PORCH LIGHTS is the first book I have read by this author, and not the last.
Not in the least bit pretentious, Dorothea Benton Frank insists on writing the way people talk. She has stories to tell, and doesn't feel the need to distance herself from her readers by putting on airs. It is this writing style that makes the pages of this book turn quickly.
PORCH LIGHTS is the story of Jackie, an Army nurse, who returns to her mother's home on Sullivan's Island after tragically losing her firefighter husband. Jackie and her 11 year old son, Charlie, need this summer to heal their broken hearts before returning to Brooklyn in the fall. The mother and daughter relationship had always been strained, but Jackie and Annie need each other now more than ever. Readers will laugh and cry as they witness this healing of new and old wounds.
Like all of her other novels, PORCH LIGHTS is set in the Low Country of South Carolina, where children spend their days playing in the sand and adults spend their evenings sitting on their porches catching an evening breeze. After reading this novel, I understand why Dottie is anxious to get back to her family in South Carolina. Sullivan's Island is a character in this book, with emotions and tempers like the women that inhabit her.
Speaking of the women in this novel, Annie and Jackie are a mother and daughter at odds. They have never seen eye-to-eye, but they need one another, and their relationship has to change in order to bridge the gap that has separated them for so long. They each have their own wounds to heal separately, but it is the mother-daughter bond at the heart of this novel that kept me glued to the pages.
This may sound awfully unkind to the men, but if Dorothea Benton Frank had left the men's characters out of the novel completely, I would not have missed them. They were little more than an excuse for Annie and Jackie to interact, and I so enjoyed being a fly on the wall in this house. I loved watching what began as strained civility grow into an easy banter between the two women.
PORCH LIGHTS will not be my last novel by Dottie Frank. I was lucky enough to have met her at an event at Clinton Book Shop, where I was surrounded by her devoted and enthusiastic fans, who were more than happy to guide me toward my next Frank book (every reader at the event had her own favorite!).
Many thanks to William Morrow for sending me a copy of this book, and for introducing me to such a lovely author!!
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About the Book - Hardcover:
About the Book - Paperback:
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062211765
- ISBN-13: 978-0062211767