Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Beach House Memories

Beach House Memories

4.3 56
by Mary Alice Monroe

See All Formats & Editions

In the bestselling tradition of Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help, Mary Alice Monroe skillfully weaves together issues of class, women’s rights, and domestic abuse set in the tumultuous South during the 1970s as she tells the story of Olivia, “Lovie” Rutledge, the mother from The Beach House. As Lovie sits on the porch of her charming beach


In the bestselling tradition of Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help, Mary Alice Monroe skillfully weaves together issues of class, women’s rights, and domestic abuse set in the tumultuous South during the 1970s as she tells the story of Olivia, “Lovie” Rutledge, the mother from The Beach House. As Lovie sits on the porch of her charming beach house and looks out over the ocean, the old woman reflects on the difficult choices she made in many years earlier — during the summer that changed her life.

In 1974, at thirty-nine years old, Lovie hosts a formal dinner party for her unappreciative husband in their lovely home in a neighborhood of privilege in Charleston. The following morning she takes her two children to a nearby barrier island where her family has a modest beach cottage. Behind closed doors, and exhausted from keeping up appearances—her husband’s infidelity and his withering, disdainful looks — she can only find solace and happiness at the beach. But when a handsome biologist arrives to research the status of nesting turtles — a project that is Lovie’s passion — she finds herself falling in love over the course of the summer, with devastating consequences.

Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an unforgettable tale of marriage, resilience, and one woman’s private strength.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this sequel to 2002's The Beach House, Southern writer Monroe revisits South Carolina Lowcountry with another domestic tale built around the protection of sea turtles. At the end of her life, Olivia "Lovie" Rutledge looks back on the woman she was in 1974, revisiting her troubled marriage and her beloved Isle of Palms summer home, where a fascination with loggerhead turtles becomes the catalyst for changing her life. While Monroe adeptly captures the lives of women raised in the conservative South before the impact of the woman's movement and the sexual revolution, sentimentality and predictability dilute this potentially powerful story of love and redemption. Lovie and her abusive husband, Stratton, both come from strong Southern families with names reaching back into American history, but Stratton's cruelty maroons Lovie in an unhappy marriage with two beloved young children. Enter handsome Russell Bennett, hired to evaluate the environmental impact of pending real estate developments on local sea turtle conservation efforts, and the proverbial sparks fly. Lovie soon blossoms into a respected turtle expert, as well as the strong, intelligent, sexual woman she was meant to be, and their ensuing affair is no surprise. 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. (May)
From the Publisher
“Magical! Mary Alice Monroe’s writing is always sensitive and true, as inspiring as the natural wonder about which she writes.”

—New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank

“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.”

—New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry

  • “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, DNR Sea Turtle Coordinator

  • The Huffington Post
    "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."

    Product Details

    Brilliance Audio
    Publication date:
    Mary Alice Monroe's Beach House Series , #2
    Edition description:
    Product dimensions:
    6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

    Meet the Author

    Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of Last Light over Carolina and Time Is a River as well as many other acclaimed novels. She received the 2008 Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel.

    Customer Reviews

    Average Review:

    Post to your social network


    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See all customer reviews

    Beach House Memories 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
    Trish97 More than 1 year ago
    First I have to say that Mary Alice NEVER disappoints when she writes a book, she is truly one of my favorite authors! She can draw you into a story like no other! So many of us have waited so long to hear more of the story that started with "The Beach House" and "Swimming Lessons" and "Beach House Memories" was so worth the wait!! It is set in 1974 and it tells Lovie's story of that fateful year when she fell in love with Russell Bennett! Mary Alice's descriptive prose and beautiful writing makes you feel like you are right there experiencing everything that Lovie experiences. She is truly a gifted writer!! Get yourself a copy of "Beach House Memories" and be prepared to be totally entertained and moved by this story!!
    Darlene28 More than 1 year ago
    About 10 years I bought a paperback “The Beach House “to take to the beach. I didn’t know the author but I liked the cover. As I read the first few pages I fell in love with the writing of Mary Alice Monroe and a few pages more I fell in love with the book. It grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. I’ve reread it many times and have had to replace that original copy because it was worn out and remains one of my very favorite books. What a thrill I had last year when I discovered Mary Alice was writing a prequel to The Beach House. Lucky me, I won a hardcover copy from First Reads! I was not disappointed. It took me right back to the beauty of Isle of Palms, the warmth of Primrose cottage, the strength of Lovie Rutledge “The Turtle Lady” and the wondrous story of the loggerhead turtles. I loved this book!!! This is really Lovie’s story as she is dying of cancer and in her last hours she thinks back to that memorable summer of 1974. I won’t tell you more of the story but I will tell you that this “Southern Fiction” will draw you in, maybe remind you of your childhood, a love you might have had or give you hope that things can be better or just something to dream about. You will not be disappointed.
    A-the-Heart More than 1 year ago
    From the very first page I was hooked. I love Mary Alice Monroe's ability to make you feel as though you are there and part of the story. Her descriptive writing allows you to see and feel exactly what the characters are experiencing. I could not put this book down. I read it in between all my daily tasks and I absolutely hated to see it end. I felt like I had to say goodbye to good friends not knowing if I would ever see them again. I hope she writes many more wonderful heart touching stories like this one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The Life I Lived Especially if you are a Southern woman, and/or interested in the Charleston area, I think you will enjoy this work by Mary Alice Monroe. She tells a story of one woman’s life, looking back through the years at how her life unfolded. The author certainly understands the culture of the South, and in particular, Charleston, at least at the time about which she wrote. I can’t speak for today. This book has to now be included in my list of favorite books, as well as Monroe one of my favorite authors. I am looking forward to reading more work by this author. I would recommend this book to more mature women, as those who are younger may not fully appreciate all its fullness.
    EnnaTrebmal More than 1 year ago
    If Mary Alice Monroe writes it, I read it!! This really got under my skin and into my heart. In 1972, I married and in 1991, we divorced. In between, I was that good Southern wife who believed in the act of putting on a good face in public because divorce was NOT an option in either family. I was never hit, but you can be affected in unseeable ways---ways that make that good public face easier to show. But, bruises are bruises---and I am sure we both bruised one another along the way. Luckily, we are now good friends again and our children came out the other side as successful adults. We will all carry the memories...and, hopefully, apply the lessons learned to void the mistakes made. This book showed me the other path I could have chosen if a special someone had shown up. Would I have??? Could I have??? I will never know, will I? Lovie's generous and gentle heart and spirit may have been bound up by tradition and appearances in 1974. But...that did not prevent her from rescuing other mothers...the mama sea turtles and thir precious progeny had the chance to live fully because of Lovie's efforts. Closed doors led to opened "sea" windows. I discussed the turtle lady books with my oldest child last summer. One day, I received a message from her on my phone which had no words, just a photo...of the lights out message for beach homes...to help the baby turtles head toward the ocean instead of "Ocean Drive"...our mama-daughter talk led to a wordless mama-daughter bonding as my child let me know she knew what mattered to me had taken on meaning for her as well.....all because of words in a book written by Mary Alice Monroe. Thank you, Mary Alice Monroe for giving this "dry land" mama the feeling that the wordless message from my daughter gave me. I lift my flipper in a salute to you...with love from a reader who has never seen a sea turtle.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is one of those books that will stay with me. You readers know what I'm talking about. I live near the beach and I only wish I could describe what that's like...the sunrises, the sunsets, the sea oates and yes, the sea turtles and nesting season...as eloquently as Mary Alice Monroe does. When I finished this book, I felt like I had lost a friend. I don' t want to let this family go.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Mary Alice Monroe has become one of my favorite authors.  I love the stories taking place in the Low Country.  This story has to be one of the best love stories I have read in quite some time.  Set in 1974, Olivia Rutledge reminisces  back to that wonderful, yet tragic summer.  This is a book not to miss.  Simply a wonderful and moving read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    KamsProse More than 1 year ago
    I truly enjoyed this lovely book. It was a bit predictable but still very much worth the time to read. My only complaint is that the (spoiler) 20 year break in communication between Lovie and her Daughter was never explained... that drives me a bit crazy. Otherwise, I can forgive the other flaws and really had a great time reading this book. Pick t up!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book and the series is my favorite of all time. And I read a lot of books! I grew up in the South and married during the same years as this story. Mary Alice captured these decades perfectly. Her writing has a way of making you feel like you know these characters and you are part of the family. I have read every single book Mary Alice has written and I would give every one 5 stars. Keep writing, Mary Alice! I can't wait for the next one. Another awesome read I am sure.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    LOVED this book and loved The whole series!!!
    Belle44 More than 1 year ago
    Mary Alice Monroe has done it again. In this book she has filled in the blanks from her earlier Beach House. She tells the story of Lovie's "summer of love" that she onlyreferenced in the earlier book. With vivid descriptions of time and place she not only gives us "the rest of the story" but tells about the beginnings of the development of Isles of Palms. It is a wonderful read!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago