Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank

I have enjoyed reading Frank's books in the past due to her interesting characters and family dramas but I felt that this book didn't quite live up to my expectations.
Cate Cooper is living in New Jersey with her successful but distant husband when her life turns upside-down.  Her husband commits suicide and she discovers almost immediately that he has been deceiving her.  He has been having affairs, has apparently fathered a child, and has run his business into the ground.  She is forced out of her home and, left with virtually nothing, returns to Folly Beach, South Carolina, to live with her eccentric Aunt Daisy and her live-in companion.  She manages to put her life back together and finds love along the way.
Frank adds a little extra to this novel:  a play about Dorothy and DuBose Heyward, who, with George Gershwin, wrote "Porgy and Bess".  Cate ends up living in their cottage and "feels" the spirit of Dorothy there. 
I can handle the supernatural parts of the novel because that's kind of fun (it is fiction after all) but I do want my characters to have realistic emotions.  My biggest beef with this book is that Cate heals emotionally so quickly from what would have been a completely devasting and overwhelming experience.  Her life has changes completely yet she blithely goes off and falls in love almost immediately.  There is very little indication that she is suffering emotionally.  It's just not realistic.
Other than that, the book was pleasing although I found the sections about the Heywards to be boring and tended to skim through them.  Also, I have to wonder if Frank has had a hard time with a daughter-in-law.  I thought that she was rather hard on Alice and felt sorry for her.


What I liked about the book:  I thought that the best part was Aunt Daisy and her "companion" Ella.  Frank shines when it comes to quirky characters.

What I didn't like:  I didn't like the play.  The concept was good but it needed to be better written.

Was it clean?  No, not really due to some language and some sex, not a ton of either but enough.

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