Title: On Folly Beach
Author: Karen White
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
After her husband’s death, Emmy is bereft and floats through her days, barely conscious of everyday life. On an impulse (and with some encouragement from her mother), she decides to buy a bookstore in Folly Beach, South Carolina in order to start living again. When Emmy arrives, she resists letting go of her husband, but soon becomes swept up by some messages she finds in the old store owner’s books. Intrigued, Emmy begins unraveling a mystery that has been kept secret for over sixty years.
I’m a huge fan of Karen White’s Books – reviews of The House on Tradd Street, The Girl on Legare Street, The Lost Hours, The Memory of Water, and Learning to Breathe – so when I found out she was coming out with a new book, it was a given that I’d immediately want to read and review it. On Folly Beach was a book that was so riveting, I read it in one sitting.
On Folly Beach doesn’t really have the mysterious, almost gothic atmosphere that many of White’s other novels have. While this disappointed me at first, I was quickly drawn in by the setting of Folly Beach. I grew to love this beach community by the end of the book; the bookstore seemed charming. I think Emmy was living a lot of book lovers’ dreams – moving to the beach and running a bookstore!
The mystery within On Folly Beach was well-crafted and kept me guessing as I turned the book’s pages. White does a great job giving out information slowly, but not so much so that the reader becomes frustrated with the pace of the narrative. She deftly balances between forward movement of the story and drawing out the tension. While I did guess the outcome of the mystery, it was only within the last 50 pages of the book. It’s definitely a satisfying read.
Though the mystery is very interesting, it is not the only driving force within the novel. Character development is also key in this narrative. From Emmy to Maggie, White builds her characters well. She develops them with care and gives them voices of their own. As a result, even the despicable Catherine garners some sympathy from the reader. White makes her characters very three-dimensional and breathes life into them marvelously.
I really enjoyed Karen White’s On Folly Beach and am sad that it’s already over! Her novels are always very good and I already can’t wait for her next one.