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May 12, 2020

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

The lowcountry was spread out far below as she soared in the sky. Linnea Rutledge sighed and placed her fingertips on the plane's cool window, her eyes tracing the twisting creeks and winding rivers that snaked through the seemingly impenetrable greenery of the salt march. From her vantage point, the rivers looked like great arteries, and all the myriad creeks were veins. Salt water coursed through them like a bloodstream. The tides were the lowcountry's pumping heart. (p. 1)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

May 2020; Gallery Books; 978-1982146948
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); southern fiction
It was wonderful to go back to Primrose Cottage on Isle of Palms near Charleston, SC, and catch up with what's going on in the Rutledge family.  As I read this book, I felt like I was spending time with old friends at the beach. This is a story about love - love of family and love for the world that we live in.

The Rutledge family was an old and respected family in the history of Charleston.  Cara is living on the Isle of Palms in her mother's old beach house.  She is learning how to be a mother to her adopted daughter and is in the process of planning her wedding to David whose main goal in life seems to do whatever he can to make Cara happy.  She is fretting over the wedding, over the time she doesn't get to spend with her daughter and over family issues.  Her niece Linnea has just returned from California after losing her job and ending her relationship.  She is unsure of what she wants to do next and how she fits into her family.  When a terrible illness affects Cara's daughter, it makes everyone re-evaluate their plans for the future and make changes to help them all become happier.   This is a season of return, rebirth, and growth for Cara and Linnea as they face the future.

On Ocean Boulevard is a beautiful story of love and family, new beginnings, and learning to live in the present instead of the past. As with all of Mary Alice's books, her love of the environment shines through her novel. In this book, it's the loggerhead turtle and every chapter starts with a fact about sea turtles. There is also a lot of information about how pollution - especially plastic - in the ocean hurts the turtles and other sea animals. So along with my mental trip to the beach, I was able to learn more about sea turtles! I highly recommend this book!

Buy On Ocean Boulevard at Amazon

NOTE:  This is book 6 in the Beach House series but each book can be read as a stand-alone with no confusion.  However, it's such a wonderful series that you really need to read all of the books.

The Beach House
Beach House Memories
Swimming Lessons
Beach House for Rent (read my review)
Beach House Reunion (read my review)
On Ocean Boulevard

Mary Alice Monroe and the Environment:  

Monroe is captivated by the beauty and fragility of the wild habitat around her. In particular, the coastal southern landscape became a strong and important focus of many of her novels. Monroe immerses herself in both academic research and hands-on/volunteering to learn about a species or conservation issue. Then, she uses the knowledge and experiences working with animals and wildlife experts to craft captivating stories that identify important parallels between nature and human nature. Bottlenose dolphins, monarch butterflies, shorebirds, and loggerhead sea turtles are among the wild species she has worked with and woven into her novels.

Monroe is an active conservationist and serves on the South Carolina Aquarium Board Emeritis, The Leatherback Trust, The Pat Conroy Literary Center Honorary Board, Friends of Coastal Carolina, and Casting Carolinas Advisory Board. She is especially proud to be a twenty-year plus state-certified volunteer with the Island Turtle Team, the group that first sparked her love for loggerhead sea turtles, and is the inspiration of her Beach House series.


"As the plane descended, bringing the landscape closer and closer, Linnea felt the saltwater thrumming in her own veins, as it did for all who called the lowcountry home.  Her connection to the landscape-and it's crown jewel, Charleston-was as vital as an umbilical cord."  (loc 79)

Beach reading season feels more important than ever. With social distancing rules still in place and many beaches still closed to the public. Many readers' annual beach trips are canceled or postponed this year.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. Definitely a good book for the summer reading list!

  2. I loved this book which I recently read. Great teasers! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. I love this series and have this one to read.