Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, this New York Times bestseller from the author of Queen Bee is the unforgettable story of one woman’s courageous journey toward truth…
Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan’s Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories. And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms. To the only place she can truly call home...
Frank's debut novel is a story of redemption set in South Carolina's steamy low country. Susan Hamilton Hayes's comfortable Charleston existence is shattered when she finds her husband in bed with another woman. Faced with a failed marriage, a confused teenage daughter and a mediocre job, she sets about the business of healing. Slowly, supported by visits to her sister in their childhood home on sleepy Sullivan's Island, Susan becomes a successful newspaper columnist, regains her confidence as a woman (despite a hilariously deflating date) and finally explores the death of her complex, abusive father decades before. Chapters alternate between the present and 1963, the year her father died, as Susan faces both the strength and the damaging effects of her family legacy. The ending - complete with a perfect suitor reemerging from Susan's youth - is almost too picture perfect to ring true but both the setting and the characters are blazingly authentic. Frank evokes the eccentric Hamilton family and their feisty Gullah housekeeper with originality and conviction; Susan herself - smart, sarcastic, funny and endearingly flawed - makes a lively and memorable narrator. Thanks to these scrappily compelling portraits, this is a rich read.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was my first Dorothea Benton Frank book. I read it after reading several Pat Conroy books. Ms. Frank doesn't have the command of language that Conroy does, but few do. Yet she tells a heartfelt story with wonderful characters that become a part of you. I read the last few chapters with tears in my eyes. What more can you ask for from a Southern writer. If you want a sense of growing up in the South, with all the ghosts and contradictions that continue to haunt us as adults, read this book. You'll laugh as much as you cry, which is also life in the South. Enjoy.
Very slow and too much reading, flipped more that half it, too long drawn out story, boring!!!!!
What a lovely book
This is a keeper that I plan to read again, probably soon. Sullivan’s island is truly one of the main characters in this book & a place I’d love to visit. Sisters, Susan & Maggie, are just what sisters should be. All of the characters, & there are quite a few, are as clearly drawn as if standing before me. Another WONDERFUL book by Dorothea Benton Frank. I can hardly wait to spend time immersed in another of her books.