Last Light Over Carolina
Mary Alice Monroe
Simon & Schuster, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
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Reviewed by Joan Burton
arolina and Bud Morrison have been married for thirty-three years. They live in the low country of South Carolina in McClellanville, where they have restored White Gables, a historic home that has been in Carolina's family for centuries. Bud is a shrimp boat captain, and when they were first married Carolina worked alongside him hauling in the catch. Carolina had walked away from a well to do family to marry Bud, but she embraced his lifestyle and the love of the sea. After their daughter Lizzy was born it was easier to stay at home and raise her and Carolina found employment at Coastal Seafood to help out with their finances.
ife as the wife of a shrimper was never easy. Bud could be gone for weeks at a time following the shrimp as far South as Florida. When the nets came up empty, as they did many times over the years, it put a strain on their finances and their marriage. They also had to deal with mistrust, being separated from each other, and this affected their communication. When their daughter Lizzy was growing up there were times when she resented her Dad's absence in her life even though she loved him dearly. Eventually Lizzy followed in her mother's footsteps and also married a shrimper.
ne September morning Bud arrives at the boat to find his deckhand has not shown up for work. He makes the decision to go out alone, even though it goes against a shrimper's code. With a storm fast approaching, Bud figures he has time for one good haul before he has to call it a day. After being injured and trapped on deck, Bud struggles to stay alive and finds himself reflecting on his life with Carolina. Meanwhile at home, Carolina awakens with a nagging feeling that something is wrong. She spends her day thinking back over the years with Bud and realizing the mistakes they made. When her husband fails to return, the close fishing community gathers together to bring Bud home to Carolina.
ast Light Over Carolina
is a story that goes back and forth seamlessly from the current day to the past. Monroe explores the difference between new love and mature love. She brings up issues of vanishing resources and ways of life. She describes the life of a shrimper both in the male and female voice. This is a beautiful, well written story that leaves you feeling the ocean breezes.
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