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Sullivan's island : a Lowcountry tale
Dorothea Benton Frank
Adult Fiction FRANK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Frank's debut novel is a story of redemption set in South Carolina's steamy low country. Susan Hamilton Hayes's comfortable Charleston existence is shattered when she finds her husband in bed with another woman. Faced with a failed marriage, a confused teenage daughter and a mediocre job, she sets about the business of healing. Slowly, supported by visits to her sister in their childhood home on sleepy Sullivan's Island, Susan becomes a successful newspaper columnist, regains her confidence as a woman (despite a hilariously deflating date) and finally explores the death of her complex, abusive father decades before. Chapters alternate between the present and 1963, the year her father died, as Susan faces both the strength and the damaging effects of her family legacy. The ending - complete with a perfect suitor reemerging from Susan's youth - is almost too picture perfect to ring true but both the setting and the characters are blazingly authentic. Frank evokes the eccentric Hamilton family and their feisty Gullah housekeeper with originality and conviction; Susan herself - smart, sarcastic, funny and endearingly flawed - makes a lively and memorable narrator. Thanks to these scrappily compelling portraits, this is a rich read. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Set on the coast of South Carolina, this book explores one woman's journey from a contentedly married middle-aged wife and mother to a newly divorced woman looking back on her past for reassurance and to the future for some means of regaining her self-esteem. The story opens with Susan walking in on her husband and his young lover, a shocking surprise to her and an annoyance to him. Susan escalates the situation by throwing them both out, packing her husband's toiletries, and then beginning a new chapter. The tale moves back and forth between present and past as Susan reminisces about her South Carolina Lowcountry upbringing, with all of its "geechee" and Gullah cadences and the African American housekeeper who raised her and her siblings. Throughout, Susan draws strength and support from her sister, and her appreciation for her roots deepens as she tries to come to terms with divorce and raising a teenager. Frank's novel deals with dating, divorce, family life, and teenagers in an outrageously funny way. Conversely, there is a bittersweet nostalgia that permeates a life that seems familiar to us all. Joyce Bean does a highly credible job of evoking Southern pluck and sass as she moves easily among characters. Those who enjoy Pat Conroy or Anne Rivers Siddons will not be disappointed. Recommended for all public libraries.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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