From Publishers Weekly
Honey, you think you've got a dysfunctional family. Anna Lutz Abbot wants you to sit yourself down with a glass of sweet tea and hear all about why her family takes the pound cake. Momma dies in bed (amyl nitrate) with the wrong man when Anna is 10. Daddy is a tightwad who does a better job of looking after other people's kids (he's a pediatrician) than his own. Paternal grandmother Violet is a German martinet who blames Anna when Everett Fairchild drugs, beats, rapes and impregnates her after the prom. Jim Abbot, who gallantly insists on marrying her, is gay, which is fine with Anna except that he's gorgeous as well as perfect and she craves more from him. Toss in Jim's harridan mother and Anna's daughter, Emily, who makes her first appearance in full goth regalia. Frank's brilliant stroke is to give her narrator a voice like nobody else. Oh, Anna's Dixie as all get out, madly in love with the South Carolina Lowcountry, especially the islands off Charleston, but she's no steel magnolia. A perpetually pissed-off curmudgeon is more like it; she actively prays for her grandmother's death and takes a hammer to Everett's Mercedes when he shows up to meet Emily. "You're my birth father, aren't you?" Emily says, in one of the few scenes to lack high drama. (Frank writes at a fever pitch, even when describing the decor of Anna's new hair salon.) The third Lowcountry novel (Sullivan's Island; Plantation) is sure to delight Frank's fans and win new admirers, although the story occasionally staggers under the weight of its mammoth cast.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Waggishly mixing high jinks with high drama, Frank brings to hilarious life the quintessential South Carolina low-country community of Isle of Palms, Anna Lutz Abbot's once and future home. Growing up there, Anna survived her mother's scandalous death, life with a domineering grandmother, a prom-night date rape that resulted in pregnancy, and a doomed marriage to her gay best friend. Despite its associated heartbreak, the seaside town represents the only place Anna feels she truly belongs, and her return launches a roller-coaster voyage of self-discovery. Aided and abetted by a quirky cast of supporting, and supportive, characters, among them the Misses Mavis and Angel, aka the Snoop Sisters, and Lucy, her surgically enhanced, blender-totin', party-gal neighbor, Anna discovers the wisdom in starting over before her past can pull her under and learns that the true nature of family goes far beyond any shared DNA. Sassy and smart, warm and true, Frank's characters are as real as a soft breeze on a summer's day. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved