Jennifer’s Sasee Book Club (June 2008)

By Jennifer Borchers

The setting of a novel is just as important as the characters or the plot. In the novels I’m recommending this month, exquisite locations intensify the drama. Caretta Rutledge and Catherine Earnshaw discover that their emotions are tied to the rhythms of the landscapes that surround them.

The Beach House
The Beach House
by Mary Alice Monroe

The Beach House, by Mary Alice Monroe is set on the moon-lit beaches of South Carolina. Caretta Rutledge is a busy career woman who returns to her childhood home to take care of her mother. Caretta falls in sync with the rhythms of the island, while she falls in love with a handsome Lowcountry tour guide. Mary Alice Monroe’s melodic descriptions of South Carolina create a dramatic backdrop to this strikingly romantic story. The sequel, Swimming Lessons, is also beautiful and inspiring. You’ll want to read both!

Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, is set on a bleak and stormy English countryside. Catherine and Heathcliff love the desolate moors that surround their homes, and their relationship becomes as wild and unpredictable as the weather on that windswept wasteland. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love for each other is tangled with feelings of revenge, obsession, greed, and power. Wuthering Heights is more than a love story about Catherine and Heathcliff. It is a multi-layered novel involving two romances, two time-periods, and multiple characters with similar names. This is a challenging novel that reveals something new to the reader each time it is revisited.

Book clubs can focus on nature when discussing these novels. The landscapes, wildlife, and weather are important elements in each of these stories. Think about these questions: What role does nature play? How does a character’s relationship with nature affect the outcome? How does land factor into status and power? Would the land in these stories mean the same to you as it does to these characters?

Novels sweep readers away to exquisite locations, stimulating their senses with vivid descriptions of landscapes and cultures. Awaken your senses to the rhythms of undiscovered lands as you read great novels with Sasee.

About this writer

  • Jennifer Borchers Jennifer Borchers is a frequent visitor to Myrtle Beach. As an Upstate resident, she looks forward to spending her vacation time at the shore and among her favorite haunts along the Grand Strand. Jennifer is a senior at Converse College and will receive a BA in English in 2008. She lives in Greer with her husband and two children.

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