Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Beach Trees
by Karen White
The story presented in The Beach Trees is a murder mystery reaching back several generations. Revealed in two voices, the first Julie, who learns through her current situation that it is possible to build your future on the foundation of the past although it may not seem stable to do so. The second voice is Aimee who tells her story of the past hoping it will provide clues for mysteries in the present.
I found the story slow to get into. Too much unnecessary detail for me. However, the references and descriptions of post Katrina New Orleans and Biloxi was very interesting and enlightening. Julie didn't understand why so many people would rebuild after such devastation and as one who doesn't live there, I understand that. But as the stories unfold and we meet more people who chose to stay and rebuild it begins to make sense.
The current day mystery is why Monica, a woman who is deceased when the story begins, left New Orleans, her childhood home, and her family and never made contact with them again. Therein lies my main criticism of the story. Because she is dead when the story begins it's unlikely that we'll ever uncover her reason, but when it's finally revealed I found the motivation lacking in believability.
Lastly when we get to the point of tying it all up in a pretty pink mystery solved ribbon I was confused. I'm still not sure exactly who did what, but it could be because I was reading the end in the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, I don't care enough to go back and re-read it.
The beach trees, for which the title of the book comes, are trees that were killed by hurricane Katrina and yet remain standing. An artist was commissioned to turn the dead trees into sculptures. Another artist donated his time and talents to carve more trees. Out of the devastation comes beauty. You can learn about and see the sculptures here.
I give Beach Trees 3 of 5 shots. It was good but I'm ready to move on.