Lowcountry Summer LP: A Plantation Novel

Overview

Dorothea Benton Frank is a native of the South whose novels vividly capture the wild beauty, laid-back atmosphere, earthy characters, and charming eccentricities of life in South Carolina's Lowcountry. Written with compelling honesty and emotional depth, her stories have touched readers from coast to coast, and propelled her to the top ranks of bestsellerdom nationwide.

Now this remarkable writer revisits some of her most unforgettable characters in this enchanting new story ...

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Overview

Dorothea Benton Frank is a native of the South whose novels vividly capture the wild beauty, laid-back atmosphere, earthy characters, and charming eccentricities of life in South Carolina's Lowcountry. Written with compelling honesty and emotional depth, her stories have touched readers from coast to coast, and propelled her to the top ranks of bestsellerdom nationwide.

Now this remarkable writer revisits some of her most unforgettable characters in this enchanting new story sure to make you laugh and cry. Return with her to Tall Pines Plantation in this long-awaited sequel to her beloved bestseller Plantation. . . .

When Caroline Wimbley Levine returned to Tall Pines Plantation, she never expected to make peace with long-buried truths about herself and her family. The Queen of Tall Pines, her late mother, was a force of nature, but now she is gone, leaving Caroline and the rest of the family uncertain of who will take her place.

In the lush South Carolina countryside, old hurts, betrayals, and dark secrets will surface, and a new generation will rise along the banks of the mighty Edisto River.

Wonderfully evocative, infused with humor and poignancy, and rich with the lyrical cadences of the South, Lowcountry Summer is vintage Dorothea Benton Frank, a deeply moving novel you'll want to savor and share.

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Editorial Reviews

Cassandra King
“Lowcountry Summer has it all: a sassy, lovable narrator; great, believable characters; laugh-out-loud lines; page-turning action; and surprising plot twists. in other words, it’s Dorothea Benton Frank at her best!”
Kathryn Stockett
“Seriously hilarious. LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER is also an incredibly poignant story of the relationship between a brother and sister. As only she can, Dorothea Benton Frank shows how we can survive loss, and explores the strong emotions home and family inspire. Get ready to laugh and cry.”
Publishers Weekly
Here’s one for the Southern gals as well as Yankees who appreciate Frank’s signature mix of sass, sex, and gargantuan personalities. In this long-time-coming sequel to Plantation, opinionated and family-centric Caroline Wimbly Levine has just turned 47, but she’s less concerned with advancing middle age than she is with son Eric shacking up with an older single mom. She’s also dealing with a drunk and disorderly sister-in-law, Frances Mae; four nieces from hell; grieving brother Tripp; a pig-farmer boyfriend with a weak heart; and a serious crush on the local sheriff. Then there’s Caroline’s dead-but-not-forgotten mother, Miss Lavinia, whose presence both guides and troubles Caroline as she tries to keep her unruly family intact and out of jail. With a sizable cast of minor characters with major attitude, Frank lovingly mixes a brew of personalities who deliver nonstop clashes, mysteries, meltdowns, and commentaries; below the always funny theatrics, however, is a compelling saga of loss and acceptance. When Frank nails it, she really nails it, and she does so here. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
More folksy love, marriage and magic in Frank's (Return to Sullivan's Island, 2010, etc.) winning book. Caroline Wimbley Levine is at loose ends. The daughter of Wimbley matriarch, Miss Lavinia, she has returned to Tall Pines Plantation to take charge of the family home and, apparently, the lives of her relatives. The lowcountry of South Carolina may have limited romantic possibilities-neither of Caroline's major beaus (a barbecue chef and a local cop) tempt her to remarry-but its limited social circle is full of complications. The major one is her brother Trip's troubled separation from the falling-down drunk Frances Mae, a woman both Caroline and her mother had disapproved of from the start not because "she was a low class red neck slut from nowhere" but because "she was greedy, jealous, small-minded, petty and mean-spirited." The main conflict begins when Frances Mae crashes her car with her young daughter as a passenger, forcing Caroline-and an unwilling Trip-to take action. But as Caroline tries to channel Miss Lavinia's voice, she tends to hear only the old prejudices. While Frances Mae, a woman whose unrefined accent is made clear through her slurred protestations of "I love yew" when the extended family enacts an intervention, is hardly sympathetic, Caroline has a few lessons to learn about tolerance and commitment, too. Joined and amply supported by Frank's usual colorful lowcountry crew-particularly the ancient Miss Sweetie and the magical Millie Smoak-Caroline makes it through this particularly bumpy summer a little wiser and a lot happier. Although a particularly providential accident is necessary to bring about the usual happy ending, this chatty first-person tale of friendship, love and toothsome Southern food shares the appeal of its predecessors. Family complications and Southern charm bolster a proven formula. Reading group guide online. Author tour to Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Seattle, Tulsa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061979262
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/20/2010
  • Series: Lowcountry Tales Series
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She divides her time between the New York area and the Lowcountry.

Biography

An author who has helped to put the South Carolina Lowcountry on the literary map, Dorothea Benton Frank hasn't always lived near the ocean, but the Sullivan's Island native has a powerful sense of connection to her birthplace. Even after marrying a New Yorker and settling in New Jersey, she returned to South Carolina regularly for visits, until her mother died and she and her siblings had to sell their family home. "It was very upsetting," she told the Raleigh News & Observer. "Suddenly, I couldn't come back and walk into my mother's house. I was grieving."

After her mother's death, writing down her memories of home was a private, therapeutic act for Frank. But as her stack of computer printouts grew, she began to try to shape them into a novel. Eventually a friend introduced her to the novelist Fern Michaels, who helped her polish her manuscript and find an agent for it.

Published in 2000, Frank's first "Lowcountry tale," Sullivan's Island made it to the New York Times bestseller list. Its quirky characters and tangled family relationships drew comparisons to the works of fellow southerners Anne Rivers Siddons and Pat Conroy (both of whom have provided blurbs for Frank's books). But while Conroy's novels are heavily angst-ridden, Frank sweetens her dysfunctional family tea with humor and a gabby, just-between-us-girls tone. To her way of thinking, there's a gap between serious literary fiction and standard beach-blanket fare that needs to be filled.

"I don't always want to read serious fiction," Frank explained to The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "But when I read fiction that's not serious, I don't want to read brain candy. Entertain me, for God's sake." Since her debut, she has faithfully followed her own advice, entertaining thousands of readers with books Pat Conroy calls "hilarious and wise" and characters Booklist describes as "sassy and smart,."

These days, Frank has a house of her own on Sullivan's Island, where she spends part of each year. "The first thing I do when I get there is take a walk on the beach," she admits. Evidently, this transplanted Lowcountry gal is staying in touch with her soul.

Good To Know

Before she started writing, Frank worked as a fashion buyer in New York City. She is also a nationally recognized volunteer fundraiser for the arts and education, and an advocate of literacy programs and women's issues.

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