Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Lowcountry Summer

Lowcountry Summer by Dorothea Benton Frank

PBoldublication: March 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780062020734
ISBN: 0062020730

(Received for review from TLC Tours)

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Excerpt from Lowcountry Summer
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

"Happy Birthday? My pig farmer boyfriend was in absentia, the county sheriff was the current case of cause of some very naughty thoughts, my drunk sister-in-law was passed out at my kitchen table, and my dead mother had sent balloons. What more could a girl want?"

On the occasion of her 46th birthday, Caroline Wimbley Levine is concerned about filling the large shoes of her late, force-of-nature mother, Miss Lavinia, the former Queen of Tall Pines Plantation. Still, Caroline loves a challenge - and she simply will not be fazed by the myriad family catastrophes surrounding her. She'll deal with brother Trip's tricky romance entanglements, son Eric and his mysterious girlfriend, and go toe-to-toe with alcoholic Frances Mae and her four hellcats without batting an eye, becoming more like Miss Lavinia every day... which is not an entirely good thing.

Return with New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank to the South Carolina Lowcountry - as a new generation stumbles, survives, and reveals their secrets by the banks of the mighty Edisto River.


Bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank takes readers back to the South Carolina Lowcountry in her latest book Lowcountry Summer. Lowcountry Summer is the sequel to her bestselling book Plantation and readers have waited a long time to find out what happened to their favorite characters. As a southern lady, Dorothea Benton Frank has a real affinity for writing about the south and it's people. Readers will enjoy her wit and humor as she brings Tall Pines Plantation to life, with it's crazy family members and sticky situations.

It's Caroline Levine's 46th birthday and it isn't going according to plan. Her brother Trip and his wife Fannie Mae are splitting up, which isn't such a bad thing since Fannie Mae is Caroline's nemesis. Her son has a mysterious girlfriend who is older and has a child of her own. Fannie Mae's daughters are completely out of control and Caroline is still dealing with her mother's death. Tall Pines Plantation is hopping once again with some crazy family drama. Miss Lavinia has been dead ten years and Caroline feels it's up to her to right the wrongs of the family and get them moving in a better direction. But for all of her good intentions, each member of the family has to make their own decisions and they are always the ones Caroline would have made herself.

The sequel to Benton Frank's very popular novel Plantation has been highly anticipated for some time by readers who fell in love with the characters from the first book. Caroline Levine is southern woman who is trying to live up to the legacy of her mother, Miss Lavina who was a much loved character in Plantation. It's been ten years and Caroline has matured and become the matriarch of her very dysfunctional family. This is a book that is filled with family dynamics and some very interesting family members. The author portrays Caroline as the head of the family and as such she is continuously meddling in everyone's business, much like her mother before her. As a character, Caroline comes across as a bit snobby and more concerned about appearances than those in her family who need her. She is domineering and manipulative and certainly not how I thought Caroline would turn out. Though all characters can't be perfect I think Benton Frank may have gone a bit too far with Caroline's character. But, if you think about it, there is one of these kind of people in just about every family.

Surprisingly, Fannie Mae, Caroline's sister-in-law became one of my favorite characters in this book. Fannie Mae is going through a tough time. She is splitting up with Trip, Caroline's brother and she has four teenage daughters and her life to try an manage. Unfortunately, like many others Fannie Mae turns to alcohol in attempt to bury her problems. She and Caroline has always butted heads and now Caroline feels it's up to her to "save" Fannie Mae. To get into rehab and get her on the straight and narrow. But, Fannie Mae has tried this before and it didn't work. When she almost kills herself and her daughter Chloe, something has to be done. But as we all know. You can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. The author used the relationship between Caroline and Fannie Mae to showcase her wit and humor. The banter between the two of them is laugh out loud funny in some instances. Dorothea Benton Frank goes a great job of showing how alcohol can dominate your life and take over if given the chance. I think readers will appreciate Fannie Mae's struggle and the affect it has on her family.

I can't say that I enjoyed this sequel as much as first book, Plantation, but it was good. It was very different book than I expected. Lowcountry Summer changed the entire dynamic of the family and I felt that the characters in this one fell short. I think readers who are familiar with Dorothea Benton Frank's work will probably enjoy reading this one and perhaps had I not read Plantation first I probably wouldn't have been as critical when I read Lowcountry Summer. Readers who haven't read Plantation will probably be left out a little bit on the history of the family but I don't think it's completely necessary. The book is fast paced and has a lot of wit and humor. Some readers will really enjoy this one, others? Not so much. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea but there were definitely things I did like about it. I look forward to new books from the Lowcountry in the future.

Dorothea Benton Frank's next Lowcountry novel, Folly Beach will be released in hardcover in June. I'm excited to see what happens with this one.

Lowcountry Summer is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag! Just because it didn't float my boat, doesn't mean it won't float yours.

The South Carolina coast forms a lush backdrop for Dorothea Benton Frank's tales of cheatin' husbands, nosy neighbors and nutty families. But don't let the sand and palm trees fool you; Frank's very funny novels are smarter than the average beach read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's hard when you don't love a sequel as much as the original, but I appreciate that you're still a fan of the author and that you'll read more by her in the future - that's definitely saying something.

Thanks for being on the tour.