Written by Mary Alice Monroe (not to be confused with Alice Munro), The Beach House series is centered around the Rutledge family and the Lowcountry.
The books offer intimate portrayals of women’s lives and explore environmental issues. The first Beach House novel has been adapted as a Hallmark TV movie in 2018, with Minka Kelly playing the lead.
How to read The Beach House Series in Order?
- The Beach House – Caretta Rutledge thought she’d left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother coming just as her own life is spinning out of control has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide “turtle lady” and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life’s most precious lessons true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven.
- Swimming Lessons – The cycle of life of the loggerhead sea turtle on the Isle of Palms has special meaning for the turtle ladies who watch over them in this small coastal South Carolina town. Every season brings new life and new challenges as the turtles make their way back to the ocean. Turtle lady Toy Sooner has faced her share of challenges. The single mother left an abusive relationship to raise her young daughter. She’s found meaning working at the aquarium, but she’s not sure she’s ready for the challenge of starting a new turtle hospital…or a new relationship with her boss, Ethan.
- Beach House Memories – In 1974, America is changing, but Charleston remains eternally the same. When Lovie married aristocratic, well-connected businessman Stratton Rutledge, she turned over her fortune and fate to his control. But she refused to relinquish one thing: her family’s old seaside cottage. Here, she is the “Turtle Lady,” tending the loggerhead turtles that lay their eggs in the warm night sand and then slip back into the sea. Then, in the summer of ’74, biologist Russell Bennett visits to research the loggerheads. Their shared interest brings them together, and soon it blooms into a passionate, profound love. Stratton’s influence is far-reaching, and if she dares to dream beyond a summer affair, she risks losing her reputation, her wealth, even her children.
- Beach House for Rent – Two women from different generations are bound together by a beloved beach house. Cara Rutledge, 50, rents her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt, 26, for the summer. Heather’s anxiety keeps her indoors with her caged canaries until the shorebirds–and a man who rescues them–lure her out to the beach. As the summer progresses and Heather’s heart opens to the rhythms of the island, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy. When their worlds shift like the sand under their feet these two very different women come together to discover their common bonds and unique strengths.
- Beach House Reunion – Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future. Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate, leaves her historic home in Charleston and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love.
- On Ocean Boulevard – It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again. Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt.
- The Summer of Lost and Found – The coming of Spring usually means renewal, but for Linnea Rutledge, Spring 2020 threatens stagnation. Linnea faces another layoff, this time from the aquarium she adores. For her-and her family-finances, emotions, and health teeter at the brink. To complicate matters, her new love interest, Gordon, struggles to return to the Isle of Palms from England. Meanwhile, her old flame, John, turns up from California and is quarantining next door. She tries to ignore him, but when he sends her plaintive notes in the form of paper airplanes, old sparks ignite. When Gordon at last reaches the island, Linnea wonders–is it possible to love two men at the same time?