Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beach Read: Shem Creek by Dorthea Benton Frank

Todays Beach Read Review is posted by Eliza Fleetwood, who writes Historical Romance and Contemporary Romantic Suspense from her home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Shem Creek by Dorothea Benton Frank is set in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. No place on earth makes me think of the beach more than the South Carolina coast.

Book Title: Shem Creek by Dorthea Benton Frank
Beach Setting: South Carolina Low Country
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  344
Publication date:  August, 2004
Publisher:  Berkley
Favorite Passage:  There are 2. I couldn't decide.

1) How was it that there were so many people who wanted to be with someone and yet there were so many people alone? Never mind how many people were rotting away in lackluster marriages that should have ended when their kids went to college. Or men my age chasing girls who still got pimples. Sure, there were legitimate reasons why people had less than optimal personal lives--extensive business travel, demanding careers, narcissism, momma's boys, daddy's girls, impotence, uncontrollable flatulence, chronic halitosis, neurological disorders such as Tourette's syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, being incarcerated, and heroin addiction, to name a few. And let us not forget--you could have just been born with a face as ugly as a mud fence.
          2)  "Did you ever think about how much of our lives revolve around food? I mean, it is the craziest thing! All we do is talk about it, buy it, cook it, serve it, clean it up and then stress over how much we ate and how much we weigh. It's a little stupid, isn't it?”

Beach Read Rating: 4 (out of 5) Beach Umbrellas

Review:  I enjoyed this book. It is about people in the second stage of adulthood, dealing with loss and finding hope and happiness again. The characters are well written and realistic. A mother who thinks her rebellious child needs a dose of southern living to get her back on track so picks up and moves back to her hometown. A man who's lost everything in a divorce dealing with starting over. The scenery makes me want to hop in my car and drive the six hours to Mount Pleasant, SC   
Not a hearts and flowers romance, this story still warmed my heart and I didn't want it to end.

Cover blurb:  Meet Linda Breland, single parent of two teenage daughters. The oldest, Lindsey, who always held her younger sister in check, is leaving for college. And Gracie, her Tasmanian devil, is giving her nightmares. Linda's personal life? Well, between the married men, the cold New Jersey winters, her pinched wallet and her ex-husband who marries a beautiful, successful woman ten years younger than she is - let's just say, Linda has seen enough to fill a thousand pages.
As the story opens, she is barreling down Interstate 95, bound for Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the land of her ancestors. Welcomed by the generous heart of her advice-dispensing sister, Mimi, Linda and her daughters slowly begin to find their way and discover a sweeter rhythm of life.
And then there's Brad Jackson, a former investment banker of Atlanta, Georgia who hires her to run his restaurant on Shem Creek. Like everyone else, Brad's got a story of his own - namely an almost ex-wife, Loretta who is the kind of gal who gives women a bad name.
The real protagonist of this story is the Lowcountry itself. The magical waters of Shem Creek, the abundant wildlife and the astounding power of nature give this tiny corner of the planet its infallible reputation as a place for introspection, contemplation and healing.
As in all her previous work, you'll find Shem Creek to be compulsively readable, irreverent but warm and blazingly authentic - and you'll dread reaching the last page. It is her vivid writing, colorful characters and rich narrative that have made Dorothea Benton Frank one of our nation's greatest storytellers. Shem Creek is a triumphant novel that proves we are all entitled to a second chance. The challenge is to learn how to recognize it when it comes and to know which chance to take.


Charlottemacaw said...

I too love Mt Pleasant and have a vivid memory of Shem Creek. I cant wait to read this.

Anonymous said...

I've read a couple of Dorthea Benton Frank's books and really enjoyed them. I'll have to check out Shem Creek. Thanks for this review. :D

Ann Yost said...

I love the "face as ugly as a mud fence," quote. My mother used to use that alot and once said, "Even if my daughter (me) was as ugly as a mud fence I'd never admit it!" Kind of an unnerving thought.

Jayne Ormerod said...

Ann, I'm sure your mother meant that in the NICEST way! :) Funny that you still remember it, though.

Thanks to all who stopped by to read Eliza's review, and thanks to Eliza for the great book recommendation!