Karen White is an author who gets better with each new book she writes. Her latest, ON FOLLY BEACH, is her best yet. This story is told with amazing characters, a mysterious plot, and beautiful descriptions of the South Carolina shoreline. White gives her readers everything they could ask for and more. It is the perfect beach book and should increase her stature among writers one hundred fold.
The plot of the book bounces back and forth between the present day and the forties. In the present day story the plot is focused on a young widow named Emmy who lives in Indiana. Her husband Ben was a soldier and has been killed in action. His death left Emmy at odds with her life. She is drifting and has no clear plan for her future.
Her mother, Paige, encourages her to buy a bookstore that is located in Folly Beach, South Carolina. This is Paige's hometown and she thinks a new locale is just what Emmy needs. Reluctantly Emmy agrees to buy the bookstore, which is called "Folly Finds," and move. Once in South Carolina she meets Abigail, the owner of "Folly Finds," as well as her son Heath who owns the house Emmy is renting.
She also meets Abigail's Aunt, a crotchety woman named Lulu. Lulu is the link between the story in the forties and the one in the present. In the forties Lulu was a young girl who lived with her older sister Maggie and their first cousin Catherine, who is called Cat. Lulu and Maggie's parents have died as have Cat's. Cat is a widow when the story starts and Maggie and Lulu are also grieving.
Maggie had met and fallen for a local soldier named Jim but then Cat swept through and made him her own. He married Cat and then was killed in the war. Lulu had also had a childish crush on Jim and disliked Cat for the way she treated him.
As Emmy gets to know Lulu she learns of a mystery that involves two lovers who yearn to be together but can't. Lulu knows the secrets but she is reluctant to tell anything. Eventually tales of betrayal and possible murders are revealed.
Writing a novel that take place in two different time frames is not an easy task. Usually one story outshines the other, but that is where White shows her merits as an author. Both the present day story and the one from the forties are fascinating. Plus they are both believable.
If you crave a tale that will have you burning the midnight oil in order to get to the next chapter, then make ON FOLLY BEACH one of your must reads this summer. Between the romance, the mystery and the breathtaking descriptions of the South Carolina landscape this is a book that will hold you enthralled from beginning to end.
Karen White is a true spokesperson for the South who speaks in a voice that reaches across all boundaries. It may inspire you to visit Folly Beach, South Carolina as you sit in your home in Seattle, Washington; but the enjoyment you get from the reading is something you can find anywhere.
ON FOLLY BEACH is published by New American Library. It contains 461 pages ad sells for $15.00.
Jackie K. Cooper