On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe is the latest (6th) entry in her Beach House series. But - you can read it (and the others) as stand alones.
On Ocean Boulevard is set on the beautiful shores of South Carolina.
Through good fortune and bad, three generations of the Rutledge family end up back on Sullivan’s Island at the same time. Cara has weathered much in her life, but she's at a joyful point - remarriage to a man she dearly loves and the joy of being a parent to young Hope. Linnea returns home when both her relationship and job end. But fate steps in for Linnea and both love and life are looking up. And Linnea's parents are hoping to turn their fortunes around by building and selling a one of a kind oceanfront home.
But....and you know there's a but. More than one really. Not one of the women's plans goes smoothly. Friendships, relationships, family, hopes and dreams are all put to test this summer.
I liked the main characters very much. I think readers of all ages will find a character they relate to. Out of the main threads, I enjoyed Cara's story the most. I had a harder time with Linnea's plot line. I found her to be a bit wishy washy. And I wasn't as enamoured of the two visitors from England who are part of her story. Without revealing too much, I'll say that I thought Gordon is a bit of a pompous donkey and I never really found him appealing. Pandora is trouble. (Really the name was overkill) I didn't buy her as someone I would want to befriend. And her 'mates before dates' rule was so high schoolish.
Munroe starts every chapter off with facts about loggerhead turtles. I learned quite a bit. Eco politics plays a large part in this book as well.
On Ocean Boulevard is a slower paced novel, with detailed description of settings, dress, food, etc. While it painted clear images, I sometimes wanted things to move faster.
Cassandra Campbell was the reader for this book. She is one of my favorite presenters. She has such a versatile voice and always gives an excellent performance. She slowed her reading speed to match the slower pace of life, speech and settings of the book. Her South Carolinian accent was honey smooth. She did provide an English accent that was believable for the two visitors. She captured the emotion and feelings of the players very well. Her voice is pleasant, easy to listen too and clear to understand. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of On Ocean Boulevard.
I liked On Ocean Boulevard, but enjoyed last year's The Summer Guests a bit more.