Summary (from the publisher):
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the
beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
On Ocean Boulevard immediately made my way on to my TBR for its summer contemporary-sounding synopsis. I often see Mary Alice Monroe pop up on a lot of women’s fiction summer reading lists, so I knew it was time to give this author a try. Upon reading it, I didn’t realize that On Ocean Boulevard is a sequel to Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series. However, this did not prevent me from absolutely enjoying this book!
Mary Alice Monroe effortlessly brings her readers back to Sullivan’s Island and Charleston, South Carolina. As someone who hasn’t read her books before, I felt that she thoroughly explained the characters’ background and past, making me feel like I didn’t have to read the previous Beach House novels in order to understand and enjoy this one. Readers re–enter the island with Cara’s niece, Linnea, who has returned after losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cara is trying to prepare for her second wedding while balancing her work life with raising her young daughter…and also questioning if she wants a big wedding in the first place.
On Ocean Boulevard’s story is one that you can’t help but fall into. Charleston was already on my travel bucket list, but On Ocean Boulevard especially makes me want to get down to the South Carolina coast in the summer. I loved having both Linnea and Cara’s third-person perspectives. I personally related to Linnea’s story a bit more, having to re-discover her next steps and career options being back home. I loved seeing her find her path and form relationships while also serving on the turtle team. I’m sure Beach House series readers are familiar with this, but the book features a lot about sea turtle and environmental conservation efforts. Each chapter begins with a fact about sea turtles and hatching in South Carolina and how pollution has affected turtles’ way of life. Cara, Linnea, and the other characters are very passionate about the turtles, and their careers often revolve around environmental science and conservation efforts.
Although I did enjoy Linnea’s perspective more, I still enjoyed Cara’s storyline. Cara seems to have a lot of loss in her past. her storyline involves preparing for a second stage of life, with a second wedding on the way. She also serves as a mentor for Linnea. Around the 100 page mark or so, I found myself fully invested in both of their journeys and ate up the remaining 250 and pages within two sittings. You really grow to care about these characters and wish you were walking along the beach with them, thanks to Mary Alice Monroe’s descriptive and honestly perfect setting. On Ocean Boulevard makes for such a light-hearted beach or poolside read for the summer.
If you’re in need of a book to get you into the summertime spirit, I highly recommend checking out On Ocean Boulevard and the Beach House series!
On Ocean Boulevard comes out on May 19, 2020.
I was provided with a finished copy by the publisher for this review. By no means did this affect my thoughts and opinions
Have you read any books by Mary Alice Monroe or any of the Beach House books? Is On Ocean Boulevard on your TBR? What are some of your favorite summer contemporary books? Share in the comments!