The Beach Trees Audible Audiobook – Abridged
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Audible Audiobook, Abridged
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In the aftermath of tragedy, life goes on - painful and forever altered, but ripe with new beginnings. For Julie Holt, travelling to the beautiful but ravaged coast of Biloxi, Mississippi, is a journey into a secret past, and a life she never expected....
Julie first knew loss at the age of 12, when her sister disappeared, never to be found. As her once close-knit family grew apart, Julie's mother obsessively searched for the girl, and when her mother died, Julie took up the search, never letting go of the hope. Then, at an art exhibition in New York, she meets Monica - a struggling artist and single mother who reminds Julie so much of her sister that she can't help feeling drawn to her: Monica paints a vivid picture of her family, but never says why or how she lost contact with them. And she has another secret: a heart condition that will soon take her life.
When Monica dies, Julie inherits from her an antique portrait - as well as custody of her young son. Taking him back to Biloxi and New Orleans to see the family he has never met, Julie discovers a connection of her own. The portrait, of an old relative, was done by her great-grandfather - and unlocks a family history she never knew.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 6 minutes|
|Narrator||Ki Gottberg, Gin Hammond|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 24, 2011|
|Publisher||Listen & Live Audio, Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #59,764 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#671 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,365 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,473 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Julie treks to Biloxi to find that the house was destroyed by Katrina. She meets up with Monica's abandoned family to share the news that Monica has died. They prove to be a supportive, loving family, and the mystery begins: Why did Monica leave? Why did she never return? Will Julie stay?
This book was such a miracle of human determination and acceptance and growth. I absolutely loved the characters and how they handled situations. I loved the book from beginning to end. I was only mad that it was over.
Julie's story begins when she was 12 and responsible for her younger sister, Chelsea. Chelsea is taken from their yard and never seen again. Her body was also never recovered. Julie has never stopped looking for her.
Aimee's story begins when she was 12 in 1950 and sent to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Orleans. Her grandmother's neighbors (The Guidrys) include 2 children. 1 - Garrick (Gary) is the same age as Aimee and 1 - Wesley (Wes) is a bit older. Aimee and Gary soon become best friends and spend every day together playing. As the years and summers pass, they remain best friends even though Aimee lives in Philadelphia. They spend part of every summer at the Guidry's summer beach house in Biloxi - Riversong. We learn that Caroline Guidry is "delicate" and spent some time at a home for delicate women in Atlanta; but once she returned to New Orleans, her "crazy" started again. Wes stayed away a lot once he was in college, but began corresponding with Aimee in 1955. In those letters, Aimee fell in love with Wes. Everything changed Mardi Gras of 1956 when Aimee was allowed to go to New Orleans to join the Guidrys for a Mardi Gras Ball. After that weekend, Aimee stayed away from New Orleans for 4 years. She returns for Gary's college graduation and doesn't leave.
Julie is trying to piece together the puzzle of why Monica left her loving family behind and she is very weary of them. As Aimee and Julie bond over Aimee's history, Julie and Trey start digging into the family history. They discover the ugly truths about his family and why Monica sought out Julie and then became friends with her. Julie also learns life lessons along the way - like why rebuild when everything is gone and another storm could rip it all away again.
KW paints New Orleans and Biloxi in such realistic light. The sounds, smells, heat is all felt while reading this story. Very accurate portrayal of both cities (in my Louisiana opinion)
"All truths will eventually surface"
When the story begins, Julie Holt is working in New York City at a reputable auction house and her best friend Monica Armstrong is also trying to make it in New York, but Monica becomes ill and dies. She leaves her 5-year-old son, Beau, in the care of Julie, and also leaves her house in Biloxi, her favorite retreat in her whole life, River Song, to Julie. During Hurricane Camille, the beautiful and restful River Song was torn apart and had sat that way for years and then encountered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. River Song was a beautiful house along the shore with an old oak tree in the front and a sleeping porch where Monica and her brother Trey used to sleep as children. It meant everything to Monica, everything that is, until she left her home and family for good and never returned. No one in the family knew why she left and what had happened to her, but they never gave up trying to find her.
Julie had suffered a big loss in her own life. When she was twelve, her sister Chelsea disappeared from their New England home and never returned. Julie, like the Guidry family, had never stopped looking for her sister and was in regular contact with the police department and a detective who was working the case all these years later since the case was still open. For Julie and for the Guidrys, not knowing what happened to their loved ones left them with a feeling of incompleteness and that their lives were forever changed and unsettled. Julie takes Beau to New Orleans to meet his grandmother Aimee and his Uncle Trey who live in the Garden District in New Orleans. While there, Julie and Trey begin work on the River Song restoration because Julie wants it restored exactly as it was when Monica went there, even with acoustical sounds the same. Trey and Julie must work side by side on the house plans and after a while the two warm up to each other. When Julie first arrived in New Orleans, Trey was suspicious of her and was rude and unfriendly, but when he sees that she means business and is willing to work hard to keep her promises to Monica and for Beau, he changes his attitude.
In the meantime, Beau's grandmother, Aimee Guidry, begins to tell Julie her life's story in increments and Julie finds out the history of the family, but not who killed Aimee's mother and what happened to Trey and Monica's mother. Julie wants Beau to know his family and to know about them as he grows up.
Before each chapter begins there are wonderful lines of poetry or a proverb quoted that pertains to the chapter. "The Beach Trees" is a very well-written story that is extremely hard to put down. I've been burning the midnight oil and beyond because I couldn't stop reading. There is mystery and a touch of romance, but most of all this book showcases the closeness, love and forgiveness that truly strong families have for each other when the going gets tough. The characters have such depth to them that it is very easy to become attached to them early in the book.
Highly recommended book for fiction readers and for readers who like books that take place by the sea.