Title: On Ocean Boulevard
Author: Mary Alice Monroe
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.
Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth.
As a former environmental biology major with a love of the ocean, I loved the conservation and environmental aspects of this. And I really wanted to pack up and go live on a barrier island. I cannot imagine how wonderful it would be to wake up to the ocean at sunrise every morning.
I enjoyed Cara’s story the most, but Linnea’s struggles were totally relatable. I couldn’t quite relate to the wealth and privilege of some of the characters, but family expectations? Absolutely. This was a quick, uncomplicated read—and yes, it would be a perfect beach read!
Mary Alice Monroe is a bestselling author and a conservationist. On Ocean Boulevard is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.)