THE BEACH TREES by Karen White, 2011. White is a bestselling author of ON FOLLY BEACH, which I never read, but I did read her book THE MEMORY OF WATER. This summary is largely taken from the blurb on the back of the trade paperback book.
This is the story of Julie Holt. When she was twelve years old her younger sister disappeared from their backyard in Massachusetts , never to be found. After that her family grew apart, although her mother never gave up looking for her missing child. When her mother passed away Julie took up the search and hoped to find her one day. Julie has a love for art she inherited from the great-grandfather who was a great painter.
Now that Julie is grown she’s working in an auction house in New York City where she meets a woman named Monica Guidry a struggling artist and single mother with a stange accent of sometimes mispronounced words that’s neither Southern or Northern, who reminds her very much of her little sister, so she is drawn to her and feels protective of her. Monica paints a vivid picture of her Southern family, but never says why she has no contact with them. She also reveals she has a secret heart condition that will soon take her life.
Feeling as if she lost her sister a second time, Julie inherits from Monica a valuable portrait as well as custody of Monica’s young son. The portrait is of a prominent member of the Guidry family that happened to be painted by Julie’s great-grandfather and it unlocks a surprising family history.
NOTE: Since I am also an artist I find this book interesting, I’ll have to let you know what I think.