On Folly Beach by Karen White
A young widow who buys a bookstore in Folly Beach is taken back in time as she discovers the love and loss of a South Carolina family during WWII through notes written in the margins of books.
On Folly Beach takes a young widow back in time as she discovers the love and loss of a South Carolina family through notes written in the margins of books.
From the Publisher (Penguin):
To most people, Folly Beach is simply the last barrier island before reaching the great Atlantic. To some, it’s a sanctuary for lost souls, which is why Emmy Hamilton’s mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly’s Finds, hoping it will distract Emmy from the loss of her husband.
Emmy is at first resistant. So much has already changed. But after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly’s Finds, she decides to take the plunge. But the seller insists on one condition: Emmy must allow Lulu, the late owner’s difficult sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard.
For the most part Emmy ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers about the letters, the more she understands Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during WWII are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance…
Book Club Party Ideas for On Folly Beach
The residents and military men of Folly Beach spend their weekends shagging on the pier to the music of Glenn Miller – Greatest Hits Glenn Miller, The Very Best of The DriftersThe Drifters and This Is Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra 1Tommy Dorsey. One of Maggie’s favorite dance songs was “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller.
In the book it mentions that shag is the South Carolina state dance. Here is an instructional video on how to shag:
What to Wear
Among Lulu’s treasures were a tortoise shell barrette and 14k Sand Dollar Dangle Earringssand dollar earrings. You can complete the look with a sand dollar bracelet, 14k Yellow Gold Diamond Sand Dollar Pendant (1/10 cttw, G-H Color, I1 Clarity), 18necklace and 14k Sand Dollar Ring – Size 6ring. I found all my jewelry at a shack at the beach, so I linked some that I found on the internet.
Lulu loved her bottle trees. She learned about bottle trees through Jim, who grew up on a plantation and would see slaves put bottles on trees to scare away evil spirits. The sunflower bottle tree below would be a fun and colorful decoration. Don’t forget to stick notes in the bottles!
I wasn’t going to lug a bottle tree to the beach, so the table was decorated in a beach theme with sand dollars and colored (supposed to be sea) glass. I also used a little glass jar of sand to represent the jar of sand from Folly Beach that helped remind Emmy’s mom where she came from. Page told Emmy that she would always be able to come back home but “that would be a lot like planting a rose in the dessert; you’d survive but you’d never really bloom.”
The box that held Lulu’s treasures sounded so beautiful. I searched the internet but could not find one similar to Lulu’s. It was a lacquered box with hand painted flowers decorating the lid and a red velvet interior. Any treasure box would be a great tabletop decoration along with sand dollar earrings, tortoise shell barrette, roller skate key, penny, handkerchief, lace hair ribbon, and a gold ring with a black onyx square on top.
My sister found the old rusted lighthouse at a garage sale, which reminded me of the old lighthouse in the book.
The military personnel and party goers on Folly Beach Pier liked to drink Pabst Beer and Coca Cola, so I served these in a steel tub.
Vintage Coca ColaVintage Coca-Cola memorabilia would also make great decorations. Coca Cola was a favorite drink in the book but they often weren’t able to enjoy it due to the sugar ration. There was a Coca Cola 904009 – Large Cooler – Cart Style – Coca Cola – RedCoca-Cola ice cooler in Folly’s Finds and Lulu would use the bottles for her bottle tree.
Book Club Menu for On Folly Beach
I based the menu on the food Peter and Maggie had on their first date:
- Fried Shrimp with Red Sauce. I also made some Tartar Sauce. Gotta have tartar sauce with hush puppies.
- Hush Puppies
- Cole Slaw
I considered making turtle eggs, but that is probably outlawed in this day and age.
Dessert was Mini Blackberry Cakes with Blackberry (Mint) Tea, which is what Maggie and Peter had on their picnic. You could also base your main menu on the food they had on their picnic which was fried chicken and unsweetened corn bread (because of the sugar ration).
Whenever I make a recipe I like to try to put the ingredients together in different ways for a more interesting presentation or because I want more of certain ingredients. I also made a blackberry cake parfait with the same ingredients that you find in the mini blackberry cakes.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Good Reads: 3.93 stars (610 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.5 stars (61 reviews)|
|Barnes & Noble : 4.5 stars (56 ratings)|
|My Rating: 5 stars|
“Like many of her novels, On Folly Beach is a novel full of emotion – sadness and happiness and yet hopeful at the same time. There is also a great mystery that weaves the past with the present in a way that will keep you turning the pages to find out exactly what happened and how it relates to the present day and those in it.” – Peeking Between the Pages Blog
“I enjoyed so many elements of this story – the great characters, the setting (South Carolina’s lowcountry!), the mystery and the history. I think most readers will enjoy the bookstore setting and the literary references throughout the book.” – BermudaOnion’s Weblog
Discussion Questions for On Folly Beach by Karen White
- One main theme of this book is knowing when one has waited long enough to move on after the loss of a loved one. One of my favorite quotes in the book was when Emmy’s mom said “Love doesn’t have a time span. Only pain does.” Can you relate to this quote? What other life lessons can be learned from this story?
- Did you like how the story was told from two different time periods? Did you have a hard time following the storylines?
- Did you learn anything about WWII that you did not previously know?
- Who was your favorite character? Did you find any similarities between the main characters, Emmy and Lulu?
- Were you surprised by the ending? Would you have liked a different ending?
Purchase On Folly Beach at your favorite bookseller
“I grew up being a voracious reader and it was a natural step to turn my interest to writing. I have published 12 award-winning and bestselling novels since 2000, with two more books planned for 2011 including the third book in the Tradd Street series out in November. I write what others have termed “grit-lit”–southern women’s fiction, as well as a contemporary paranormal mystery series set in Charleston. All of my books are set in the US South, and feature a female protagonist at a crossroads in her life. I live near Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two children, a guinea pig and the cutest 4-year-old Havanese dog, Quincy, whom readers may recognize as General Lee in the Tradd Street series.”
Karen WhiteOther books by Karen White
During the 40s and 50s, Folly Beach Pier was the place to be. There are several books about the history of Folly Beach:
- Folly Beach: A Brief HistoryFolly Beach: A Brief History by Stringer-Robinson
- Folly Beach: Glimpses of a Vanished StrandFolly Beach: Glimpses of a Vanished Strand by Bill Bryan
- Edge of America: Folly Beach, a Pictorial HistoryEdge of America: Folly Beach, A Pictorial History by James William Hagy
I loved the historical references in the book. Here is a video of a divers filming a sunken German u boat off the coast of the Carolinas. They really were there! Here is also more information about the Duquesne spy ring.
Join Emmy and Heath and watch the 2010 Perseid meteor shower which should peak sometime around August 12.
Maggie’s favorite movie was JezebelJezebel. This would be a great movie, along with Gone with the Wind (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition)Gone with the Wind, to rent and have a night filled with self-absorbed southern belles. Cat, the villain of the book, liked to imitate Scarlett O’Hara’s facial expressions….beeatch.
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