Thursday, June 10, 2021

Book Review: The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 11, 2021
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Beach House for Rent,
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The Beach House series returns with this tender and compassionate novel following the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, a spirit of unity, and a dose of humor.  The coming of Spring usually means renewal, but for Linnea Rutledge, Spring 2020 threatens stagnation. Linnea faces another layoff, this time from the aquarium she adores. For her—and her family—finances, emotions, and health teeter at the brink. To complicate matters, her new love interest, Gordon, struggles to return to the Isle of Palms from England. Meanwhile, her old flame, John, turns up from California and is quarantining next door. She tries to ignore him, but when he sends her plaintive notes in the form of paper airplanes, old sparks ignite. When Gordon at last reaches the island, Linnea wonders—is it possible to love two men at the same time?  Love in the time of coronavirus proves challenging, at times humorous, and ever changing. Relationships are redefined, friendships made and broken, and marriages tested. As the weeks turn to months, and another sea turtle season comes to a close, Linnea and the Rutledge family continue to face their challenges with the strength, faith, and commitment that has inspired readers for decades. In The Summer of Lost and Found, Mary Alice Monroe once again delves into the complexities of family relationships and brings her signature storytelling to this poignant and timely novel of love, courage, and resilience. "


If you are familiar with Monroe's The Beach House series, you know that Linnea Rutledge loves her job at the aquarium; however, she is furloughed due to COVID cutbacks, and on top of it, her boyfriend, Gordon, was supposed to come back from England to the Isle of Palms, but due to the COVID outbreak, it's looking like he won't be able to.  Thanks to COVID, her life has been thrown for a loop.  Even her ex-boyfriend, John, the one who had her move to California, is back home on the Isle of Palms and is now quarantining next door.  She is set to ignore him, because he broke her heart, but how can she when he is next door and throwing paper airplanes with notes her way?  Like many Americans last year, the rest of the Rutledge family is challenged during COVID. There's love, there's heartbreak, there's friendship and marriages tested, and so much more.  Mary Alice Monroe's latest edition in the The Beach House series, The Summer of Lost and Found, is a decent beach read; however, I could have done with more descriptions of the Isle of Palms and less focus on the coronavirus.

Linnea is a character I have come to enjoy in The Beach House series. Although I haven't read every novel in this series, I have read enough that I've started to get to know the Rutledge family though the years and appreciate them.  Linnea finally has found her happiness (at least we thought she did) with her boyfriend coming back from England, and her dream job at the aquarium.  However, things are turned upside down due to COVID, which I am sure we can all relate to.  The distance between her and Gordon has her thinking about things, not to mention John's presence next door is a difficult one. At first, she is dead set against dealing with John, but he slowly breaks down her walls, especially when he connects with Hope, who Linnea is watching for a bit.  Despite my hesitation, I think Monroe does a good job illustrating the complications of love during COVID.

One of the reasons I gravitate towards Monroe's novels is the fact that she describes nature so beautifully. Her descriptions of the Isle of Palms are so well done in each novel and of course, I appreciate her details regarding the island's sea turtles as well as the environmental themes. Well, if you are like me and look forward to that, you may be disappointed with The Summer of Lost and Found. There wasn't much appreciation of nature in this novel, especially in comparison to the other books in the series. I knew this The Summer of Lost and Found was going to deal with the COVID outbreak in its early stages, but I didn't realize it was going to be such a big focus of the novel.  If you are mentally ready to read stories about the pandemic, then definitely pick up The Summer of Lost and Found; however, I wasn't ready in the slightest. This took me by surprise, but I found it triggering to relive it all again, especially the early stages when there were so many unknowns.  Maybe if Monroe tackled this topic a few years down the road, I'd be ready, but for now it was stressful and quite frankly, who wants that in a beach read?  So, if you are looking for a beautiful island escape, look elsewhere. I hope Monroe's next book in The Beach House series is more of what we have come to love.

Are you a fan of Mary Alice Monroe? Is this book on your TBR list? Are you mentally ready to read about the pandemic? Let me know in the comments below.




  1. Ooh, I think it's too soon to be reading stories about/set during the pandemic, especially since we're still kind of in it?

    1. Exactly. It's too soon! I loved the setting of Isle of Palms, but couldn't stomach all the covid talk, masks, social distancing and covid deaths. Thanks for visiting, Angela.

  2. I love that this is set sort of in real time! I totally get how triggering it could be for people, so definitely a little care is needed before jumping in.

    Great review, Christina!

    1. Exactly! Some people can probably handle it, but I wasn't ready for it! Thanks for visiting, Joy!


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