definitely check out Beach House for Rent this summer. It had a bit of everything that I like when it comes to vacation reading or lounging poolside with a great read.

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