Nicole Says…Read These Books

By Nicole McManus

Beach House Reunion (#5 in the Beach House Series) by Mary Alice Monroe

Cara Rutledge returns to her beach house in the Isle of Palms. Haunted by heartache and memories, she is determined to forge a positive path for the future. Linnea is plagued by family traditions and expectations, when she decides to escape it all and join her aunt for the summer. Together these women reconnect with the other Turtle Ladies and discover the healing vibes of ocean life. Will they be able to let go of the past and find true happiness? Or does the past automatically dictate the future?

Mary Alice Monroe returns with another fantastic addition to Cara Rutledge’s story. Excellently blending the healing vibes of nature and the vital need to carve your own path, this story is a beautiful reminder for everyone to pause and smell the salt air. Although readers will appreciate this novel on its own, it will be even more enjoyable for those who have “grown-up” with Cara over the years. Readers are definitely going to want to pack this book in their beach bag with the sunscreen.

I have always loved the incredible way that Mary Alice Monroe brings the Lowcountry setting to life. The way she writes about nature, it almost becomes a character throughout the storyline, influencing decisions and outcomes. Her books are a great reminder that nature can heal our souls, but we also need to work together to help protect wildlife and their habitats.

If you are a fan of Mary Alice Monroe’s work, you will want to join our August Facebook Book Club. We will be discussing Beach House Reunion with Mary Alice Monroe on August 27th. We will also be learning what books are on her reading list for this summer.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife by Maryann McFadden

Rachel is a newly-wed and finds herself now living at a famous, historic cemetery. Within her first few days at her new home, she discovers a monument for a young woman named Tillie. When she tries to learn more about her, the town turns her away. The past is the past, and it shouldn’t be messed with. However, Rachel is determined to learn more. Will the truth set her free or will it cost her everything?

Part mystery, part true story, this book blends together historical events with a modern twist. The two storylines mirror each other as each woman unveils a new chapter in their lives. All it took was a walk for Rachel to be intrigued, to wonder, to investigate. The transition between Rachel’s story and Tillie’s story is effortless. Readers will be anxiously turning the page to continue learning about both women’s lives. The subject matter of rape and murder can be difficult to read for some, but McFadden makes a point that the most difficult subject matters are the ones that need to be discussed out loud.

I had heard of Maryann McFadden’s The Richest Season, but this is the first book that I have read by her. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and look forward to reading her other work in the future. My goal this month was to share with Sasee readers a book that had been recommended by Mary Alice Monroe. In doing the research, I saw numerous names that I had expected: Pat Conroy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Mary Kay Andrews, Carla Damron, etc. Several are incredible beach reads that are perfect for a summer’s day. When I picked up the copy of McFadden’s book, I noticed a recommendation quote by Monroe, which intrigued me, considering this book is historical fiction. This story did not disappoint!

About this writer

  • Nicole McManus

    Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at

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