Beach Music by Pat Conroy



Beach Music

by Pat Conroy

published by Nan A. Talese



Pat Conroy is without doubt America’s favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives. Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.

Beach Music is about Jack McCall, an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife’s suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking–and ultimately liberating–truths. (from Goodreads)

My Review

I am a big fan of Pat Conroy.  I loved The Prince of Tides and South of Broad especially, so I was excited to read Beach Music, which was published a while ago.  It is a long book, but you never feel dragged down by it.  It is lyrical and fast moving, even when there wasn’t much action going on.  While there are a few too many dramatic flairs for one story, they never overpower the book.  I found myself wishing I could have know Jack McCall and all of his crazy family.  A very long spanning drama, it was a great read.

My Rating

4 out of 5

About the Author

Pat Conroy is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs and seven novels, including The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline. Born the eldest of seven children in a rigidly disciplined military household, he attended the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. He briefly became a schoolteacher (which he chronicled in his memoir The Water Is Wide) before publishing his first novel, The Boo. Conroy lives on Fripp Island, South Carolina

Top Ten Tuesday #1



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists!  Check out what others have posted by going over there!

This weeks topic is-


1.  Beach

I love reading books set at the beach- especially in the middle of winter- I can feel my toes sink into the sand!

Favs: almost anything by Elin Hilderbrand, Nancy Thayer


2. 1920’s/Jazz

the roaring 20’s, the Lost Generation, Jazz

Favs: all Fitzgerald, Loving Frank, The Paris Wife


3.  Wizards/Witches/Magic

Fav: of course all Harry Potters, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Chocolat

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4.  South Carolina

Charleston, the Low Country, anything set here, I will read

Favs:  Pat Conroy or Dorthea Benton Frank- very different authors, but both set in S.C9729507 6135237

5.  Mystical

Favs:  I recently read The Silence of Bonaventyre Arrow and loved it- and The House of the Spirits by Isabella Allende


6.  Dogs

I am a total sucker for books about dogs!

Favs: Marley and Me, One Good Dog

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7.  Myths/Fairytales

Favs:  I love books by Gregory Maguire who wrote Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and Song of Achilles

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8.  Chick Lit

My guilty pleasure 🙂

Favs:  Good in Bed, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

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9.  Historical

This and the next are really my absolute favorites!  I read almost anything in these two categories!

Favs:  Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird,  Memoirs of a Geisha, and almost anything by Isabelle Allende


10.   Books (of course)

There are so many of these!

Favs:  The Book Thief, The Shadow of the Wind, Little Women,  Reading Lolita in Tehran

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And Then I Found You


The April She Reads Book Club Selection


And Then I Found You

by Patti Callahan Henry

published by St. Martin Press


Summary: Kate Vaughan is no stranger to tough choices.

She’s made them before. Now it’s time to do it again.

Kate has a secret, something tucked away in her past. And she’s getting on with her life.  Her business is thriving. She has a strong relationship with her family, and a devoted boyfriend whom she wants to love with all her heart. If Kate had ever made a list, Rowan would fill the imagined boxes of a perfect mate. But she wants more than the perfect on paper relationship; she wants a real and imperfect love. That’s why, when Kate discovers the small velvet box hidden in Rowan’s drawer, she panics.

It always happens this way. Just when Kate thinks she can love, just when she believes she can conquer the fear, she’s filled with dread. And she wants more than anything to make this feeling go away. But how?

When the mistakes have been made and the running is over, it’s time to face the truth. Kate knows this. She understands that a woman can never undo what can never be undone. Yet, for the first time in her life she also knows that she won’t fully love until she confronts those from her past. It’s time to act. 

Can she do it? Can she travel to the place where it all began, to the one who shares her secret? Can the lost ever become found? 

And Then I Found You gives new life to the phrase “inspired by a true story.” By traveling back to a painful time in her own family’s history, the author explores the limits of courage, and the price of a selfless act. — St. Martin’s Press

My Review

For Kate, the first day of spring held more than blooming daffodils.  It was still a day of firsts.  Kate had a ritual, a sacred ritual.  She made sure that she did something she’d never done before, something that would count as new on the first day of spring.  Six years ago she’d opened her boutique.  The year before that she ran a marathon with her sister.  Of course there was that trip to California with Norah.  Then four years ago the midnight swim in the darkest water with Rowan, the first time he’d visited her in South Carolina.  It didn’t matter what she did or said or saw as long as it hadn’t been done, or said, or seen before.

I thought And Then I Found You was  very enjoyable read.  Katie and Jack are childhood friends and high school sweethearts.  After college, they grow apart when Jack goes to law school and then into practice in Alabama and Katie becomes a councilor for troubled girls in the southwest.  When Jack informs Katie he is getting married, she goes to see him one last time.  A few months later, she realizes she is pregnant-and Jack is already married.  Katie chooses to give the baby up for adoption, even though her family, especially her parents, urge her to keep the baby.  She believes this is the best solution, even though she knows it is the hardest fro her to live with.  Thirteen years later, Katie is living a good life, running a successful boutique and in a serious relationship with her boys friend Rowan.  Every year on the first day of spring, their baby’s birthday, she exchanges letters with Jack.  This year, she also finds an engagement ring in Rowans nigh stand.  She realizes she can not move forward with Rowan until she settles her past and she travels to Birmingham to see Jack.   This begins a whole new chapter, that will eventually reunite her with the daughter she gave up thirteen years earlier.

Henry explains in a letter to her readers that this book is loosely based on a true story that happened to her family.  Over twenty years ago, her middle sister placed her baby for adoption.  She states that this was the “most heartrending, courageous, and difficult decision she had ever made…”.  Over two years ago, Henry was received a friend request on Facebook from a young girl with the same birthday as the baby that was adopted.    Reading this book, one can feel the pain and conflict that goes into this amazingly difficult decision on each side of the equation.  Katie struggles with giving up her daughter, always wondering if it was the right decision, if her daughter is happy.  We also see how hard it is for the adoptive family to allow their daughter to reconnect with her birth parents.

While I enjoyed reading this book very much, there were a few issues I had. Jack seems very excited and happy to see Katie after thirteen years, but when she tries to see him after that, he continually pushes her away.  On the other hand, her boyfriend Rowan, who says he wants to be supportive of  Katie (and has a ring in his drawer), acts like he can’ stand to be near her much.  The two men need to realize how awesome Katie is.

I read this book as a part of the She Reads book club.-

Stop by there and read the reviews by other bloggers are saying about this novel.


Author Patti Callahan Henry

Moon Over Edisto



Moon Over Edisto

by Beth Webb Hart

published by Thomas Nelson


Edisto Island was where it all came apart. Can the Bennett girls ever be whole again?

Once, they were the happiest family under the sun, crabbing and fishing and painting on beautiful Edisto Island in South Carolina’s lowcountry.

Then everything went wrong, and twenty years later the Bennett family is still in pieces. Mary Ellen still struggles to understand why her picture-perfect marriage came apart. Daughter Meg keeps a death grip on her own family, controlling her relationships at a distance. And eldest daughter, Julia, left it all behind years ago, forging a whole new life as an artist and academic in Manhattan. She’s engaged to an art dealer and has no intentions of returning to Edisto. Ever.

Then an emergency forces Julia back to Edisto to care for her three young half-siblings. She grudgingly agrees to stay a week. But there’s something about Edisto that changes people. Can Julia and her fractured family somehow manage to come together again under that low-hanging Edisto moon?

“A rich, endearing, can’t-stop-reading book about what matters most, the power of love to transform the human heart.” –Dorothea Benton Frank, “New York Times “best-selling author, “Porch Lights”

(from Goodreads)

My Review

First, let me say I LOVE reading books about the South, especially South Carolina.   I have family that live right outside of Charleston, and I have been visiting there almost yearly for most of my life.  When I read a book set in Charleston, I get an extra thrill, because I know those streets, store, restaurants, etc.  I also know the outlying islands, including Edisto.  The author does a great job bringing the area to life.  The story, of betrayal and forgiveness, works very well in the southern setting.

Julia’s best friend Marney broke up her parents’ marriage in their senior year of college.  Almost twenty years later, Julia is enjoying s successful career in art and teaching, and has just gotten engaged.  Marney shows up at her door.  Now a widow and the mother to Julia’s three half siblings, she has lung cancer.  She needs surgery, and there is no one to care for the children during her recovery.  She asks Julia to return to Edisto to help her.

The story is told from the points of view of different characters- Julia, her mom MaryEllen, her sister Meg, Jed-doctor and neighbor, and Etta, her nine year old half sister.The characters develop quickly and I became immersed in each of their stories, especially MaryEllen.  She is still hurt by the collapse of her marriage and confused as to why both her daughters keep her at a distance.

I thought this was well written and moved quickly.

I received a copy of this book as part of a random give away through Goodreads.


Rating 3.5 out of 5

Sunrise at Edisto Beach SC

Sunrise at Edisto Beach SC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)