Tuesday, July 14, 2009




In LAST LIGHT, New York Times bestseller Monroe tells the haunting and touching story of a longtime shrimp boat captain and his wife of thirty years the day his boat goes missing at sea. Pat Conroy once said that “every book that Mary Alice Monroe has written has felt like a homecoming to me,” and Anne River Siddons wrote that “Monroe’s voice is strong and true.” Now, once again, Monroe brings the South to life with a lyrical and evocative story about past mistakes and second chances.

From beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe comes a new novel of the sultry South Carolina lowcountry, and the proud traditions and earthy resilience of the people who live there. Publishers Weekly embraced Time Is a River, Monroe's "novel of strong Southern women," saying "the author's love for her characters is palpable throughout." Now she returns with Last Light over Carolina,

Every woman in the lowcountry knows the unspoken fear that clutches the heart every time her man sets out to sea. Now, that fear has become a terrible reality for Carolina Morrison. Her husband, shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, the only man she's ever loved, is lost and alone somewhere in the vast Atlantic fishing grounds, with a storm gathering and last light falling.

As the action unfolds on this one terrifying, illuminating day, Carolina and Bud Morrison look back across thirty years of love and loss, joy and sorrow. Carolina walked away from a well-to-do upbringing to marry Captain Bud Morrison. She embraced his extraordinary lifestyle by the sea and the customs of a historic shrimping village. Yet lately, hard times and the loneliness of long separations have driven them apart -- and driven her to make a mistake that threatens to shatter their once-unbreakable bond forever.

When Bud Morrison is overdue at the docks, the close-knit community rallies together to search for one of its own. But Carolina knows that it is their love that must somehow call him home, across miles of rough water and unspeakable memories. And she swears that if she is given one more chance -- for love and for forgiveness -- nothing will ever take her from this man's side again.

In Last Light over Carolina, Mary Alice Monroe once again explores a vanishing feature of the southern coastline, the mysterious yet time-honored shrimping culture, in a convincing and compelling tale of an enduring marriage.


Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including Time is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Beach House, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. She is an active conservationist and lives in the low-country of South Carolina.

Mary Alice Monroe has written stories for as long as she can remember. As a child she could always be found curled up with a book or writing. One of her strongest memories is her first trip to the public library. She couldn't believe all those books were there for her! When they gave her her first library card, she felt as though she'd been given the keys to a candy shop for her imagination. She still feels the same thrill in libraries and bookstores, just browsing through the books.

Mary Alice claims much of her creative spark came from her large and very close family. Growing up, she and her nine brothers and sisters wrote and performed in their own plays and musicals. Some wrote, painted, sang or played instruments. Her teachers recognized her talent and encouraged her to write. Today, Mary Alice still credits these mentors as instilling in her the faith to pursue her dream. She first pursued nonfiction, studying journalism and writing for newspapers or for hire. She did not find fulfillment and, after she married, detoured.

After an extended trip to Japan with her husband, Mary Alice studied Asian culture in earnest. She was awarded a fellowship, became bilingual in Japanese and earned her master's degree. Later, she helped establish a government-funded English as a Second Language program for Southeast Asian refugees. Working with immigrants and helping them integrate into American society, Mary Alice co-authored an English-language survival text.

Not until years later did fate intervene. When her doctor confined her to bed for the final months of her pregnancy, Mary Alice's husband handed her a yellow notepad and pencil and urged her to write the novel she had always dreamed about. Knowing she might never again have that gift of time, she wrote and wrote. "I gave birth to a baby and a book," says the author.

A dozen books later, Mary Alice has found her voice in fiction. Although known for her intimate portrayals of women's lives, her writing has gained added purpose and depth with her move to the South Carolina Lowcountry. "Living on Isle of Palms provides a stimulating place for me to think and to write. I've always been interested in nature, but living on the island and near the wetlands has influenced my work. I draw themes for my novels from nature and the parallels with human nature. And, in my own small way, I hope that by bringing to life the beauty and mystery of this fabulously varied ecosystem and various endangered species in my stories, readers will be inspired to support efforts to protect them."

Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium. Her work with these groups provided the inspiration for her novels THE BEACH HOUSE, SKYWARD, SWEETGRASS, SWIMMING LESSONS, her children's book, TURTLE SUMMER, and her newest novel, TIME IS A RIVER.


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