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Pawleys Island (2006)

Pawleys Island (2006)
4.06 of 5 Votes: 5
0425204316 (ISBN13: 9780425204313)
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Pawleys Island (2006)
Pawleys Island (2006)

About book: I enjoyed the story. It was well-written with believable, well developed characters. However, I was somewhat disappointed in the book. Having lived in Pawleys Island for ten years, I was really excited to read this book. I had read _Porch Lights_ and could absolutely visualize Sullivan's Island so I was expecting the same thing. It was not anywhere near the level of _Porch Lights_. It was obvious that the author did not have the extensive knowledge of Pawleys that she does with Sullivan's Island and had not done very extensive research on the area. There were mistakes made, such as calling the schools there the "Waccamaw system." The schools are named Waccamaw (Waccamaw Elementary, Intermediate, Middle, and High School), but they are not a separate system from Georgetown County Schools. That's OK. That kind of thing is minor and would not make one bit of difference to someone who had never lived there. The thing I did find annoying, though, was her description of people's behavior during hurricanes. I know of no one who lived there who would have behaved the way her characters did, going to work in an art gallery that would have no customers during that weather and driving from Charleston to Pawleys to have dinner with a friend. Nor would any of the beachfront homeowners blithely have left their home unsecured just because they saw the Gray Man. They would have boarded up and brought all the furniture in from the porch before leaving and worried about their home. They would not just close the door and go to a house party. For these reasons, even though I enjoyed the story, I gave the book only three stars.

I am in love with the south, or at least my romanticized version of it. One day I will live there- perhaps when home values go back up in Michigan and we can sell our house. Until then, here I am in the North, dreaming of the south. I find myself in the same reading patterns every summer - reading books set in the south, Faulkner to Tennessee Williams (love him), to Connie May Fowler (another favorite), to Dorothea Benton Frank. There are no limits or limitations.This summer is no different. As soon as the weather began to change from the cool spring weather to the humidity of Michigan, I found my reading material shifting course. I picked this book up in the library, and fell in.What a wonderful world Rebecca landed in - and such good, influential friends she found immediately. Yep, this book was true escapism. The book begins by talking about how at times we all want to just run away, start over, become someone new somewhere else, leaving our problems behind. Rebecca runs away to start over, but her new friends help her to face what she is trying to leave behind. She just gets to do it from a condo on a Georgia coastal island, with rich friends. If I were going to run away and start over, this is how I would want it to work out for me too.Great book for daydreaming about island living in the south - makes you want an ocean view and a hammock if you don't have one, that is for sure!
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Kerry Hennigan
As I recall it, Pawleys Island was the first novel by Dorothea Benton Frank that I ever read. Reading it again recently I understand why I have been such a fan of her work every since.Rebecca Simms has come to the island to escape her past. She is a talented artist, and secures a job at a gallery which ends up representing her work.Art Gallery Valentine is owned by the delightfully eccentric Huey Valentine, whose good friend Abigail also befriends Rebecca. Abigail is a retired lawyer, and, as she gets to know Rebecca she comes to realise that her skills may be put to good use in helping her new friend.Told in a number of different first person 'voices' it is predominantly from Abigail's perspective that we follow the friends' quest to help Rebecca.I don't want to give too much away, but this book, even the second time around, had me delighting in its characters (especially Huey and his mother 'Miss Olivia') and its evocative settings - the island, the plantation where Huey and his mother live, and the South Carolina coast.These are all the sorts of things that Ms Frank does so well, and Pawleys Island is no exception to her usual captivating storytelling.
Always looking for writers that capture that unique southern feel, I stumbled upon Dorothea Benton Frank. As it turned out this was a surprisingly enjoyable read. Not only did it render that incomparable southern atmosphere with Pawleys Island and Charleston as backdrop, but it also provided us with delightful characters, well-established in the area, with ancestors going back centuries. I just loved the eccentric Huey and his entourage of family and friends.There were many captivating elements to this book: a nasty divorce case that is being tried in family court; that was so thrilling and had many comical situations. Then there are the unconditional friendships that were forged and the life-lessons the characters drew after suffering immense losses. It's in the healing process that the growing and self-reflection takes place - I liked that because it's often true. We only learn from our sorrows.Granted, the author did an amazing job - all with wit and good humor - bringing back to the forefront very important values like marriage vows, parental obligations, and that mutual respect in families should be high up there. All great stuff so easily forgotten these days.
I had a hard cover given to me as a gift by a friend since I am blessed to live in the paradise of Pawleys Island, at least until a hurricane blows me away. I might have enjoyed it more as a paperback since this kind of light, fluffy chicklit just isn't a book to keep but rather the kind you zip through on a dreary evening and then take to My Sister's Books to trade in for another quick read. Mrs. Frank doesn't seem at home in this part of the Lowcountry and doesn't capture the ambiance and character of the Blessed Isle as well as she does the Charleston area, so it is not her best novel. It was not great literature, but a quick entertaining read.
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