In the lowcountry of South Carolina, in a small village by the sea, a shrimper’s life is one of exhaustion, long hours, and danger. And for the wives on shore, the loneliness and separations tear away at the fabric of their marriages.
Carolina and Bud Morrison have loved each other for many years, and the ebb and flow of their life has worn them down. But on this one day in September 2008, with the economic strains seemingly threatening them at every turn, Bud makes a decision that, by day’s end, will rock their world.
Last Light over Carolina is the story of the sea, of the shrimper’s life, and of a marriage.
What will happen to Bud alone on the sea, having decided to take a chance without his late partner? And what will be going on back at shore as Carolina struggles with her daily routines, but with a sense of doom hanging overhead? As each character’s point of view is shown, we see their lives through flashbacks, from young love through the years when they were shrimping together to the differences between them that almost severed their bonds.
I loved this passage that shows us a bit about the pull of the life for the shrimper. Bud describes his feelings to her in the beginning years, sharing how he doesn’t like leaving her in bed when he has to go:
“But I get up and get to the boat, because my absolute favorite things in the world are standing on the deck at first light when the sun fills you with hope, then again at last light when the sun lowers in all her glory. Those are introspective times. Peaceful times that give a man pause to reflect….”
A beautifully evocative tale that leads the reader through the interior and exterior lives of the characters, its intensity increasing as the day wears on and the danger for Bud on the waters increases. On shore, Carolina swears that, if given one more chance–for love and forgiveness–she will be by his side forever.
I thoroughly connected with the characters, even though I have no personal experience with this kind of life, and enjoyed the author’s style of slowly telling the story through flashbacks, giving us a glimpse of who the characters were before that fateful day. Five stars.