Review

Return to Sullivans Island

by Dorothea Benton Frank

Although Beth Hayes agreed to put her own post-graduation plans on hold for a year, she was not a happy camper. All her relatives had had their opportunities to follow their dreams, and she thought hers were being ignored. She knew she was being selfish, but that’s the way she felt. However, before long she began seeing some possibilities she had not anticipated. Cecily Singleton, Max Mitchell, Barbara Farlie and Woody Morrison are but a few of the characters who offered friendship, challenges and support, each in an exceptional way.

Beth gains confidence through landing not only a hostess job at a popular restaurant, but also a writing-for-pay job at the local newspaper. Editor Barbara Farlie hands her the freelancer’s dream job: writing a features column each week. Meeting land developer Max Mitchell leads her to rethink her commitment to non-commitment, and her friend Cecily Singleton is always nearby to offer food, drink and various other forms of solace as needed. Yet there is an inkling of danger or deception lurking about.

Could there really be ghosts of family members who cannot rest in peace? Does their unrest cause them to come and mess up the “haunted” bedroom? What secrets are there that Beth does not know…and will it benefit anyone if she tries to discover them? Why doesn’t Max want his picture taken, and why is Cecily trying to steer her away from him? There’s more than a little suspense as the tale unfolds and the characters grow into their prospective roles.

In addition to the familiar family characters --- you know the ones: the snooty aunt, the sweet sister, the family know-it-all, the hell-raising cousins --- Dorothea Benton Frank brings them all to life with the banter that goes on among them. From the cutting criticisms of the elders to the comfortable teasing between cousins, the author has mastered the art of writing conversation.

Some enjoy reading about places that they have lived in or that are familiar to them. Others are simply fascinated by certain settings and enjoy being beamed there by an author’s magic pen. I love the idea of living on an island, though the closest I’ve ever come was a 10-day trip to Hawaii. Frank’s series set on Sullivans Island off the coast of South Carolina continues to draw readers that take pleasure in her colorful characters and vivid descriptions of island life. As each adventure unfolds, the salty Atlantic air fills your nostrils, and you can feel the sand getting between your toes. Love it.

Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 23, 2011

Return to Sullivans Island
by Dorothea Benton Frank

  • Publication Date: April 27, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon
  • ISBN-10: 0061438472
  • ISBN-13: 9780061438479