Beach Reads by Cindy Bilbao

beach books

beach mystery book

On Folly Beach

By Karen White

This book is the emotional and suspenseful story of two women, one from 1942 and one from 2009 whose lives are fascinatingly intertwined on a barrier island of South Carolina called Folly Beach. Beautifully written with such lush descriptions of the marsh and beach, you will be able to smell the salt air even from inside your own home.

In the beginning we learn about Emmy Hamilton’s journey to Folly Beach, precipitated by the loss of her husband in Afghanistan and her inability to handle her grief. There she discovers mysterious, hand-written messages that seem to be between two WWII era lovers, hidden in the margins of old books, compelling her to discover who they were. The only person who can help her solve the mystery behind the messages is the quiet, secretive Lulu—the one person who does not want the truth to be discovered. As Emmy tries to piece together the puzzle in one chapter, we are able to turn to the next chapter where we are brought to Folly Beach in 1942 to learn what is actually going on. The way the chapters are written in alternating time periods effectively adds to the mystery, suspense and drama. It’s a real page turner! Those who consider their knowledge of history pretty sound might be in for a treat when they learn of the events this story is built upon, which aren’t widely known by the public and that actually took place in this seaside town. Hint: spy rings, German saboteurs, murder and sunken U-boats right off the coast.

In the end the connection between Emmy and Lulu is very poignant as they both learn there is hope for second chances in life.

Interesting note: There is use of a “bottle tree” almost as though it was a character in the book. Used as symbolism like this, it plays an important role in the story. I really enjoyed the imagery of the metal trunk full of branches holding bottles in a rainbow of colors that glow in the sunlight and howl with sound as the wind blows around it. It makes me want one in my own backyard!

Manhattan Beach book

Manhattan Beach

By Jennifer Egan

A beautifully written historical novel that depicts life in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and WWII as Anna Kerrigan secures a job as a diver at the Navy Shipyard and overcomes challenges as she struggles to survive in a man’s world.

travel memoir

The Paris Effect

By K.S.R. Burns

Chick lit meets travel memoir, this women’s fiction book is a delicious read. A voyage of self-discovery as grieving Amy makes a rash decision to head to Paris leaving her husband behind. A page-turner as you wonder how it will all end!

love story novel

And Then You Loved Me

By Inglath Cooper

A thought-provoking read about love and family and choices that you make in life. Powerfully written with a depth that will provoke many emotions, this book is difficult to put down.

This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine January 2018 issue.

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