09 May 2013

Review: Lowcountry Summer by Dorothea Benton Frank

When Caroline Wimbley Levine reached the far side of her forties, she found herself living in her childhood home of Tall Pines, a plantation in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, trying to fill her late-mother's shoes. At first it didn't seem so difficult; she had at least two beaux, her son was off at college, her brother was happily living with his girlfriend, and her crazy almost-ex-sister-in-law was minding her own business. Summer was just around the corner and life seemed good.

In retrospect, Caroline should have probably asked Millie to read the signs so she could have been more prepared. The heat brought all kinds of trouble, and Caroline wasn't sure she was up to the task of taking charge the way her mother could have. By midsummer, there wasn't a soul in the Wimbley family who wasn't grieving, dealing with personal issues, or having problems with love. Caroline, with help from her loved ones, was determined to put everyone back together again before autumn.

In a word, Dorothea Benton Frank's Lowcountry Summer is a delight. The book is funny and sexy, but Frank includes enough serious issues to make the novel a smart read that's perfect both for vacation and for book clubs.

Caroline has her hands full and tries to do the best she can for her family. Although she makes a few mistakes along the way and gets herself into some uncomfortable situations, her heart is always in the right place. I loved her loyal streak and genuine kindness and absolutely appreciated her fondness for gossip and willingness to sling a sarcastic comment or two when needed. She is a very genuine character.

As I mentioned, Lowcountry Summer would make a terrific book club selection. Topics for discussion include alcoholism, parenting, middle age, relationships, societal expectations, forgiveness, second chances, and Southern living. I suggest that you whip up a batch of Millie's famous biscuits and get out the sweet tea because your reading group will want to settle in for a good long talk about Caroline and her clan.

I listened to the unabridged audiobook edition (Harper Audio, 12 hr, 12 min), read by Robin Mills. What can I say? Mills was the absolute perfect narrator for Lowcountry Summer. Her accent and perfect timing brought Caroline and the entire Tall Pines gang to life. Mills's narration had a touch of true performance to it but never crossed the line to too dramatic. She delivered the humor and the sadness with equal skill and kept me so engrossed, I finished the audiobook in record time.

To get a taste of Lowcountry Summer, either read the opening paragraph and watch a short video, which I posted last week, or listen to the beginning of the audiobook by clicking on the "Preview audio" link at the HarperCollins website.

Buy Lowcountry Summer at an Indie or at bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061961175
Rating: B+

Source: Review - audio (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Sandy Nawrot 5/9/13, 6:45 AM  

I've met her...lovely lady! But I am ashamed to say that I've never read any of her books. I love Southern lit, so I'm not sure what my issue is. I may need to see what I can get on audio.

Sandy Nawrot 5/9/13, 6:47 AM  

P.S. I just ordered this one on audio!!!

bermudaonion 5/9/13, 7:31 AM  

I love the way Frank transports her readers to the lowcountry! This sounds like another winner from her.

Unknown 5/9/13, 7:47 AM  

I will probably be going on vacation not far from where this book is set. It would be lovely to read while I'm traveling.

Jenn's Bookshelves 5/9/13, 9:10 AM  

I absolutely loved this one as well. I don't think there is a single book Dorothea has written that I haven't enjoyed!

JoAnn 5/9/13, 10:58 AM  

You've convinced me! Adding to my list...

trish 5/9/13, 7:20 PM  

"perfect for both vacation and book clubs" sounds pretty much like the perfect read to me!

I can't believe you'll get to meet her in NY!

Peggy Ann 5/9/13, 9:06 PM  

I'm convinced too! Especially since I lived in the lowcountry, both my boys were born there!

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/10/13, 7:44 AM  

I just read one of Benton Frank's books, Return to Sullivans Island, for the first time and I enjoyed it a great deal. I think I'm going to have to add Lowcountry Summer to my TBR list.

Julie P. 5/10/13, 8:27 AM  

How cute to do a themed book club! We've only done that a few times and it was always so much fun!

Daryl 5/10/13, 12:16 PM  

sounds good .. i recently opted for a free trial of Audible so i will look for this there ... hoping to read my way back across the Atlantic after my 10 days in Paris ...

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