On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe

I love books that are set in beach communities because they make me feel as though I am there, hearing the ocean and feeling the sun. On Ocean Boulevard is set in Charleston North Carolina, and though I’ve never visited, I’m attracted to the Southern charm described in books. This is the sixth book in the Beach House series, but it can certainly be read as a standalone.

The story centres around two female protagonists, Cara Rutledge, and her niece Linnea. Linnea returns to Charleston after a two year absence with a new appreciation of her home town. She has recently lost her job when the start up she was working for in San Francisco runs out of funds and she has ended a long term relationship with her boyfriend. Hoping to find work in her chosen field in Charleston she moves back in with her parents who have had some economic problems of their own. With so much change in her life, the last thing Linnea expects is to find herself in a relationship so quickly. Will this new man complicate her life?

Cara is engaged and has everything that she’d hoped for - and more. She has a sweet 4 year old daughter, and a man that she adores. But she’s not in any hurry to marry David - she’s much too happy with her career and her daughter to want to plan a wedding. What will it take for her to walk down the aisle?

One of the things I love about these books is the fact that the author aims to educate the reader about the importance of sea turtles preservation, as well as the need to eliminate plastics from our waters. She weaves this into the story such that it’s not a lecture, but instead intricate to the very being of the characters.

I appreciated the relationship between Cara and Linnea and feel the bond is mutual and respectful. The characters are well developed and relatable. The discussion of other important issues such as dementia care, alcoholism and immunization were well written. The book easily flows and kept my interest throughout.

I enjoyed the audiobook edition of the book, and the narration provided by Cassandra Campbell. Her performance illuminated the southern accent of the region and the British accent of Penelope.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5

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