On Folly Beach by Karen White

When Emmy Hamilton loses her husband to the war in Afghanistan, her mother is determined to persuade Emmy to move to Folly Beach, South Carolina, and to buy the local bookstore. Emmy’s mother hopes that her daughter will be able to leave the past behind her and find some distraction in Folly Beach.

Emmy, however, doesn’t really want to leave at first, since she still grieves over her husband’s death and she doesn’t feel ready for a change. She is living in the past and is tormented by memories and shattered dreams. But when the young woman finds love letters and an image of a bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly’s bookstore, she is eager to find out more about the mysterious writers. Emmy is curious about the hidden messages and thus, she decides to move to Folly Beach and to buy the store. There, she meets Lulu, the late owner’s sister who is very difficult and grumpy. Lulu sells her bottle trees from the store’s backyard and Emmy has to deal with her quite often. Although she tries to ignore the old woman, Emmy can’t help but feel sorry for Lulu, as she senses that the old woman must have had a difficult and tragic past. Furthermore, Emmy feels that Lulu must somehow be connected to the mysterious love letters, but she doesn’t really know how and plans to find out. As the young woman digs deeper into Folly Beach’s past, she uncovers many family secrets, a mysterious disappearance during WWII and a touching love story that has affected Lulu’s family in many ways.

While Emmy learns about all these secrets, she finally begins to understand Lulu. Moreover, she has found a way to cope with her grief and slowly, Emmy realizes that she must leave the past behind and concentrate on the present. With the help of her new friends in Folly Beach, Emmy has learned that she must start living again because life is too short and one never knows when it might come to an end!

Alternating between WWII and the present, On Folly Beach tells the story of Emmy and Lulu, two women who couldn’t be more different and who don’t seem to have anything in common.   However, in the end, they discover that they were brought together by circumstances beyond their control and that they can learn a lot from each other, especially when it comes to second chances and broken hearts.

When I asked for some reading recommendations a few weeks ago, some of you mentioned this book and I am so glad that you did, because it was perfect for me! Thank you so much for telling me about it. You have no idea how much I loved this novel! For the last two days, I have been taking On Folly Beach everywhere with me and I read it whenever I had the chance to do so. I was devouring this book as I devour chocolate and I was craving more and more with every page I read. I couldn’t put it down, since I was eager to find out how it would end, but at the same time, I was sad because I knew that I would have to part with all the characters that have become so dear to me.

On Folly Beach had all the right ingredients for me – romance, suspense, literary references and engaging characters. Furthermore, the author’s writing was just beautiful and full of emotions. I loved her wonderful descriptions of Folly Beach and the unforgettable atmosphere that Karen White has created in this novel. But what I loved most about this book was the fact that it revolved around a bookstore; I loved reading about Folly Beach’s book shop and I really enjoyed reading about the secret coded messages in books. It was really intriguing to find out about these love letters and to discover how the love story would end. What I also loved was the fact that there were two stories intertwined in this book; while I liked Emmy’s story, I found Lulu’s tale more fascinating and it was her tragic and eventful past that moved me and left me feeling sad. That’s why this book was so great – it made me think about these tales after I finished reading it and it lingered in my mind for a long time. And that says a lot about this novel!

I hope you will get the chance to read this amazing book in the future and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! I highly recommend it to everyone out there who likes to read books that deal with the past and to those who are interested in WWII.

I would like to thank Penguin Group for sending me this wonderful novel!

Other reviews:

Melody’s Reading Corner

You’ve Gotta Read This

Bermudaonion’s Blog

Peeking Between the Pages




8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hannah
    May 27, 2010 @ 14:58:16

    Thank you Andreea for the review–I think this is the perfect book to give to my grandma for her upcoming birthday! She’s turning 91 and is increasingly frail, but reading is one of the activities that keeps her going. It’s so inspiring to see her!



  2. Sandy
    May 27, 2010 @ 21:38:37

    This was such a pleasurable read, wasn’t it? It is something you can just wrap yourself up in. For me, I don’t think there was one more thing White could have added to make it better. Glad you liked it!


  3. Lua
    May 28, 2010 @ 06:05:08

    I’m glad you enjoyed it Andreea! I love giving & taking recommendations from my blogger friends as well 🙂
    There is no need to mention, this one goes straight on the list. And I love the names of the characters; Emmy & Lulu


  4. vivienne
    May 28, 2010 @ 13:22:28

    I have heard such good things about this book lately. I am glad you liked it too.


  5. Darlene
    May 28, 2010 @ 15:12:33

    Great review Andreea! This book was fantastic wasn’t it! This one is one of my favorites of hers. She’s such a good writer and can certainly spin a really good tale. I have a few of her older ones yet to read and I’m always anxious for her new ones.


  6. boardinginmyforties
    May 28, 2010 @ 18:21:28

    I love the idea of the two interwoven stories and look forward to reading this one.


  7. Alice Teh
    May 29, 2010 @ 05:54:47

    Another great review for this book. I hope to read this one day.


  8. Melody
    May 31, 2010 @ 01:13:06

    I loved this book! I’m glad you enjoyed it as well! 😀


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