Book Review of Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe
Expected Publication Date: June 20, 2017, by Gallery Books
4 Stars


I have to admit that I always look forward to Mary Alice Monroe’s South Carolina Low Country summer novels since I’ve been vacationing in the South Carolina Low Country every summer for over 3 decades. There’s something warm and comforting reading about Islands and places that you love and feel like are your second home, especially when Monroe has such a wonderful way of describing the glorious ocean breeze, warm ocean waves, the salty air, hot summer days, flying brown pelicans, and the preservation of loggerhead sea turtles that are so important to the Low Country’s ecosystem. Beach House for Rent is another delightful summer, beach read!

This book is number 4 in Monroe’s “Beach House” series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel since the storyline is very easy to follow without reading the previous books. Some of the characters from the other books make an appearance, but one of the main characters is Cara Rutledge, daughter of Lovie from the 1st and 3rd books in the series.

In this novel, Cara has inherited Lovie’s beloved beach house, Primrose Cottage, on the Isle of Palm. Every year, Cara and her husband Brett rent Primrose Cottage out for the summer even though this year Brett wants to sell the house since they really need the money because they’ve invested money in a bigger fishing boat for his boat tourist business. Yet, Cara is emotionally attached to the house and the childhood memories of summers spent at Primrose Cottage with her mother, so she refuses to part with, what is to her, her only tie to her mother.

Thankfully, Cara’s brother Palmer finds them a renter for the entire summer, Heather, who is the other main character in the story. Heather is a beautiful and accomplished young woman who has suffered much loss and pain through the death of her mother at a young age. As a result, she suffers from severe anxiety, panic attacks, and is extremely shy. Heather is an artist and will be painting and be studying the local shorebirds while staying at the cottage, which she immediately falls in love.

Heather seems like the perfect solution to Cara and Brett’s financial troubles until tragedy hits the couple, and Cara is forced to move back to the beach house to heal in the place where she feels closest to Lovie, her mother. Cara obviously can’t make her renter move out, so the two women come to an arrangement to live together for the summer. The relationship that develops between these two very different women is very touching and beautifully written.

Even though this book is a summer read, it touches on some very deep issues that will stir your heart, and Monroe is not afraid to tackle some difficult topics like mental illness, which I thought she did wonderfully, or the pain and agony of dealing with grief and loss. Beach House for Rent is a story about love, grief, friendship, personal growth, learning to cope with the past and the future, and resilience. What a beautiful story!

I want to thank NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Mary Alice Monroe for providing me with an ARC of Beach House for Rent to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.

It may be purchased here on