Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Folly Beach, South Carolina, has survived despite hurricanes and war. But it's the personal battles of Folly Beach's residents that have left the most scars, and why a young widow has been beckoned there to heal her own...
To most people, Folly Beach is simply the last barrier island before reaching the great Atlantic. To some, it's a sanctuary for lost souls, which is why Emmy Hamilton's mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly's Finds, hoping it will distract Emmy from the loss of her husband.
Emmy is at first resistant. So much has already changed. But after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly's Finds, she decides to take the plunge. But the seller insists on one condition: Emmy must allow Lulu, the late owner's difficult sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard.
For the most part Emmy ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers about the letters, the more she understands Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during WWII are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance...
There are not many novels that I pick up knowing that I will love it. On Folly Beach was one of the few. I loved everything about this book from the first sentence. I felt bad when I had to put it down and altered my schedule so I could read more.
Usually when I love I book, I love most or all of the characters as well. Not so with this one. I couldn’t stand a good portion of the characters. Cat was one of the most selfish people I have ever encountered in literature or life. She simply could not stand to have a man not want her. I couldn’t muster any sort of sympathy for her at all and I couldn’t wait for something terrible to happen to her. I didn’t dislike Maggie but the woman frustrated me to no end. I kept waiting for her to tell Cat to take a hike but she never did. I felt horrible for her but I couldn’t help but recognize that it was her own fault.
Now don’t think that I hated all of the characters. I loved Emmy. She was one of the most engaging and interesting characters that I have encountered in a long time. She was bookworm and a librarian. She had this compulsion towards organization that I can identify with as a bibliophile and a librarian. Sometimes when I see shelves in disarray (other than my own), I get itchy. I also loved Heath. He was my favorite character in the book. I wanted him and Emmy to end up together (like I think most of us would).
Usually when novels take place in two different time periods, I find that the story becomes a bit disjointed and I always pick one time period that I read more closely. On Folly Beach was one of the few exceptions. Karen White weaved so many unifying threads through both Maggie and Emmy’s stories that neither story could be read without thinking of the other. Maggie was always present in Emmy’s story and you could hardly read about Maggie without thinking of Emmy.
I loved this book. I didn’t want it to end and felt a loss when it did. I highly recommend.