• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (June 9, 2015)
Lisa St. Clair knows a thing or two about weathering storms. A dedicated nurse with a healthy sense of humor, she single-handedly raised her truculent daughter, Marianne, after her ex walked out on them twenty-four years ago, sending them a lottery ticket once a year as support. One day he reappeared and lured their daughter into a dubious but lucrative venture in Colorado. Now mother and daughter aren’t speaking.
So when Kathy Harper, Lisa’s favorite patient, loses her battle with cancer, Lisa finds herself drawing closer to Carrie and Suzanne, the devoted friends who were always by Kathy’s side. As these three women’s lives inevitably connect, they share their concerns about men, getting older and the horrors of maintaining financial stability. Suzanne’s ninety-nine-year-old grandmother, a former chanteuse, offers unexpected perspectives on the mores of the day. Carrie’s greedy ex-stepchildren are a chorus of cackling crows. And Lisa’s mother just can’t help herself as she henpecks her to distraction.
Somehow their conversations always return to the enigma of Kathy. Who was she? What did her short life mean?
Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne power walk the beaches of the Isle of Palms with Pickle, Lisa’s adorable Westie. Gradually they uncover the truth of Kathy’s life and unfurl plans to secure their own futures, as fate steps in to help them discover that being single doesn’t have to mean being alone. Dorothea Benton Frank shows us that friendship is as powerful as the turning tide and that love is about more than just finding the right person. You’ll fall under the magical spell of the Lowcountry and of all the single ladies who have a whole lot of living to do.
This is not a book that I would have picked up of my own accord. When I sat down to read it, I initially rolled my eyes at the thick, southern drawl that dripped from the words. I thought I wouldn’t make it through.
But Dorothea Benton Frank isn’t a New York Times bestseller for nothing. This was my first time reading her work, and once I got past my own genre prejudices, I enjoyed the novel. It’s described as fast-paced, and it probably is for the characteristically slow-moving-Southern country, but I don’t know that I’d categorize it that way.
What Frank does very well, though, is convey the inter-connectedness of life and the strength of friendship. The relationship that evolves between Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne is well written and emotionally believable. I could identify with such, though I wasn’t able to identify with this theme of a second life that comes after one is divorced or widowed. This is probably due to my age and marital status, which sways my review a bit, but I hope that it doesn’t sway the potential reader that might be able to identify with such.
She also doesn’t shy away from topics that might make a reader feel awkward, like, say, the friskiness of some nursing home residents, but somehow the content fits well, especially if the reader has any experience with the South. Though I’ve lived in the South my entire life, I found myself blushing (maybe even a little grossed out) by such content, but a good writer evokes emotion— whether positive or negative.
Overall, I’m happy that I continued on with this novel. It was well written and aptly plotted. Even though Southern literature isn’t really my thing, there’s no denying this author’s talent. This is, indeed, a good beach read, especially for women who have experienced divorce or been widowed. I’d also recommend it for anyone that loves an easy read with a heavy Southern influence.
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.