Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Review: The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Hurricane Sisters PB

About The Hurricane Sisters

Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
 Paperback: 352 pages
   Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 7, 2015)

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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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My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

“And of course, I had on my single-strand pearls because the occasion called for something sedate.  Somebody in this drama had to be glamorous and I decided long ago that it was going to be me.”

“She manages money well.  My father used to say she could squeeze the balls off a buffalo nickel.” 

“I felt like a bloodless hologram, fading into the woodwork, the paneling imprinted on my skin.”

“If I had not thought that running down the steps to him would land me in bed in ten minutes, I would’ve run down those steps like a track star with my hair on fire.  My instincts told me to let him go.”

“But I love moonlight.  When I dream, this is what the lighting is like.  Just like this.  Light enough to see but dark enough to make you uncertain about the reality around you.”

“Then he kissed me like he used to and I felt a wave of something wonderful radiate through me like I just stepped into the warmth of the sun for the first time in years.”


My Review:

The Hurricane Sisters is undoubtedly the best family drama I have read in ages.  The story is told from multiple points of view of three generations of family members, and it never got old or confusing.  They are each interesting, peculiar, recognizable, lovable, hurting, and unique.  And despite the deep love they share - they are relatively awful to each other by default.  This sarcastic grouping of vodka, wine, and gin swilling Lowcountry Southerners fascinated me, I couldn’t put the book down and read it in a day.  Dorothea Benton Frank’s writing was clever, enthralling, easy to follow, achingly honest, painfully insightful, and highly entertaining.  More please.

Empress DJ

Dorothea Benton FrankAbout Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including Lowcountry Summer and Return to Sullivans Island. She resides in the New York area with her husband. Find her on the web at, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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