06 September 2009 ~ 0 Comments

(Book) Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe


I first found out about this author when I ordered the wrong book. I meant to order The Beach House by James Patterson and instead ordered The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. She pulled me into that beautiful book and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I also grew up near Charleston, so I’m familiar with the area and the traditions. She never ceases to make me remember something. This book was no different. From the talk of Hurricane Hugo (I was 14, it’s been nearly 20 years, but I remember almost every detail of those 2 weeks of insanity after it hit) to her uncanny ability to make a specific place a character, she always brings me back.

I now live in Austin and when I start to feel homesick, I know I can pick up her books and be there again. Her description of McClellanville, of the boats, of the smells, of the shrimp, of the people… they all draw you right back to the docks of the coast. The town and the boats – they all became vivid characters for me. I remember driving down to the docks and buying shrimp off the piers as a kid, I remember seeing the men unloading the haul. I remember seeing the boats trawling off of the coast while we were at the beach. My point? This woman has talent!

The book itself is amazing. I found myself laughing, crying, wishing, being angry and then crying all over again. The storyline is a beautiful homage to the lives of the family of shrimpers. It’s not an easy life and many don’t end well. Bud and Carolina, Josh and Lizzy are proof of that. They are characters, but I bet there are people just like them that could attest to how difficult of a life it can be.

The flashbacks were so well done, following Bud and Caroline’s journey – it was the perfect way to do it. The ending left me scared until I realized there was another chapter (oh, thank goodness, there’s that bow that I like my stories all tied up with!).

Thank you, Ms. Monroe… for bringing me back to the lowcountry. My momma always taught me to be polite, so really – a heartfelt thank you for your writing. It never ceases to make me feel at home again.


From beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe comes a new novel of the sultry South Carolina lowcountry, and the proud traditions and earthy resilience of the people who live there. Publishers Weekly embraced Time Is a River, Monroe’s “novel of strong Southern women,” saying “the author’s love for her characters is palpable throughout.” Now she returns with Last Light over Carolina, the deeply moving story of another strong woman, Carolina Morrison, struggling to prove that love is a light that never dies.

Every woman in the lowcountry knows the unspoken fear that clutches the heart every time her man sets out to sea. Now, that fear has become a terrible reality for Carolina Morrison. Her husband, shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, the only man she’s ever loved, is lost and alone somewhere in the vast Atlantic fi shing grounds, with a storm gathering and last light falling.

As the action unfolds on this one terrifying, illuminating day, Carolina and Bud Morrison look back across thirty years of love and loss, joy and sorrow. Carolina walked away from a well-to-do upbringing to marry Captain Bud Morrison. She embraced his extraordinary lifestyle by the sea and the customs of a historic shrimping village. Yet lately, hard times and the loneliness of long separations have driven them apart — and driven her to make a mistake that threatens to shatter their once-unbreakable bond forever.

When Bud Morrison is overdue at the docks, the close-knit community rallies together to search for one of its own. But Carolina knows that it is their love that must somehow call him home, across miles of rough water and unspeakablememories. And she swears that if she is given one more chance — for love and for forgiveness — nothing will ever take her from this man’s side again.

In Last Light over Carolina, Mary Alice Monroe once again explores a vanishing feature of the southern coastline, the mysterious yet time-honored shrimping culture, in a convincing and compelling tale of an enduring marriage.

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