Book Review: On Folly Beach – Karen White

Title: On Folly Beach
Author: Karen White
ISBN: 9780451229212
Pages: 416
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publicist
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

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.

Review:

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.

Comments

  1. Completely agree. My only issue is that I never got a good sense of Emmy…what she looked like, her age, anything. I didn’t know if that was just an oversight on my part or something deliberate on the part of the author.

  2. Completely agree. My only issue is that I never got a good sense of Emmy…what she looked like, her age, anything. I didn’t know if that was just an oversight on my part or something deliberate on the part of the author.

  3. sounds like a mellow but interesting read, may have to check it out.

  4. sounds like a mellow but interesting read, may have to check it out.

  5. I have this book on my TBR stack for review, and I have to admit that all the great reviews are making me very excited about it!! This will be my first book by this author, though I am also planning on reading some others. I am so glad that it was such a good read for you! Wonderful review, thanks for sharing it!!

  6. I have this book on my TBR stack for review, and I have to admit that all the great reviews are making me very excited about it!! This will be my first book by this author, though I am also planning on reading some others. I am so glad that it was such a good read for you! Wonderful review, thanks for sharing it!!

  7. Man, did I hate Cat! For a while, at least. She was just so… ick. Terrible.

    I really enjoyed this one, too, like White’s other novels! Definitely didn’t have the same “feel” as the others, but I loved the beach setting and breezy scenes by the water, even if they involved Emmy getting lost inside her mind again.

  8. Man, did I hate Cat! For a while, at least. She was just so… ick. Terrible.

    I really enjoyed this one, too, like White’s other novels! Definitely didn’t have the same “feel” as the others, but I loved the beach setting and breezy scenes by the water, even if they involved Emmy getting lost inside her mind again.

  9. I’m almost through with this book and I’m loving it so far. I went to a Book Your Lunch event for Karen White today and it was so much fun!

  10. I’m almost through with this book and I’m loving it so far. I went to a Book Your Lunch event for Karen White today and it was so much fun!

  11. I’ve had The House on Tradd Street on my TBR list since before it was even released, now I’m so far behind in reading Karen White’s books it’s ridiculous. I need to get my act together and start reading them.

    I know I’ll love them – Charleston is one of my favorite cities. My brother was stationed there for several years when he was in the Navy and my Mom lived there for a while after my Dad died. At that time she and my brother lived not far from Folly Beach. I’ve visited the area many times and I just love reading books set in and around Charleston because it’s so easy for me to visualize the settings.

    Thanks for the the nudge to get a Karen White book from the library and SOON!!

  12. I’ve had The House on Tradd Street on my TBR list since before it was even released, now I’m so far behind in reading Karen White’s books it’s ridiculous. I need to get my act together and start reading them.

    I know I’ll love them – Charleston is one of my favorite cities. My brother was stationed there for several years when he was in the Navy and my Mom lived there for a while after my Dad died. At that time she and my brother lived not far from Folly Beach. I’ve visited the area many times and I just love reading books set in and around Charleston because it’s so easy for me to visualize the settings.

    Thanks for the the nudge to get a Karen White book from the library and SOON!!

  13. I haven’t read anything by Karen White, but this book caught my eye on another blog. Good to see that you give it a positive review too.

  14. I haven’t read anything by Karen White, but this book caught my eye on another blog. Good to see that you give it a positive review too.

  15. I stop reading House on Tradd St. but for no other reason than I just got distracted. I’ll have to get back to it or try it on audio.

  16. I stop reading House on Tradd St. but for no other reason than I just got distracted. I’ll have to get back to it or try it on audio.

  17. Once again, White made me fall in love with the setting of her book.

  18. Once again, White made me fall in love with the setting of her book.

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