Dorthea Benton Frank is an author that I always seem to gravitate towards, likely because the Lowcountry of South Carolina is a favorite setting for many of her books. Recently, I picked up Porch Lights and just finished it last week, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it in case anyone is looking to snag a new read.
Here's the synopsis from the back cover:
When fireman Jimmy McMullen is killed in the line of duty, his wife, Jackie, and ten-year-old son, Charlie, are devastated. Trusting in the healing power of family, Jackie decides to return to her childhood home on Sullivans Island—a place of lush green grasslands, the heady pungency of Lowcountry Pluff mud, and palmetto fronds swaying in gentle ocean winds.
Thrilled to have her family back, matriarch Annie Britt promises to make their visit perfect. Over the years, Jackie and Annie, like all mothers and daughters, have had differences of opinion. But her estranged and wise husband, Buster, and her best friend, Deb, are sure to keep Annie in line. She's also got the flirtatious widowed physician next door to keep her distracted. Captivated by the island's natural charms, mother, daughter, and grandson will share a memorable, illuminating summer.
Now, as usual, I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I had a hard time getting into this one at first. The main reason being that I didn't really find either one of the POV main characters likable at all. The story switches back and forth between Jackie and Annie's points of view. They are a somewhat estranged daughter and mother respectively. Initially, I found Jackie, the daughter to be too harsh, rude and just not very appealing. Annie read like a characture of what someone thought a Southern Belle would talk like and I sort of found that hard to buy into and a little annoying. As the story went on, I got more into it and feel like the characters evolved. Annie started to feel less one dimensional and Jackie, while still not very likable, at least more tolerable. By the end of the book, I was glad that I'd stuck with it an finished it. It's a light, easy read, and while not my favorite Frank book, I did end up liking it a lot more than I thought I was going to. I'd give this one a 3/5.