Thursday, April 14, 2011
Lowcountry Summer ~ Book review
If you're a transplant, a born and raised Southern reader, or just interested in Southern families, this book is one for your *to be read* pile, without a doubt. You have to have the patience for this kind of story telling aspect, where you find out about the family and you walk through their situations in the slow Lowcountry of South Carolina.
I have to tell you that having finished reading it I kind of want to talk all Southern-like and say things like 'eah ... I reckon' ... and Lawamercy!
Now, mind you, this kinda talk is real Southern, and it isn't somethin' I hea' every day down here in NC. I think I just showed that to you since I can't even really type that way for too long!
Caroline is an interesting character who is a bit of a busybody, but in a good-hearted way (for the most part). She lives across the road from her brother Trip, at least it seems that they live across the way from one another. Their sprawling lots of land leave her traveling from one house to the other by way of golf carts!
Caroline often makes reference to her dear departed mama, who was a well known Queen in their community, and the inner voice we hear from her often questions exactly what Miss Lavinia would do when a situation comes to pass that makes her uncomfortable.
There are certain aspects of the book that dragged along for me, and I kind of wanted to skim over her flashbacks of the past, because I was so focused on the story in the present. I won't give anything away for those interested in reading this, as I am not a fan of spoilers, but there are some twists that are the heart and soul of the story for a section, and that part was some of the finest writing, in my opinion.
Trip and his not-yet-ex-wife Frances Mae have four daughters, and only one (Amelia) seems somewhat normal. Amelia and Eric (Caroline's son) are close, and their relationship seems normal and supportive. I love Eric and would love to see a spin-off story of his life and future. As for the other kids, Caroline is pretty harsh in her mind when dealing with those three. She's even downright cruel when it comes to Chloe, the youngest, who I felt loads of pity for, and honestly it turned me off from her character when she thought so rudely, harshly, and went against the Southern mentality she was trying to enforce on the girls, themselves.
As for the setting of the story, it's so well detailed I can almost picture it. The hospitality is incredible, and the way that the characters are always offering up food and welcoming people into their homes, that's beautiful.
Food was an integral part of this book, and I had hoped to find a recipe section at the end of it! I think had there been one, or had they been added to the story itself, it may have been a bit cliche', but at the same time it might have made the characters more real, and maybe made Caroline more human.
I will warn anyone who is a bit - ehem - prudish, that Ms. Caroline has some quite frisky (for lack of a better word) thoughts now and then, and though they were a huge part of her character and I didn't mind them, I'm not quite sure that they fit with who she was. I will add that I truly enjoyed Matthew and had high hopes for him from the get go.
And on a final note, the cover is so pretty. It really brings me to a dock off the land behind someone's home, with the boat ready to head out fishin'! And honestly, I only JUST noticed the sunhat on there - I think we could have done without it. It sort of blends in ... hmmn. Can't believe I missed that at first!
So while I won't say this was the best book I have ever read, I will say it was definitely enjoyable. I would probably pick up something else by the author. I will add that I have only just learned that this is a sequel to another novel [Plantation] by Ms. Frank, so I am not sure how that would have affected my reading experience had I actually known about or read it.
** I was not compensated in any way for this review. I received a copy of the book from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are truly my own. **