REVIEW: THE HURRICANE SISTERS, BY DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK

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The novel begins with a peek into an eccentric, dysfunctional family headed by matriarch Maisie, who, at eighty, is very much in charge. Her quirkiness and her current love, a man named Skipper, who raises llamas, are on full display during her birthday party event attended by many, but especially spotlighting her own family: her daughter Liz and husband, Clayton Waters; their daughter Ashley, a budding artist who lives in the family cottage on Sullivan’s Island; and their son Ivy, nicknamed thus because he is Clayton Waters IV. His new partner, James, captures attention from them all.

The Hurricane Sisters: A Novel is set in South Carolina, in Charleston and on Sullivan’s Island, with a little visit now and then to Clayton’s New York apartment, where some unsavory happenings are taking place.

Narrated alternately by Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Clayton, we get an insider’s view of each family member, and before the tale has ended, we are rooting for the fun to be back in “dysfunctional.” Hurricanes are like another character in the story, and Liz’s work for domestic violence victims helps bring out some old secrets…and protects another potential victim.

The author does a great job of showing us what this family’s world looks like through great descriptions and internal monologues that made me feel that I was right there with them.

Cocky characters like a senator named Porter Galloway helped flesh out the issue of domestic violence, and the threat of an impending hurricane reminded us that bonding can occur at the most unlikely times. Another enjoyable story from a favorite author: 4.0 stars.

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