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The Christmas Pearl Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 23, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Book Club (BCE/BOMC edition (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061438448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061438448
  • ASIN: B001RTS99C
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With her truculent family gathered at her stately Charleston mansion for Christmas, 93-year-old matriarch Theodora is having a hard time tolerating the lot of them. Theodora hankers for her 1920s childhood, when Pearl, the family's stern black maid, enforced strict houshold discipline and took no guff while working hard at Christmas, all the while singing gospel favorites such as Come en Go wid Me. When Theodora's usual maid is called away, Pearl herself (as a ghost) blows in, ready to set the house in order, She unearths the antique crèche and other Christmas heirlooms long buried, and altering the family's general bad temper. Frank (The Land of Mango Sunsets) includes homegrown recipes that further sweeten this Lowcountry holiday confection. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Bestselling author DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She and her husband divide their time between South Carolina and New Jersey. Please visit her website at and join her on Facebook.

More About the Author

I am the author of fourteen novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina and thanking God for my chance to speak. When I'm not writing, I'm reading or gardening or cooking. Love to travel, shoot the breeze with people and most of all, be with my husband, children and dog - not always necessarily in that order. THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE (William Morrow) goes on sale June 11, 2013. Love to have company so come visit at or on Facebook. And by the way, serious huge gushing thanks for everything - your kind words, posts and emails. Writing saves me, but without your support it wouldn't mean as much. (So I'm a little sentimental - big deal.) xxoo Dot

Customer Reviews

Really enjoyed the book, it was an easy read.
Her books are really good, she always gets my attention and when I finish the book I always hope it wasn't finished, I long to keep reading her.
Last year, I bought the audible version and it was even better than reading the book.
Melony Whitfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ninety-three years old Theodora still lives in her family home in Charleston just like her mother and grandmother did before her. Although the bones ache and the memory is not quite as keen as it once was, she still her faculties and wants to throw a Christmas gala for her family like the ones her mom used to host back in the 1920s. No one wants to attend, but none disappoint Theodora as the nonagenarian is the recognized family matriarch.

Thus the disgruntled family invades Theodora's Charleston home, but the gala is not anything like what she remembers as the stores do the baking (pre-packaged fruitcake is heresy) and the decorations come in packages instead of the family making them. Even more significant is where is Pearl, her grandmother's long deceased housekeeper, to serve as a drill sergeant making the truculent attendees behave and sing carols while the servant sang gospels? This is Christmas so sometimes a bit of magic is needed, this time Gullah magic, occurs. The ghost of Pearl arrives to bring order to the chaotic troops and Theodora takes out family Yuletide heirlooms hoping to bring good cheer to this distempered group.

THE CHRISTMAS PEARL is a lighthearted whimsical holiday family drama that fans of Dorothea Benton Frank's Lowcountry tales will appreciate. The novella stars an interesting elderly person who believes her family fails to understand what Christmas means and also wants nostalgically to catch a little of her past. With mouth watering recipes to round out the tale, readers will enjoy this fun holiday tale.

Harriet Klausner
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on December 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Never was a family more in need of healing than the family of Theodora. The South Carolina matriarch gathers her daughter, son, their spouses as well as their adult children and grandchildren for the Christmas holiday. All are battling personal demons and not in the best of moods. Theodora, however, at the age of 93 realizes this could be her last Christmas and longs for a traditional Christmas like she remembered in her youth. The live tree with its nostalgic ornaments, fresh greenery draping the halls, the manger set in the front yard, and the family Bible on the table opened to the recounting of the first Christmas in Luke are what Theodora has in mind. Enough of letting her offspring get away with an aluminum tree filled with garish ornaments and no room for a manger set.

It will take a visit from Heaven to restore this family's well-being and make them understand the true meaning of peace on earth, good will toward all. And a visit from Heaven, with lots of Gullah magic thrown in, is exactly what Dot Frank gives her readers. You'll slip easily into the Christmas spirit as the heavenly Pearl turns the dismal house into a holiday wonderland and you'll pick up loads of ideas for decorating yourself. Did you know that corn oil is the best way to make magnolia leaves shine or that soaking rope overnight is the key to a gorgeous garland? One word of caution: this book will make you ravenous for holiday goodies. I became exceedingly hungry while reading this in the car as we headed to my mother-in-law's for a pre-Christmas visit. I was glad to find fifteen delicious recipes at the end of the story, all the favorites Theodora's family was able to enjoy. Everything from the she-crab soup and cheese straws to mint juleps, glazed and fruited ham, and more is there in easy-to-follow recipes. So pour yourself a cup of Christmas cheer and curl up with this delightful fantasy and make a wish for your own Christmas Pearl.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
There's little that will get you into the holiday spirit as quickly as this warm story of a family at Christmas time. The audio opens with a carol sung by a choir and then eases into the voice of Theodora, a Charleston matriarch. Her narrative is winningly rendered by Celia Weston, an American stage, screen, and television actress who is well known for her character roles. Noted for her performances as Southern women, she brings a slight South Carolina accent to this reading and a mature voice, quite appropriate for a 93-year-old woman. Very pleasant and authentic listening!

Thoedora, who describes herself as an "old nanny goat" but one who would prefer to be referred to as a "stylish dowager." has managed to gather her family for Christmas. Now, she may be a nonagenarian but she's a feisty one even though her bones creak "like loose floorboards" when she wakes up in the morning. It takes only a minute for her to realize that this celebration will be nothing at all like the ones she remembers - peaceful, loving, happy as everyone enjoyed the cooking and care of housekeeper, Pearl. While Theodora certainly realized that the world had dramatically changed since her youth, she was distressed to see her family at odds and apparently unaware of the true meaning of

But, what in the world, if anything could she do to bring them all together?

This audio edition includes 14 tempting recipes that you can print.


- Gail Cooke
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By puppy's gal on February 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love Dot Benton Frank's books and think of them as books with wonderfully curious characters, humor, sorrow, and tremendous charm of place. Usually the book focuses a great deal on her protagonist and leaves the other characters thinly developed. I felt this book while filled with tremendous holiday warmth and charm was just too thin on character development even for Dot Benton Frank books which I usually give very high ratings to, accepting them for what they are...great fun and fast paced and filled with charm but not huge literary achievments in writing or character development. I realize that was a long sentence. Still...the characters in this book made me think of my childhood and special people that I wish would come back even just for a day. I think the book really hit the nail on the head emphasizing just how materialistic our holidays have become and how we rush around and forget that what is most important are people and being together with those we love. I loved this book even though I gave it a 3 star rating and I can't wait to read it again next Christmas just for the sheer warmth of feeling and charm. My problem with the book was the characters changed overnight in a way that nothing other than Christmas magic could have accomplished. Lots of charm and warmth here but super thin on plot and character development so for that I gave it a 3.
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