Continuing the saga of her bestselling novel The Beach House, Mary Alice Monroe skillfully weaves together issues of class, infidelity, and domestic abuse set in the tumultuous South in 1974. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an unforgettable tale of marriage, resilience, and one woman’s private strength and commitment.
Autumn brings haunting beauty to the sun-soaked dunes on Isle of Palms, where Olivia “Lovie” Rutledge lives in her beloved Primrose Cottage. As the seasons change, Lovie remembers one special summer…
In 1974, America is changing, but Charleston remains eternally the same. When Lovie married aristocratic, well-connected businessman Stratton Rutledge, she turned over her fortune and fate to his control. But she refused to relinquish one thing: her family’s old seaside cottage. Precious summers with her children on the barrier island are Lovie’s refuge from social expectations and her overbearing husband’s philandering. Here, she is the “Turtle Lady,” tending the loggerhead turtles that lay their eggs in the warm night sand and then slip back into the sea.
Then, in the summer of ’74, biologist Russell Bennett visits to research the loggerheads. Their shared interest brings them together, and soon it blooms into a passionate, profound love—forcing Lovie to face an agonizing decision. Stratton’s influence is far-reaching, and if she dares to dream beyond a summer affair, she risks losing her reputation, her wealth, even her children.
This emotional tale of a strong woman torn between duty and desire, between tradition and change, is an empowering journey through the seasons of self-discovery. Until this autumn, this time of winds and tides, of holding on and letting go.
“Magical! Mary Alice Monroe’s writing is always sensitive and true, as inspiring as the natural wonder about which she writes. This luminous tale-set in the South Carolina Lowcountry that we both love so deeply-was hard to put down. Fans of The Beach House will at last discover what happened during the summer of 1974. But readers new to Mary Alice Monroe need not worry, for this emotional story of love and loss stands alone.”
—Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author
“Monroe’s usual resplendent storytelling shines even brighter in Beach House Memories, which offers startling insights into the intimate connection between nature and the human heart.”
—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author
“Monroe knows how to weave a tale and this is one of her very best. She creates vibrant characters [who] live and love in the paradise-like world of the South Carolina low country. It is a magical place in many ways, especially in the words with which Monroe describes it. Every summer deserves one book that is THE summer book, and for beach reading you couldn’t make a better selection than this one. Mary Alice Monroe knows how to pull readers into this world instantly and keep them there till the very last word on the very last page.”
—The Huffington Post
“Mary Alice Monroe takes us back to the mid 1970’s when sea turtle conservation was in its infancy. The efforts by “turtle lady” Lovie Rutledge to document the number of loggerhead nests each season on the Isle of Palms was largely unappreciated or even ridiculed by locals. Then a kindred spirit comes into her life and fills her with self-worth, resolve and bittersweet beach house memories. BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES is another in a remarkable trilogy that has increased sea turtle volunteerism and conservation efforts. I highly recommend it.”
—Sally R. Murphy, SC DNR Sea Turtle Coordinator
“Monroe’s personal experience as a board member of the Leatherback Trust and involvement with the Isle of Palms/Sullivan Island Turtle Team brings authenticity and a sense of wonder to the plight of the endangered sea turtles and their miraculous capacity for survival.”
BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES