Dorothea Benton Frank lives and works in the low country of South Carolina. Therefore she knows this area like the back of her hand. She also loves it with a passion that permeates the pages of her novels. In her latest book Lowcountry Summer she uses the magic and splendor of this special location to create a mood and platform for her story. There are some vivid characters in the book, but the unique never-never land which is the low country is the real star.
The plot focuses on Caroline Wimbley Levine, the grande dame of Tall Pines Plantation. Caroline is a divorcee with one child, a college age son named Eric. He is the center of her life but she also has room for her brother Trip. Trip is estranged from his wife Francis Mae and has taken up with a local beauty named Rusty. This has alienated him from his four daughters.
Caroline dislikes Frances Mae intensely but has tried to stay out of Trip's business. However Frances Mae's drinking is beginning to be a threat to her safety as well as her daughters. Something has to be done and it looks like Caroline is going to have to do it. Her brother is a smart man in a lot of areas but when it comes to doing something about his marital and family situation he is a slacker.
There is also the problem of Caroline's love life. She is a dating a local pig farmer and our heroine does love pork, however there is also the local sheriff who has caught Caroline's eye. As the summer days in the low country pass there has to be some decisions made in this area too.
Lowcountry Summer is a snapshot study of a few months in the lives of Caroline and her friends and family. During this time there is love and death, humor and heartbreak - and Frank captures it all with her inimitable style. She can bring readers to tears in one paragraph and have them laughing uproariously in the next. Not many writers have this skill but Frank has it and uses it to charm and entertain her millions of fans.
This latest novel is a sequel to Frank's successful Plantation but even if you have never heard of or read the first book you will not be lost in this one. This book stands alone and gives a complete story of the characters she has placed there.
Aside from the genuinely funny and charming plot, this book also gives Frank an opportunity to describe the low country as it has never been described before. After reading Frank's eloquent descriptions of the land and the water of the area most readers will have a compulsion to pack it all in and move to this enchanted land. It sounds like Paradise and you understand completely why the local inhabitants cling to it like the Garden of Eden.
So get your copy of Lowcountry Summer and enter Frank's world. It is a place where you will be treated to a collection of characters whose stories will fascinate you. Plus you will learn more about the fabled "low country" than you have ever known.
This is Dorothea Benton Frank at her best, weaving intense family stories seasoned with huge dollops of humor. Added to that you get extensive and sweeping descriptions of the land she loves. What are you waiting for? Get the book and start your summer reading pleasure!
Lowcountry Summer is published by William Morrow. It contains 344 pages and sells for $25.99.