Dorothea (Dottie) Benton Frank, author of the New York Times bestseller Sullivans Island, which tells a story of love, loss, family, and history as it follows the life of Susan Hamilton Hayes, just came out with a sequel to this book called “Return to Sullivans Island“.
In Return to Sullivans Island, Ms. Frank once again takes her readers to the magical landscape of South Carolina to tell the next generation’s story.
Whether you were away from the Lowcountry for a week or for years, it was impossible to remember how gorgeous it was. It never changed and everyone depended on that.
Newly graduated from college and an aspiring writer, Beth Hayes craves independence and has a world to conquer. But her notions of travel, graduate study, and writing the great American novel will have to be postponed. With her mother, Susan, leaving to fulfill her own dreams in Paris and her Aunt Maggie, Uncle Grant, and stepfather, Simon, moving to California, Beth is elected by her elders to house-sit the Island Gamble. Surrounded by the shimmering blue waters of the Atlantic, the white clapboards, silver tin roof, and confessional porch have seen and heard the stories of generations of Hamiltons. But will the ghosts of the Island Gamble be watching over Beth?
Buoyed by sentimental memories of growing up on this tiny sandbar that seems to be untouched by time, Beth vows to give herself over to the Lowcountry force and discover the wisdom it holds. She will rest, rejuvenate, and then reenter the outside world. Just as she vows she will never give into the delusional world of white picket fences, minivans, and eternal love, she meets Max Mitchell. And all her convictions and plans begin to unravel with lightning speed.
There is so much about life and her family’s past that she does not know. Her ignorance and naivete nearly cost her both her inheritance and her family’s respect. But Beth finds unexpected friends to help her through the disaster she faces: her wise and charming Aunt Sophie; Cecily Singleton, the granddaughter of Livvie Singleton; and Woody Morrison, the solid young investment banker.
This wonderful ensemble of characters could be your own family, but watch what unfolds as they succumb to the island’s spell. If everything happens for a reason, then Beth’s return to Sullivans Island teaches her that betrayal and tragedy are most easily handled when you surround yourself with loyal family and friends in a magical place that loves you so much that it wants to claim you as its own.
I haven’t read the first book, but this book stands alone- in my opinion. Ms. Frank definitely captivated her readers by the lightheartedness, if at times quirkiness- of this tale about Southern island life. I love the way she vividly describes the characters- clever and unexpected. Some parts of the story seem a bit predictable but other than that, this book is a lively summer read.
Thank you, MotherTalk for giving me a chance to review this book!