August 19, 2012

Porch Lights: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank. {Book Review} ~ Melody Lima

A title like Porch Lights: A Novel sings to me, especially in the summer.

I spent a great deal of my childhood hanging out on porches in Cape Cod. This book was a must read for me.

This sweet and witty novel by Dorothea Benton Frank, the author of Sullivan’s Island (Low Country Tales) and Folly Beach, is about a mother and daughter. Told in Annie’s and Jackie’s alternating voices you can feel the light summer breeze and the hurricane winds churning as you read.

The daughter, Jackie, a military nurse serving in Afghanistan loses her husband in an awful fire back home in New York City. He was a member of the FDNY. Upon receiving this heart breaking news, she rushes home to Brooklyn, NY and her ten-year-old boy, Charlie.

After a relative expresses concern for Charlie’s well-being, Jackie travels to Sullivan’s Island to visit with her mother, Annie. With some apprehension about returning to her childhood roots, Jackie knows this is what both she and Charlie need to heal after such a devastating tragedy.

Jackie’s plan is a short relaxing visit. Then return to New York resuming their life in Brooklyn when Charlie returns to school in September.

Annie is very southern, very stubborn and has lots of motherly advice for Jackie. A lifelong resident of the low country of South Carolina, she is over the moon to have her daughter and grandson to fuss over and cook homemade meals.

Annie and Jackie enjoy conversations and cocktails on the porch becoming re-acquainted in this perfect beach setting. At first they do not completely understand each other’s lifestyle choices.

Throughout this book I am often reminded of disagreements with my own mother. I laugh at Annie’s constant dialog about the beach and the tide and her island. If you ask my mother about any New England hurricane, you will be listening to her stories for hours.

This story is a wonderful family reunion with lots of quotes and history on Sullivan’s Island’s famous resident writer, Edgar Allen Poe. Annie, a former school teacher, shares her love of Poe with Charlie.

There is even a cute doctor who lives next door. He is especially kind and understanding to Jackie when he learns that they have something in common.

For some light fun summer reading, while hanging out on the porch, Porch Lights: A Novel shines on family, friendship, and the joys of the beach.

Happy Reading!

Melody Lima is a yoga teacher and a mom who enjoys sharing observations on and off the yoga mat through writing. The older Melody gets the more simple everything appears. Contact her at [email protected]



Editor: ShaMecha Simms

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