The pace of Beth Webb Hart’s Moon Over Edisto builds slowly, meandering among her characters in a manner befitting the leisurely cadence of its coastal South Carolina setting. Artist and art professor Julia Bennett has been far removed from her Southern home for years, having retreated to New York almost 20 years ago, after her father left his wife and family for Julia’s college roommate and best friend, Marney. The wounds are still raw for the Bennett women, especially Julia. Panic attacks plague her from the story’s outset, a situation made worse by a surprise visit from Marney. Now widowed, Marney has lung cancer and needs an operation—and someone to look after her three children, Julia’s half siblings, after the surgery. Julia is the unlikely (and unwilling) choice, but her reluctant “yes” sends her on a painful and ultimately healing journey.
Back in South Carolina, Julia begins to deal with the past alongside the pull of the future she’s working so hard to build, even as her mother and sister face a similar battle. It comes as a surprise to them all when Julia begins to open her heart to her half siblings, particularly young Etta, who shares the same artistic skill as Julia and their father. Hart captures the voice of the winsome yet mysteriously silent Etta in occasional chapters told from her perspective.
Hart paints her characters vividly and excels in her minute detail of the Low Country, elevating the place to the status of a character through evocative descriptions that draw in her protagonist—and her readers as well.Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Hart (Sunrise on the Battery) has crafted a heartwarming story of compassion and forgiveness amid the colorful landscape of South Carolina's low country. Julia Bennett enjoyed an idyllic life growing up in a stately home in Charleston with younger sister, Meg. Their father Charles, a lawyer who loved to paint, and their mother Mary Ellen, a homemaker who loved to cook, completed their perfect nuclear family. The family drew even closer when at their rustic cottage on Edisto Island. There they would "wet a line," paint, and frolic in the warm summer sun, often in the company of Marney, Julia's best friend from college, until circumstances left Marney and Charles spending a summer alone at the cottage. Charles' indiscretion did more than end his marriage; it devastated his relationship with his daughters and the girls' relationship with each other. Only Aunt Dot seems to be able to bridge the gap between family members, until Marney has a need that only Julia can meet. Hart's rich detail enhances each element, from the mouthwatering menus to the soul-wrenching confrontations, in this engaging and thought-provoking tale. Agent: Mark Gilroy (Feb. 2)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC