A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe- Feature and Review


The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests returns at long last to her beloved Beach House series in this breathtaking novel about one family’s summer of forging new beginnings against the enduring beauty and resilience of the natural world.

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.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth.



On Ocean BoulevardOn Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe is a 2020 Gallery Books publication.

A comforting return to Sullivan’s Island

Linnea Rutledge returns home to South Carolina's Sullivan’s Island after having left home full of verve and ambition, and high on love. With her relationship in tatters and her career plans squashed, Linnea feels like a failure and must face down her humiliation. However, Linnea quickly adjusts to familiar surroundings and feels certain she is where she is supposed to be. However, she still needs to find her true calling while she sorts out her personal life.

Meanwhile, Cara is preparing for her big wedding with little enthusiasm. Going through the motions to make her fiancé happy, she tries to squelch her growing resentments. But Cara soon learns that life is too short to sweat the small stuff when life throws her a terrifying curve ball.

However, the Rutledge family is strong, and has survived setbacks and tragedies before, so they buckle down, determined to survive whatever adversity crosses their paths together.

Mary Alice Monroe is a perennial summertime favorite for me. With only one exception, this series has been one my favorites. Touching base with the Rutledge family is always a treat and I so enjoy watching these characters blossom and evolve as cope with life’s ups and downs, always rising to the challenges they face no matter how difficult they may be.

This latest installment is centered around Cara in a big way, which I was relieved to see. However, I was also happy to see Linnea return and get a nice story of her own, which could lead to her own place at center stage in the future.

If I had to voice a complaint, it was be that the romantic elements were too rushed, which prevented any real chemistry from developing. But, there is one really special, magical revelation that was a nice touch.

The gentle message is very timely, though the circumstances are different. I would imagine many of us are learning the same lessons Cara did after a close call. Value every day, every minute, and hold close the ones you love.





Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of 23 novels, including On Ocean Boulevard, which is the sixth installment of the Beach House series.

More than 7.5 million copies of her books have been published worldwide, and she’s earned numerous accolades and awards, including: Induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame; the Southwest Florida Author of Distinction Award; South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence; RT Lifetime Achievement Award; the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the prestigious Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.

Monroe is captivated by the beauty and fragility of the wild habitat around her. In particular, the coastal southern landscape became a strong and important focus of many of her novels. Monroe immerses herself in both academic research and hands-on/volunteering to learn about a species or conservation issue. Then, she uses the knowledge and experiences working with animals and the wildlife experts to craft captivating stories that identify important parallels between nature and human nature. Bottlenose dolphins, monarch butterflies, shorebirds, and loggerhead sea turtles are among the wild species she has worked with and woven into her novels.

Monroe is an active conservationist and serves on the South Carolina Aquarium Board Emeritis, The Leatherback Trust, The Pat Conroy Literary Center Honorary Board, Friends of Coastal Carolina and Casting Carolinas Advisory Board. She is especially proud to be a twenty year plus state-certified volunteer with the Island Turtle Team, the group that first sparked her love for loggerhead sea turtles, and is the inspiration of her Beach House series.

Monroe has also published two children’s books, which complement the environmental themes she’s known for in her novels. Monroe’s first Middle Grade book, The Island, will be a 2021 release.


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