Thursday, April 9, 2015

G566 Book Review of The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

Name of Book: The Hurricane Sisters

Author: Dorothea Benton Frank

ISBN: 978-0-06-213252-9

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: Domestic abuse, hurricanes, South Carolina, 2000s, family, starving artist, plans, humor, comedy, politicians, the South, Women's fiction, mother/daughter relationships, three generations, pushing the boundaries

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

Filled with her trademark wit, sassy, heartwarming characters, and the steamy Southern atmosphere and beauty of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry, The Hurricane Sisters is New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank's enchanting tale of the ties and lies between generations.

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank once again takes us deep in the heart of the magical Lowcountry--a sultry land of ancient magic, glorious sunsets, and soothing coastal breezes, where three generations of strong women wrestle with the expectations of family while struggling to understand their complicated relationships with each other.

Best friends since the first day of classes at The College of Charleston, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe, now 23 years old, live in Ashley's parents' beach house rent-free. Ashley is a gallery assistant who aspires to become an artist. Mary Beth, a gifted cook from Tennessee, works for a caterer while searching for a good teaching job. Though they both know what they want out of life, their parents barely support their dreams and worry for their precarious finances.

While they don't make much money, the girls do have a million-dollar view that comes with living in that fabulous house on Sullivans Island. Sipping wine on the porch and watching a blood-red sunset, Ashley and Mary Beth hit on a brilliant and lucrative idea. With a new coat of paint, the first floor would be a perfect place for soirees for paying guests. Knowing her parents would be horrified at the idea of common strangers trampling through their home, Ashley won't tell them. Besides, Clayton and Liz Waters have enough problems of their own.

A successful investment banker, Clayton is too often found in his pied-a-terre in Manhattan--which Liz is sure he uses to have an affair. And when will Ashley and her brother, Ivy, a gay man with a very wealthy and very Asian life partner--ever grow up? Then there is Maisie, Liz's mother, the family matriarch who has just turned eighty, who never lets Liz forget that she's not her perfect dead sister, Juliet.

For these Lowcountry women, an emotional hurricane is about to blow through their lives, wreaking havoc that will test them in unexpected ways, ultimately transforming the bonds they share.

Characters:

Here are some of the important characters: One is Maisie, a quirky grandmother of almost eighty who is dating a man in his mid to late fifties. She enjoys getting in trouble and is very accepting and encouraging of her grandchildren. Liz is the middle aged mother who works with women's places and unlike Maisie, she isn't encouraging of Ashley's talent and blames herself and Maisie for certain deaths. Ashley was perhaps mine favorite and was the most interesting in the story; she is an extremely talented artist who dreams of being famous or else being the next Jackie O Kennedy, and is an old fashioned Southern gal who goes for what she wants. There were men in the story too, primarily Clayton, Liz's husband who happens to be a workaholic, Ivy, Ashley's stylish and homosexual brother, and Porter Galloway, a young senator who worries too much about his image and himself rather than others.

Theme:

I think the message is the strength of women and our ability to survive the worst of catastrophes

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative mainly from Liz's and Ashley's points of view, although Maisie and Liz's husband do have some chapters devoted to them. The author does warn of the point of view switch in beginning of each chapter and up until the end, the story is comical, relevant, very Southern and for me the characters were likable and quirky, although I do wish that more about Ivy would have been addressed instead of simply ignored. I admit that the writing is captivating, sparkling and there is flair for keeping reader interest in what's going on.

Author Information:
(From TLC)


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About Dorothea Benton FrankDorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including Lowcountry Summer and Return to Sullivans Island. She resides in the New York area with her husband.
Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Opinion:

Up until the last quarter of the book, I thought I'd end up giving it four if not five stars. But then almost towards the end, the balance between the humor and seriousness is compromised and what I enjoyed a great deal made me lose my suspension of belief. I am happy that the author tackled this issue, and that she stressed the importance of friendship and family and how beneficial they can be for people. Many people choose to either ignore serious issues or are looking for escapism, which made me impressed that she includes humor and seriousness in the story. But towards the end, my credulity was stretched and I had a difficult time believing some elements. To the mixture, I'm not sure what she should have done differently because its something that I haven't really encountered in literature that I read before, and it will take me ages to discuss the use of humor within seriousness situations.

This is for TLC

Dorothea’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 7th: The Discerning Reader
Wednesday, April 8th: The man thoughts of a reader
Thursday, April 9th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, April 10th: Books and Bindings
Monday, April 13th: Lavish Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 14th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, April 15th: Bookshelf Fantasies
Thursday, April 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, April 20th: Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, April 21st: Bibliotica
Wednesday, April 22nd: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, April 23rd: A Novel Review
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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