The Beach Trees

Karen White, Author
Karen White. NAL Accent, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-451-23307-3
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-1-59316-587-1
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White (On Folly Beach) spins a convoluted story of unexplained disappearances and family secrets stretching from New Orleans to Biloxi, Miss. Five years after Katrina, New Yorker Julie Holt arrives in New Orleans with a mission: she's got a deed to a Biloxi beach house and surprise custody of Beau, her late friend Monica's five-year-old son, and she intends to introduce Beau to the extended family he's never met. Soon, with the help of Monica's grandmother, Aimee, and brother, Trey, Julie begins to piece together exactly why Monica left her home and family, and that Monica's family's secrets run deep and murky—they involve a murder, a famous painter, and a disappearance—which Julie can relate to, as her own sister was kidnapped when she was a child. Told in alternating chapters—Julie in the present, Aimee in the 1950s—as both women search for answers to their respective mysteries, the novel is slow moving and more confusingly teased out than the plot warrants, with White's descriptions of the gulf coast—and New Orleans in particular—offering more reason to keep reading than the less than expert treatment of the families' tormented pasts. (May)
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