The Hurricane Sisters

( 34 )

Overview

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, ...

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Overview

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In her latest Lowcountry novel, Dorothea Benton Frank immerses us in the intertwined lives of two young Southern belles. Mary Beth Smythe and Ashley Anne Waters are enjoying a season of rent-free leisure in Ashley's parents' Sullivans Island beach house. In a sunny wine-fueled reverie, the pair hit on a bright (and lucrative) idea: Why not fix up the house and take in a border or two? Their entrepreneurial brainstorm has, of course, intergenerational complications, but for the time being at least, Ashley's parents are entangled in problems of their own. Just the refreshing novel that we've come to expect from the Queen of Summer Reads.

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Take a trip down to the Carolina Low Country in Frank's (Sullivan's Island) latest novel, featuring three generations of women and their experiences with love, trust, and the unbreakable bond of family. Ashley is in her mid-20s, struggling to explore her passion as an artist while remaining afloat financially through an illegal business venture. Her mother, Liz, is so busy helping abused women and children that she cannot face the reality that her marriage is crumbling and her son is gay. Grandma Maisie, a spit-and-vinegar octogenarian, moves in with a younger man and sets the family's world on fire with her hard-earned wisdom and wit. But when Ashley gets involved with an aggressive politician, the family must ditch the drama and rally to keep her safe. VERDICT With a host of subplots and constant foreshadowing, this multigenerational title falls somewhat short. While it would serve as a quick summer read and does include valuable information about domestic violence, the rotating point-of-view narrative style results in a lack of depth and leaves the reader wanting more. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.]—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062132529
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 6,265
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    Another stellar tome!

    (I received this book from a GoodReads/First Reads giveaway, and I thank the author and publisher for their generosity. This in no way influenced my opinion, which is ,as always, 100% mine)

    I will never regret being hit in the head by a falling copy of Sullivans Island a couple of decades ago. With that, I was catapulted into the low country world of Dorthy Benton Frank. And her latest work lives up to her reputation.

    Another fun look at a multi-generational family full of lies,secrets and innuendo balanced with love, generosity and characters you either want to kick to the curb or promote as saints.

    Ashley and Ivy, the two children of Liz and Clayton, their proverbial loves, losses, wins and paradoxical lives. On the Barrier Islands, it is an adventure living in Hurricane Alley, but those who do, love the tumult and the quiet of being off the beaten path. Their homes may be stable, but their lives, for good or for I'll, may be as roiling as the ocean right outside their doors

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Hurricane sisters

    Love love loved this book!!"

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Another great one

    Dorthea Benton Frank delivers another great read!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Always lots of laughs with the sassy southern gals!

    As always, Dorothea Benton Frank keeps you laughing for hours; combined with hilarious narrator, Robin Miles—what a dynamic duo! (I always buy the audiobook, when Robin is reading)!

    The one liners, the sarcasm, and wit ---priceless! These sassy, classy, crazy, smart, and charming Lowcountry Southern ladies, find their way through some tough storms of life, for the ultimate lazy summer day read--- keeping you smiling, engaged, and satisfied.

    Having read twelve of Frank’s novels, The Hurricane Sisters does not disappoint. The girls are back, this time around, featuring two younger Southern belles.

    Faithful fans, do not panic, the mom and grandmother are still in the mix, with their wise cracks, wisdom, gin and tonic, entertaining tidbits, and lots of mischief.

    Ashley Ann Waters (mid-20s) and Mary Beth Smythe are enjoying a season rent-free leisure in Ashley’s parent’s Sullivan beach home with a view to die for. One problem – they need money. Ashley is a gallery assistant who aspires to become an artist. Mary Beth, a gifted cook from Tennessee, works for a caterer while searching for a good teaching job. Though they both know what they want out of life, their parents barely support their dreams, and they both need income.

    Meanwhile, their parents and grandmother have issues of their own. There is trouble brewing with Ashley’s dad Clayton. Clayton is a very successful and wealthy investment banker. He has a pied-a-terre in Manhattan and up to no good with another woman.

    Liz (Ashley’s mom), is busy raising funds for her non-profit business, helping women from abusive men and domestic violence---protecting them with shelters, counseling, safe houses, and other resources. However, she suspects Clayton is up to something, and begins a plan to reel him back in. Has she been blind to all the clues?

    It would not be a party without Liz’s mom (Ashley’s grandmother), Maisie – the family matriarch, who has just turned eighty and is dating a younger man (her driver and owner of a llama farm)—they announce to the family at dinner, they have just moved in together. Let the fun begin!

    During the summer, Ashley begins dating the local Senator; however, she suspects he has issues. Good-looking and charming; however, he is not as he appears—so controlling. What will Ashley tolerate in order to catch this politician?

    Abuse and domestic violence--ongoing theme throughout the novel—Ashley/Senator, Mary Beth’s dad, Juliet’s former relationship, and the reason Liz is so focused on helping these victims.

    Will this family get back to the way they were before the death of Liz’s dead sister, Juliet, and weather the storm in the charming southern Lowcountry?

    As long as these belles have their cocktails, gourmet meals, pearls, and gloves, and make a good show of it -–they will pull it off!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2014

    The Problems are Hidden Dorothy Benton Frank writes novels

    The Problems are Hidden Dorothy Benton Frank writes novels primarily set in the Low Country of South Carolina, usually around Charleston. Typically, they are interesting and enjoyable stories. This novel, The Hurricane Sisters A Novel, touches on many social problems through several different characters. The writer has ingeniously infused the characters with problems, all of which lead to the surprising conclusion. The book begins slowly, but when the “family secrets” begin to be revealed, the story picks up and begins to move along. I do not recommend this book to young people. In my opinion, it touches on problems about which young people need not be reading. Unfortunately, many young people have seen these problems all too often. Frank, through this book, seeks to help with these issues and try to put an end to them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    This book about Author's cause..

    I, as a rule really like this authors work.
    I was anticipating her latest book.
    But, she was writing about a cause that meant a lot to her,
    Not to me.. I didn't find it a good read.
    Very disappointed..

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    hurricane sisters

    Excellent lowcountry story. it does include some real life information that does make a difference.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    You can always count on Dorothea Benton Frank to deliver a terri

    You can always count on Dorothea Benton Frank to deliver a terrific summer read to hunker down with on the beach. Her contribution this year is The Hurricane Sisters, which once again features a gorgeous cover.
    We meet eighty-year-old Maisie Pringle, celebrating her birthday with her driver-turned-boyfriend Skipper, who is a much younger (65!) man. He and Maisie are very happy together, much to the chagrin of Maisie's daughter Liz, who at first glance is kind of a stick-in-the-mud.
    Liz's twenty-something daughter Ashley lives in the family's somewhat rundown beach house on an island off of Charleston, South Carolina. Ashley works in an art gallery for ten dollars an hour and aspires to be an artist and visit Rome, Paris and New York. Her college friend Mary Beth can't find a teaching job, so she works for a caterer and lives with Ashley.
    Liz is married to Clayton, who works in finance and spends most of his week in New York City. They also have a son, Clayton, called Ivy because he is Clayton IV in the family. Ivy lives in San Francisco with his business and life partner James, and though his parents had a difficult time with the fact that he is gay (they sent him to a conversion camp when he was a teen), they all seem to have made their way back to each other.
    Ashley has a crush on a state senator, Porter, who is a bit John Edwards/John Kennedy-ish. She dreams of being his Jackie Kennedy, and when she meets him at an event and they start dating, it seems that her dreams may come true.
    But Porter proves to be very controlling. He tells Ashley how to speak, how to act, and is generally very critical of her. Mary Beth and Maisie warn Ashley about Porter, but Ashley makes excuses for his behavior. When one of Porter's ex-girlfriend's tries to warn Ashley, she chalks it up to jealousy until the situation worsens.
    Frank tackles the issue of domestic violence here, in a manner that may surprise people. South Carolina has the highest rate of women murdered by their husband/boyfriend, and Frank shows us how insidious domestic violence can be.
    It doesn't just happen to women who are trapped, have children to support and nowhere to turn. It can happen to an intelligent, educated woman from a good family who should know better because her mother works for a domestic violence program. Frank definitely gives the reader something to think deeply about, and even offers the reader a way to help at the end of the book.
    Of course, she still has her fabulous sense of Southern humor. I cackle at her one-liners, like this one from Liz, who says "Let me tell you, my friend, the gene pool is a mighty big place and like they say, there's literally no lifeguard."
    Frank also again has an interesting take on marriage, and how difficult it can be and how much care you must take to stay connected, like she did in her last book, The Last Original Wife.  And again, I got lots of great restaurant suggestion for my Charleston Pinterest board.
    There is so much in this fantastic book, told from the alternating perspectives of Maisie, Liz, Ashley and Clayton, that I would love to read a prequel, telling us more about Maisie, Liz and Liz's sister Juliet who died young. I feel there is an amazing story there as well.
    The only problem with my Dorothea Benton Frank novels is that they all have sunscreen on the pages from turning them so quickly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    Feel like this one was phoned in. Little or no character develop

    Feel like this one was phoned in. Little or no character development, stilted dialogue, and very little plot. Very disappointing. I have read all of her books, and loved them for many years. Feels like she has lost her passion. I sincerely hope not.  She has given me many hours of reading enjoyment. However, this time I kept looking at the page numbers wondering how much longer it was going to take for me to get through this book. Hoping for better next time.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Anonymous

    Horrible book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Not worth the price

    So disappointed in this book. The book's premise and characters had potential but she couldn't make it come alive. Flat, uninteresting characters. Predictable storyline. Dialogue unrealistic. I just got aggravated reading it because it was so poorly crafted. How did this get published!?

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  • Posted July 16, 2014

    Great book!!  Recommend Very Highly!!!

    Great book!!  Recommend Very Highly!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Not one of her better books

    Just not interesting. A chore to get thru. Characters annoying and not believable. Her other books are much better!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    A great summer read!

    This book kept my interest from the very first paragraph. The issues that confronted the sisters and their family were relevant to today's world. Reading about their approaches to these issues and how they worked to solve them resulted in a real "page turner" for the reader. I could hardly put down the book! This is another of Frank's terrific novels. I think everyone will enjoy it.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    She's back, great read.

    DBF has another winner. She just gets better and better. Love following the lives of the "sisters" as they prepare/repair their lives. Of course the setting is wonderful too. One of those books that you won't want to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Highly recommended!

    It was a very good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    couldn't put it down, great story, I  want to read all of her bo

    couldn't put it down, great story, I  want to read all of her books!

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  • Posted June 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    "My husband, Clayton and I were at the police station getti

    "My husband, Clayton and I were at the police station getting my mother, Maisie, out of jail for brushing up against the wrong side of the law. Her actual charges were still unclear. She claims it is not against any law in the state of South Carolina to take a llama for a walk on the open road. He was, after all, on a leash. The local police beg to differ, saying this is a case of animal cruelty, endangerment, and reckless behavior. Legal or not, it wasn't normal. I was glad they brought her in to the police station until I could get there because her behavior surely demonstrates a lack of sound judgement. Or not. Maiise was crazy like a fox and we all knew it. So I sat and waited while Clayton made things right between the Town of Mount Pleasant and Maisie writing a check.

    Anyway, the jailhouse may seem like an insensitive place to begin my story, but I think it's best if you know the truth about what my family is like. Too many times we all get introduced to people who seem perfectly nice and later on you find out they're cracked. So, like people used to say, I'm cutting to the chase and telling it like it is. Every single person in this family is highly opinionated. You wouldn't believe how smart and clever they think they are. And even after the hurricane and all we went through with my daughter, Ashley, Maisie still can't be trusted. And maybe it's a good thing." (Excerpt from Prologue).

    In the latest novel from best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank, The Hurricane Sisters, the reader is taken on a journey to the South Carolina Lowcountry through three generations of of women who each have their own family secrets that they have been kept hidden. From Maisie Pringle who at eighty years young still has as much spunk as her daughter Liz. Maisie is set in her ways and since she can't drive because she forgets where she has parked her car and at times what she is doing behind the wheel, her family has hired her a driver, Skipper, whom she has fallen in love with, a man twenty years younger than she is. Her daughter Liz and her husband Clayton are struggling within their marriage to remember just what brought them together and trying to decide if it's worth it to stay together. For their daughter Ashley, she is struggling to make it financially on ten dollars and hour while living in her parents beach house that is in a state of disrepair. If only she can live the American dream and marry a rich man, maybe her parents can get off her back and leave her alone.

    I received The Hurricane Sisters from Dorothea Benton Frank compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. This is certainly a believable story spanning three generations of women. Maisie is favored by the grandchildren because she understands how difficult it can be being parented by Liz and Clayton who are trying to force their kids to make their own way in the world despite being more wealthy than they can ever spend all their money on. They are dealing with their own identity crisis's when Liz becomes involved in a non profit dealing with helping abused women. Little does she understand how personal the cause will be when it strikes where she least expects is and fails to see the signs. The story behind the story is the realization on just how abuse among women and children are in this country and how little is being done to help the victims. Restraining orders don't help and often times the abused become murder victims of their own spouses and boyfriends. I think the awareness Dorothea brings to this is well worth the time to read the novel. I easily give this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    Good read for the summer

    This is another one of Frank's great reading for the summer. When reading this book, I wanted to place myself in the home down on South Caroline low county beach! This book brings the family in the Hurricane Sisters many problems; Liz's problems in her marriage; daughter Ashley dreams of becoming an outstanding artist; Ivy, her brother and his male companion; Liz's husband, Clayton who has his own problems; then there is Liz's Mother, 80 year old Maisie, who offers her share of advice. this is really a must read for the summer. You will enjoy all the characters!!

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Read it in a day!

    Southern charm and family at its best. Warm and wonderful.

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