The Beach Trees
NAL, May 3 2011, $15.00
Not long after obtaining possession of a Katrina (don’t mention that name in the Gulf) ravaged beach house in Biloxi, Julie Holt leaves New York for the Gulf coast. Her late best friend Monica Guidry who died from congested heart failure gave custody of her five year old son Beau to Julie as she trusted her buddy to take care of her child.
Julie never learned why Monica fled her family but hopes they will welcome Beau. Elderly Ray Von Williams gives her a sealed box sent by Monica to her to give to Julie and tells her to go to New Orleans to Beau’s maternal great grandmother Aimee so they have a place to stay. Inside the box is a portrait by renowned Abe Holt, Julie’s great-grandfather. Aimee and his Uncle Trey welcome the New Yorker and her ward. Julie begins to learn what drove Monica from Biloxi though what she learns remains confusing. However, what she finds out reminds her of what happened to her family when she was twelve and her sister Chelsea was kidnapped.
The story line contains two subplots respectively told by the prime two females; Aimee in the 1950s and Julie in the present. The comparison between the Gulf through the eyes of the native in the 1950s and that of the Massachusetts born Yankee five years after Katrina will fascinate the audience. The mystery of why Monica cut off her family who Julie believes she cherished based on the stories she shared with her lacks suspense so it is not as interesting as the tour of the Gulf past and present from Biloxi to New Orleans.