Book Review: On Ocean Boulevard

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Happy Tuesday, y’all! If you’ve been following me on Instagram or reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a fan of Mary Alice Monroe’s books, and today (May 19th) is Release Day for her new novel, On Ocean Boulevard, the latest installment in The Beach House series. I had the privilege of reading an Advanced Copy of On Ocean Boulevard, and I think Mary Alice has written another bestseller!

On Ocean Boulevard revisits the Rutledge family, focusing on Cara Rutledge and her niece, Linnea. Cara is busy preparing for her second wedding while navigating life as a mother, and Linnea is just returning from the West Coast after losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend. Cara is reluctant to throw the large, lavish wedding that her fiance wants, and Linnea is struggling not to feel like a failure. And of course, the entire story is set against the beautiful South Carolina barrier island of Isle of Palms, and features our dear friends: the Loggerhead sea turtles.

As with all of Mary Alice’s writing, the characters in On Ocean Boulevard jump off the page. Spending time with the Rutledge ladies feels like going on vacation with friends you haven’t seen in a few years, and you want to sit down, open a bottle of wine, and catch up with. And that’s exactly what we got to do in this latest chapter of the Rutledge family.

What I Loved About On Ocean Boulevard: 

  1. Linnea’s situation is 100% relatable. Post-college, so many of us think we have it “all figured out” but then our first job after graduation doesn’t work out. Our relationships evolve and change, and sometimes they end altogether. It’s messy and complicated, but it all works out eventually. I think Linnea’s situation is what makes this the most relatable of all the books in this series to me. Even though I’ve never been in her exact shoes (obviously, she’s a fictional character), I know what it’s like to make those choices after graduation and think I have it “all figured out”… only to realize a short time later that I actually don’t have ANYTHING figured out.
  2. Sometimes, we have to encourage our parents (or aunts) to pursue what makes them happy—like they did for us when we were younger. Linnea urges her mother to pursue her dream of starting her own interior decorating business, despite Julia’s doubts in her own ability.
  3. Despite everything, the Rutledge family pulls together and helps each other out when times are tough. When Cara’s daughter develops a unexpected, potentially-deadly illness, her brother, sister-in-law, and niece are all there for her. Family dynamics are complicated, but Mary Alice writes them so well.
  4. Our beloved Loggerhead sea turtles are back! If you haven’t already heard me mention it, The Beach House series is what inspired me to join the Island Turtle Team, and I’m now in my third season of “turtle patrol” on Sullivan’s Island. In On Ocean Boulevard, Linnea works with the turtle team and the South Carolina Aquarium (which is honestly one of my dreams), and I just love how naturally Mary Alice incorporates her beloved sea turtles into this series.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I really loved this book. I love the entire Beach House series, and I cannot recommend it enough. Whenever Mary Alice announces she’s going to be writing another chapter about the Rutledge family, I worry that it won’t live up to the previous books in the series… and then it does! If you haven’t ready the previous books, I suggest you pick them up. I promise you won’t be sorry.

  1. The Beach House
  2. Beach House Memories
  3. Swimming Lessons
  4. Beach House For Rent
  5. Beach House Reunion

As always, happy reading, friends! If you pick up a copy of On Ocean Boulevard or any books in the series, please let me know!

Bye y’all,

Emma

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