Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe

Bud and Carolina Morrison have been married for well over 30 years. They reside in the small coastal town of McClellanville, South Carolina where Bud captains the Miss Carolina - his shrimping boat. Although being a shrimper is not the easiest of lives (long, hard-working days) - it is something that he would not give up for the world. Like any marriage - Bud and Carolina’s has not been an easy one they have definitely had their share of bumpy roads, but they have found a way to overcome these obstacles and have held strong to their lives together.

The story takes place in the course and scope of one day. Bud wakes up that morning well before dawn and heads out for the day’s catch. Once his ship is ready to sail out and after waiting for his deckhand, who is late, he decides to head out on his own - not an easy thing for one man to do (and definitely not for one well into his sixties now). Due to bad weather and an accident at sea Bud is missing causing Carolina’s nightmares to become a reality. Most of the day Carolina has had a dreadful feeling in her stomach... she feels as if something is wrong but just can’t pinpoint what it is.

While Bud is at sea and Carolina runs around doing her daily errands, we slip back and forth between flashbacks of their lives together. The realities of being a shrimper and a shrimper’s wife, how they first met, making a home, having a baby, the destruction of Hurricane Hugo, long separations (if the shrimp don’t come to you, you must go to where the shrimp is), and how the local shrimping market is being affected by foreign shrimp being used at much lower rates. Prepare to be taken on a roller coaster journey through the lives of two people as they come to realize how precious life really is and how important they really are to one another.

I really enjoy character driven novels like this. The flashbacks are told in a way where you get both sides of the story which give these characters a depth that you feel as if you know them and you can't help but fall in love with them (flaws and all). I love that you learn so much about shrimping... and I could even relate somewhat to Carolina’s feelings - since my grandfather was a fisherman (back in the day). I remember the nights that my grandmother stayed up waiting for him or the days that went by while she waited by the phone for that call from a dock somewhere just to let her know that he was okay. The writing is superb - you can almost feel the Southern twang while reading it. This was a beautiful and poignant story about life, love and hope that I honestly loved and highly recommend.

My thanks to Sarah at Pocket Books for sending me this copy for review.


Missy B. said...

I love Mary Alice Monroe's books...I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the great review!

The Reading Momster said...

Wow sounds very good! And the book cover is really good. The Only Southern writing I have read is of Patti Callahan Henry :)

So i must try this one as well!

Luvdaylilies said...

Thanks for your review!
This sounds like a book I could really get into=)

Beth F said...

I can't wait to read this one. My copy should arrive any day now. And I love a southern setting.

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