I read an advance readers’ copy of On Ocean Boulevard, by Mary Alice Monroe, at the invitation of her publisher, Simon and Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. Monroe is one of my favorite authors, and the books of her Beach House Series are always superbly written, poignant, romantic stories with environmental education included. This one, book #6 in the series, addresses many topics from plastics in the ocean to yet another measles epidemic caused primarily by uneducated parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children; from the importance of a woman realizing that a man can’t save her — she must save herself — to caring for an elderly cherished friend with Alzheimer’s Disease.
The story weaves together so many of today’s topics of concern, but does it through the voices of the characters. It’s not done in a preachy way, but through soft-spoken concerned women to whom we all can relate. When you finish reading this book, you will want to go out to pick up trash off the beach nearest you. You will want to beg your representatives and senators to listen to the scientists who know what they are talking about, and to pass climate change resolutions.
Another topic of concern among these very realistic characters is our continued insistence to build on barrier islands, and destroy maritime forests and shrubs which protect mainland property from erosion and extreme weather. She calls for government support of science and innovative ideas from professionals in the field. After Cara’s adopted daughter, Hope, catches measles because her medical records were falsified, you will want to beg your local government officials to make vaccinations a requirement to attend any public or private school.
One very important mistake is the reference to the Confederate battle flag, as “the Confederate flag”. Except for their colors, they look nothing alike. I feel compelled to mention this because the one that causes so much heartache and anger is the battle flag. Main character, Cara Rutledge, makes the valid and important observation that, while we cannot change history, we certainly can change and improve what we do today.
On Ocean Boulevard may very well be Ms. Monroe’s most important book to date. Her prose is almost lyrical. Her characters are delightful. Her knowledge of coastal environmental crises and needs, and her ability to convey both in a romance novel is amazing.
What makes The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?
- The word “piazza” is repeatedly used in text that implies a veranda or a porch. A piazza is an open square in a town or city.
- Verb tense errors: “…I wish you would have in place of I wish you had….”
- Using “further” in place of “farther”: they are not the same.
- Mistaking the Confederate battle flag with the Confederate flag.
Everyone should read this book. It’s due out May 19, 2020, and you can pre-order it right here — the pre-order price on Amazon is $12.99: