The first book I read by Karen White was The Memory of Water, and I really enjoyed it. I finished it while on my solo beach trip at the beginning of June, and I thought it a suitable beach read considering the setting was coastal South Carolina, so I decided I’d get another one of her books for my next beach trip.
On Folly Beach switches between two different time periods, the 1940s and present-day, both set on the island of Folly Beach, South Carolina. Emmy has recently become a widow when her husband is killed in the war in Afghanistan, and after some time of not quite “moving on”, her mother Paige suggests that Emmy move to Folly Beach, Paige’s hometown. Emmy takes her mother’s advice and buys a local bookstore, Folly’s Finds; the only catch to her purchase of the bookstore is that she must allow Lulu, an older woman, to continue to sell the bottle trees she creates from the backyard of the store. Although Emmy is at first weary of Lulu, she begins to discover pieces of the past involving Lulu’s deceased sister, and realizes that she may need Lulu’s help in putting the pieces together.
One of my favorite aspects of On Folly Beach was the fact that the story switched back and forth between the 1940s and Folly Beach during World War II, and the present day. I love reading stories set during World War II to begin with, and knowing that there was some mysterious event which happened during that time, kept me turning the pages to figure it out. The present-day aspect of the story was just as good, as Emmy worked to solve the mystery and found herself feeling more and more at home at Folly, and slowly moving on from her husband’s death.
From what I can tell, Karen White has quite a knack for writing intriguing stories involving families and their secrets. This was a beach read, and I spent every minute I could flipping through, never satisfied with one chapter at a time; each chapter left me hanging and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. If you’re looking for a book with well-written characters and interweaving story lines, this is it!