Blog Book Tour | “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton Frank

Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “The Hurricane Sisters” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Books to take a chance on:

I do admit, I like a well-writ family drama every so often, as I like to see how different family dynamics are written into fiction. Everyone has a different life from everyone else, but it is still inherently true to find similarities between us as well. The manners in which families are strongly attached to each other despite their flaws and otherwise bad attributes of personality; find a bridge of connection through as the bonds between the members are rooted and anchoured by love. Or at least you hope their connected through love, because there are all kinds of families out there, and it’s how they become a family that is less important than the fact that they are one.

Even close friends can feel more like family than your actual immediate family because especially in the case of women, sisterhood bonds of connection are as strong as an oak! Each writer has a different way of giving out a portrait of a family and a different way of attaching different threads of adversity to the family as a whole. I personally like to dig inside Southern Literature as often as I can, and although I have heard of Dorothea Benton Frank in passing, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading one of her novels.

The Hurricane Sisters first appealed to me to read whilst I caught sight of it by title alone: any girl or bloke who grew up with severe storm systems grievously wrecking havoc on their home state will be alerted to the word ‘hurricane’ whichever way to Sunday the word is implied or used. To me, it nearly felt as if the storms themselves was a method of inclusion and of connection — to where, despite the odds against it, this little vacuum of space might yield an incredible bond. I wasn’t quite sure what I would find inside the novel itself, even after reading the impressive synopsis, but I knew this much: the Low Country of South Carolina has called me before into it’s fictional folds and this time, I knew I’d feel as if I were re-visiting a favourite setting.

My favourite authors who set their stories inside South Carolina include Sherryl Woods of the Sweet Magnolia series and Rosina Lippi of The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square – two authors I can quite happily say I found at my local library who sparked a wildfire of hours encased inside their worlds!

Blog Book Tour | “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton FrankThe Hurricane Sisters
by Dorothea Benton Frank
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Literary Fiction

Published by William Morrow

on 4th June, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
7 April 2015 (P.S. Edition – paperback edition)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: HardbackTrade Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheHurricaneSisters

About Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including Lowcountry Summer and Return to Sullivans Island. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Discover Dorothea Benton Frank’s The Hurricane Sisters via SimonSchusterUK

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

My review of The Hurricane Sisters:

Reading The Hurricane Sisters is a bit like dipping inside ‘a conversation already in progress’ for which you’ve arrived a bit late as it’s progressed a bit past the pleasantries and landed smack dab in the middle of the jackfruit. The heart of the conversation is grounded in the belief that in order to best understand someone else’s family, peeling back the layers of what allows them to be blessedly unique unto their own can only fully be understood if their actions, habits, and quirky personalities are explained; up front and openly. The pace is set to a quick-step of dialogue and narrative, to where your feeling as though this is your second meeting, not the first arrival to the party!

Ashley is the misunderstood artist in the family whereas Ivy is the son his parents are still uncertain about how to accept due to how he’s living outside the pre-conceived dreams they had for him. Children have to live their own lives and follow their own hearts — not only professionally but in matters of love and marriage. Yet a lot of parents, such as theirs (Clayton and Liz) hold such a strong grip on where their own minds ferreted a route of happiness for their children’s future, they forgot to allow the children the free will of choice. Thus there is a deepening fissure of disconnection between the generations, even at a time in the grandmother’s life where a second chance of bliss and love enters her life in her 80s, the family is still focused on the unfilled dreams which were never meant to be achieved.

Shifting points of view between the characters themselves and the hours in which we have to tuck inside their world, Frank gives an honest impression of where each of them are as we arrive into their lives and how much Frank as a narrating ‘third voice’ (as it’s subtle yet noticeable) is hoping they will get up and over themselves before it’s too late for anyone to recognise a humbling truth wherein families need to accept each other just as they are and love each other without conditions.

I think Liz should have had a conversation with Clayton about travelling away from home and the temptations that can arise whilst your not even seeking them out. Honestly, he could have saved himself a heap of mischief, grief, and angst if he had been stronger in realising that sometimes you can put yourself in compromising situations even if you never fancied you would. Frank is open about how things just ‘happen’ right in everyday life, and it’s her characters who are attempting to come to terms with how their lives are evolving. Each of them are going through their own ‘coming-of age’ stage — even those who are either in mid-life or their golden years; they are re-developing who they are and where they are going next.

The Hurricane Sisters is very contemporary and has a bit of strong language and humour within it that isn’t quite my forte, but it is what is as it’s telling a story about a dysfunctional family in the midst of an epic meltdown of emotions whilst hopefully coming out the other end better for the discharge of distress. The only problem for me is that I found myself having trouble settling inside the story as it presented itself — there were chapters I enjoyed reading but overall, I felt a bit wanton for something ‘different’ than how it was being told. It was a bit too modern for me, as certain things slipped out that truly didn’t need to be said or could have been said a different way. Honestly, it has a good point within it’s foundation but for this reader, I simply waned interest partially through to the middle.

My favourite character by far is Maisie as she clearly had more on the ball than the rest of the motley crew! The narrator of the audiobook definitely nails her voice and her essence as you will find a special treat at the bottom of this post as I found an excerpt from Chapter 1 — all Maisie! Enjoy!

Reflecting on reading about the Low Country and my first Benton Frank novel:

I liked the approach Frank gives to her novel because it encourages you to be wholly true in your own life every chance you get, as you simply never know when a moment will wick off the clock and your needing to explain your own life and fam to a complete stranger who might have less interest in hearing the tale than you have in telling it! We all go through the motions of wondering if our lives are as quirky just this side of center from everyone else, but when you sit inside a novel whose punctually providing you a clue that others might have a harder walk than your own, there is a solace in reading the story! You get to nestle into the lives of Frank’s prose, set your mind on fire with bang-on Southern honesty where warts and all are out to see of a person’s character, and having the peace in knowing even eccentric families have a compelling drama to share with the rest of us!

She even managed to include a piece of high tech (i.e. Google Glass or whichever way it’s known; the eyeglasses that can route you on the internet, whilst taking pictures, video, and engaging yourself in phone call?) as a cheeky thread of modern life enveloping itself into the background. To prove that too many people place too much importance on tech and not enough on developing the communication they need to fix the relationships they have before they lose them completely. Technology is best used when it’s balanced against what you need and what you do not want.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.
This book review was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:
TLC Book Tours | Tour Host
Listen to an Excerpt of the Novel:

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.
See what I am hosting next on my Bookish Events!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Hurricane Sisters”, book synopsis, author photograph of Dorothea Benton Frank, author biography and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. The book excerpt via SoundCloud for “The Hurricane Sisters” and the commentary by Dorothea Benton Frank via SimonSchusterUK had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adulterous Affair, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Low Country South Carolina, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Sociological Behavior, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

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3 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton Frank

  1. Andrea (aka rokinrev)

    This is another book I read as an ARC win on GoodReads. I love DB Frank’s views on living in the South Barrier Islands. Her humor has bite…she calls it as she sees it. Any of her books are recommended, and Hurricane Sisters is wonderful!

    • Hallo, Hallo Andrea,

      For some reason, for my own tastes, I found The Hurricane Sisters to be a bit of a miss for me, but I definitely love the setting of the story, as the coastline between the Carolinas is a wicked good place to set a story indeed! I do agree with you, her humour has a unique bent on it for being ‘upfront and honest’ with a bit of a bite as you said yourself — however, I’m not sure if this is the right story for me to appreciate as a whole. It felt a bit ‘off’ as I read it, and when you find yourself not quite sinking inside a story, it’s best to duck out than try to force something that just isn’t connecting.

      Did you have another title by Frank you’d suggest I try instead!?

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