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This book was a gift from my stepmother who lives in Charleston and it took me a few years to finally pick it up and read it As a Charleston native I am always a little skeptical of books that are about Charleston The fact that the author is from Charleston too and went to my high school, Bishop England, made me want to read the book Frank definitely understands the lay of the land in Charleston and what it s like to grow up in the Lowcountry I could relate perfectly to this era and elements like having black housekeepers like Livvie who knew all the family secrets and were part of the family The book is full of crazy characters and high drama some of it believable, other parts a little far fetched All in all, a good Summer read with enough reality to make it believable and enough surprise to keep you turning the pages. Phenomenal family saga I was hooked from the very beginning, could not put this book down and I did not want it to end Dorothea Benton Frank is a very gifted storyteller It s rare, for me at least, to read a book and resonate with characters, feel connected with the story and to feel with the characters so that I laugh, shed a tear or stop to ponder some bit of wisdom that was said I highly recommend Sullivan s Island While reading Sullivan s Island, I was reminded of what could be considered similar books Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin and in some ways, the YaYa Sisterhood books by Rebecca Wells SO, you get 3 book recommendations in one review Well, as I ve mentioned before, I have committed myself to quite a bit of reading lately I don t usually do that, as I m one who prefers to just pick up and read whatever strikes my fancy at that particular moment in time But, as a result of a round robin I m involved with, I recently received some titles that I probably wouldn t have picked up if left to my own devices Sullivan s Island by Dorthea Benton Frank is one of those While it was a New York Times Bestseller, the pastel artwork while a beautiful cover and the cover blurbs from Pat Conroy and Bret Lott left me the impression that this would be some melodramatic, mushy women s fiction novels that I find tedious and tiring no means to offend these authors or their loyal fans Now I know this is so clich , but that old axiom that we should never judge a book by its cover is true this may well be one of the best books I ve read all year Frank s sense of place is so detailed and descriptive, I could literally smell the salt air Okay so, I live at the beach, but still Each and every character in this story became real for me, and the story flows so well, it s hard to believe this is Frank s debut novel.Set in South Carolina s low country, the story follows Susan Hamilton Hayes on her life s journey, as she faces an uncertain future and comes to terms with an often tremulous past The chapters of the book alternate between 1963 Susan s 13th year and the present day 1999 When we meet Susan, she and her teenage daughter, Beth, are heading back to her family home, The Island Gamble, to spend some time with her sister and come to terms with the dissolution of her marriage and her estranged husbands infidelities With the steadfast support of her sister Maggie, Susan wades through the events of her current situation with grace, humor and a steeled determination I loved Susan s attitude, having found out that Karen the New Age twenty something that is Tom s Susan s husband mid life crisis was talking to Beth about their sex life, Susan left the following message on her machineTiger Woman This is Susan Hayes calling Kindly confine the bells and whistles of your sex life with my husband to conversations with other adults Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to educate my daughter about the joys of illegal cohabitation My daughter is a minor and does not need to hear about how her father and his concubine thrill each other The minute descriptions of your repugnant gymnastics are of no interest to either one of us If this message needs any clarification, you may call me If this continues to be an issue, my lawyer will call you You ll find concubine and repugnant in the dictionary if you own one which I seriously doubtpg 225 Now THAT s funny The other story Susan has to tell is one of her childhood, growing up a Geechee girl and the beauty and heartache that that entailed As one of six children, brought up with an abusive father, a weak mother, a crazy grandmother and a wonderful, strong Gullah woman, Livvie, the reader is transported to 1963 in a tale of love, pain, heritage and home The scenes the author paints are vividWe were our own parade We cast long shadows on the soft, wet sand, bulked up by the towels thrown over our shoulders Our footprints formed and irregular trail An occasional sun worshipper would glance up from her paperback novel and remark on our passing to a friend in the beach chair next to herpg 77 Sometimes infuriatingI could hear Timmy crying as the belt cracked across his back I passed the top of the steps and saw my mother sitting at the bottom, whimpering She would do nothing about it I looked at her and she looked away She was terrified of Daddy when he was like this I was too furious to be terrifiedpg 204 Often times wickedly funnyReaching for his toothbrush, I looked at it and realized he d been brushing his teeth for someone else for a long time I don t know what possessed me to do it but I dunked it in the toilet That pleased me so much that I rubbed it around the inside rimpg 8 And always completely honest and engagingIt was unfair that trouble consumed you in landslides and understanding arrived with the miserly drip of a faucetpg 252 I absolutely loved every word of this endearing, relentless tale I cannot praise it enough. I enjoyed reading about steamy and stormy Sullivan s Island off the coast of South Carolina, so different from our beautiful mountainous desert My favorite character was Livvie, a descendant of African slaves, who lovingly worked for and cared for a dysfuntional Southern family Here are some sentences from the book that suggest Livvie s sage and spiritual views Her passion for righteousness was stronger than our frenzy Livvie said, When folks around you do crazy things, it s the devil trying to distract you from your purpose Livvie also said, When you let your mind dwell on trouble, you can t be doing what you needs to be doing, and when trouble come knocking on your door, you turn your mind to the Lawd, Livvie, if you had a chance to do something really big, would you do it Chile, I am doing something really big I m praising Gawd every day This is what the author said about Sullivan s Island, Once the sand of Sullivan s Island gets in your shoes, your heart will ache to return. I ve read one other book by Dorothea Benton Frank, and I really enjoyed it I picked up Sullivan s Island at the YMCA lending library and I felt like I was reading the same book, or at least a variation on that book.Strong middle aged female gets dumped by her husband of many years for a sweet young thing There s a lot of rehashing of the past, which is the only thing that made the book worth reading The 1960 s south always makes for good reading I adored Livvie and the fact that Susan s family, or rather her mom and dad weren t bigots and actually built a special bathroom for her, rather than making her use an outhouse was great If you read The Help or saw the movie, this will make a lotsense Most of the book that takes place in the present, details Susan coming into her own, and coping with her divorce from Tom And seriously, why does this woman give her cheating men cancer, and make them absolute twits too There were several times when I was reading about Tom and his sweet young thang, Karen, that I wanted to fling the book at a wall.Not only that, I found myself wondering where in the hideeheck, the twins were during Christmas 1999, when all the Hamilton clan returned home Maggie, Susan, Henry and Timmy were there, but what about the twins WTF Overall, I enjoyed the book, even though it frustrated the hell out of me and the paranormal ending, which was sweet, also didn t fit with the rest of the story. From the jacket 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 My reactionsI know that Frank writes chick lit, beach books, so I wasn t expecting great literature, and my expectations were met The problem I had with the book comes from Frank s attempts to tell two stories the contemporary 1999 story of Susan s failing marriage, and the 1963 story of Susan s childhood and the loss of her father Neither story is sufficiently fleshed out to be satisfying, and I wish she had chosen one or the other to tell Still, it s a fast read, and I liked the relationship between Susan and her sister, Maggie I could have done without the seemingly forced Gullah dialect And without the mirror that apparently allows one to communicate with the dead On the other hand, there were a few scenes that were just priceless I especially loved the scene where the housekeeper Livvie is drinking Coke from one of Susan s mother s best crystal goblets, crystal that NO ONE drinks from Momma saved that crystal in case President Kennedy decided to come for dinner. I had to laugh aloud, thinking of my own mother s special china I might read another of Frank s book if I need a quick read for a challenge, but I m in no hurry to do so. A truly immensely enjoyable read This is Dorothea Benton Frank s first successful book and I can see why it launched her career She writes from the heart and from what she knows, having grown up right where the story s set South Carolina s low country, where this story follows Susan Hamilton Hayes on her life s journey, as she faces an uncertain future and comes to terms with an often stirred up past The chapters of the book alternate between 1963 Susan s 13th year and the present day 1999 When we meet Susan, she and her teenage daughter, Beth, are heading back to her family home, The Island Gamble on Sullivan s Island, to spend some time with her sister and come to terms with the dissolution of her marriage and her estranged husbands infidelities With the steadfast support of her sister Maggie, Susan wades through the events of her current situation with grace, wit and a steeled determination I loved Susan s attitude how she handled her separation and how she reflects on it with wisdom and maturity.I simply adored the chapters recapturing the Hamilton kids youth, one year in particular 1963 The year, their help, Livvie came into their life Livvie s a magnificent character, a tall, strong willed and wise woman Loved her every time she opened her mouth, whether it was to stand up to the kids formidable, but abusive father, or to share her strong belief in goodness and in God The Hamilton kids, Maggie, Susan, Henry and Timmy were resilient and good natured, but also genuine children, who liked to play pranks 1963 was evensignificant as it was the year their Daddy died in a car crash More than ever now, Susan believes that car crash was no accident.This is a wonderful read I savoured each page, and I d surely recommend it to my friends Personally, I can t wait to readbooks by this author. If I didn t live in South Carolina, I don t know if I would get into the setting and book as much as I did, but I LOVED this book The character development is so good that I wanted to be best friends with the main character She is so witty and funny that I found myself laughing out loud while reading I loved the drama and emotion of her childhood story and I LOVED Livvie It was just a great bookfun to read and I can t wait to read the sequel. This is one of those books I often share with folks who want to knowabout the lowcountry of SC Franks is one of my favorite authors for catching a flavor of the area, and as she is a popular writer, I have about eleventy billion of her books on my BookCrossing shelf Sullivan s Island is a one of our sea islands surrounding the Charleston peninsula I live on one across the harbor from it James Island It is a beautiful beach, setting for Poe s The Gold Bug, and also the location of Fort Moultrie, which was important in our Revolutionary War Dottie Frank was also a few years ahead of me in high school we went to an all girls boarding school called Ashley Hall How s THAT for Southern I do have to say, though, I get a little bored with books about a woman of a certain age returning home to come to terms with herself her mother her father or some injustice, and being nurtured by the land and a solid, almost mystical black woman who has played a huge role in her life Just sayin. ^Download Ebook ↭ Sullivan's Island ⇬ The New York Times Bestseller In Paperback For The First Time Set In The Steamy, Stormy Landscape Of South Carolina, Sullivan S Island Tells The Unforgettable Story Of One Woman S Courageous Journey Toward TruthBorn 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