Beach House Memories
Autumn brings haunting beauty to the sun-soaked dunes on Isle of Palms, where Olivia “Lovie” Rutledge lives in her beloved Primrose Cottage. As the seasons change, Lovie remembers one special summer…
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. Precious summers with her children on the barrier island are Lovie’s refuge from social expectations and her overbearing husband’s philandering. 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—forcing Lovie to face an agonizing decision. 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.
This emotional tale of a strong woman torn between duty and desire, between tradition and change, is an empowering journey through the seasons of self-discovery. Until this autumn, this time of winds and tides, of holding on and letting go…
Beach House Memories
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Reading Group Guide
In the summer of 1974, Olive “Lovie” Rutledge hosts a formal dinner party for her unappreciative husband in their lovely home in a privileged Charleston neighborhood. The following morning she takes her two children to Isle of Palms—a nearby barrier island off the coast of South Carolina where her family has a modest beach cottage. Behind closed doors, and exhausted from keeping up appearances, Lovie finds solace, happiness, and fulfillment at the beach. But when a handsome biologist arrives to research the status of nesting turtles—a project that is Lovie’s passion—she finds herself falling in love over the course of the summer, with devastating consequences.
This is an unforgettable tale of marriage, resilience, and one woman’s private strength.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. What are your first impressions of Lovie? Does she seem satisfied with her life and current situation?
2. Discuss the differences between the expectations of a woman/wife in 1974 when the story takes place, and today. Are there regional diffe see more