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Shem Creek (Lowcountry Tales (Paperback)) Paperback – January 3, 2006

4 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews
Book 4 of 9 in the Lowcountry Tales Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frank (Isle of Palms) delivers another novel rich in the charms of smalltown South Carolina, the fourth in her bestselling Lowcountry series. Linda Breland, a single mother tired of living hand-to-mouth in New Jersey, decides to move herself and her two teenage daughters to her distant hometown of Mount Pleasant, S.C., where her sister, Mimi, still lives. Linda's straight-shooting style impresses local restaurateur Brad Jackson, who hires her to manage his restaurant; hints of a future romance are about as subtle as a kitchen fire. Frank easily, breezily shifts among her multiple first-person narrators. In Linda and Mimi, she explores two very different lives: Mimi is divorced, childless and neat as a pin; Linda is outspoken, maternal and frank about her teenage pregnancy and youthful marriage, which fell apart when her husband's mid-life crisis sent him into the arms of a younger woman. Similarly, Linda's daughters—dependable Lindsay, who is starting college in the fall, and smart-mouthed Gracie, whose penchant for hanging out with the wrong crowd helped fuel her mother's desire to move—offer a marvelous sibling contrast. The strong pull of friendship, the leisurely pace of a tiny, waterfront Southern town, and the steady buildup of romance help buoy Frank's well-drawn, memorable characters in the face of life's challenges.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Fans of Sullivan's Island and Plantation will not be disappointed."

Dorothea Benton Frank represents the best of fiction. ("News and Record" [Greensboro, NC])

Product Details

  • Series: Lowcountry Tales (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425207587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425207581
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author of sixteen 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 and children - not always necessarily in that order. My most recent, ALL THE SINGLE LADIES (William Morrow) went on sale June 9, 2015. Love to have company so come visit at www.dotfrank.com 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dorothea Benton Frank continues her books about life in the Low Country of South Carolina and gives voice to the middle-aged woman who needs to start over. At a book signing with the author that I attended recently, she said that a large segment of our population is made up of people who find themselves at a dead-end in middle age. Whether through divorce, death of a spouse, or never having married, these people need to forge a new path and make a better life for themselves.

Linda Breland is such a woman. A divorced New Jersey mom of two teen daughters, she is finding living from paycheck-to-paycheck frustrating and unfulfilling. Missing the closeness she needs to have with her daughters and depressed by her dead-end job, she is horrified to find contraceptives in her fifteen-year-old's makeup bag. At the end of her rope and desperate for a simpler life, she packs the family up and drives from New Jersey to her native South Carolina. There she finds the support system she needs in the form of her sister. Then she finds a job managing a restaurant and widens her circle of friends with some delightful characters, not the least of whom is restaurant owner Brad Jackson who has a rather messy marriage in his past and a teenage son.

How Linda learns to jumpstart her life, make friends, and find a deeper mother/daughter bond with her daughters makes for a light but uplifting read for everyone who has thought, "I deserve better!"

A special bonus for devoted readers of Dorothea Benton Frank is that some favorite characters from SULLIVAN'S ISLAND and ISLE OF PALMS make cameo appearances in this one.

My only complaint with this novel is the ending was evident from the very beginning. I would have liked to have had more of the unexpected. Though not as riveting as Frank's earlier works such as SULLIVAN'S ISLAND and PLANTATION, this was a nice and refreshing look at life in the changing lane.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, liked PLANTATION, ISLE OF PALM was ok,but SHEM CREEK is simply a poor book. Linda Breland divorced

mother of 2 moves her family to her hometown Shem Creek. The

story goes down hill from there, she moves in with her sister, finds a job, falls in love. The plot was mainly boring and and the characters struck me a being false. Maybe there are people who talk that way but I don't know them. In anycase save your money and wait for the paperback.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fun read ~~ while not on par with Frank's other books, it is still a fun read. This one has more dialogue than descriptions than the others ~~ which is why I gave it a three instead of a four. I love reading about the lush scenery in her other books and was disappointed that this one didn't have it as much. I love reading the descriptions of the food, the people and the history of the Lowcountry ~~ and this book barely skimmed on any of these. It has a more of a hurried feel to it ~~ like the author is racing to the last page. That is my opinion though and don't base your call on buying this book on that! It is just an observation!

Linda moves back to Mount Pleasant, S.C. where she had grown up. She has two daughters ~~ one entering college in the fall and one who is a junior in high school. She is divorced from her accountant husband ~~ also fighting him for the lack of attention that he pays the girls. She moves back to Mount Pleasant ~~ figuring there is no place like home. She finds a job as a restaurant manager in this restaurant that is a hole in the wall ~~ called Jackson Hole and owned by two men, Robert and Brad. Brad is a single dad estranged from his wife in Atlanta and after a tragedy, he is raising his son.

The book is based on Linda and her adventures in returning home. It is based on her relationships with her daughters and other members of the restaurant staff. It is an easy read and sometimes funny in spots ~~ you won't regret reading it. It's a light book and perfect to escape those doldrums that might be bothering you.

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Format: Hardcover
If I had my life to live over again, I would live it as a "geechee" (native of South Carolina's Low Country), but reading Dorothea Benton Frank is the next best thing.

In her newest novel, Shem Creek, Dottie once again introduces us to a hilarious and heartwarming mix of Low Country superstars, each of whom breaks the mold in unique and wonderful qualities. There's our heroine, Linda Breland, single mother of two teenaged daughters who moves back home from decades in New Jersey in hopes of taming her younger child and finding some peace of mind. There's her fabulous sister Mimi, the Martha Stewart of Shem Creek, perfect in every single way and enough to drive you crazy if you fold the napkins wrong. There is young Gracie, 16-year-old daughter of Linda, and enough to turn any mama's hair pure white overnight. There's big sister Lindsay, about to start college and leave her mother for the first time.

And then there is the drop-dead wonderful cast of "Jackson Hole," a local restaurant where Linda gets a job--and promptly finds herself interested (although she denies it) in her boss Brad.

What I love about this book, and about ALL of Frank's books, is that she is not afraid to describe the very deep love between women--sisters, mothers and daughters, best friends, aunts and nieces. And she has unabashedly happy endings, and what, exactly, is wrong with that? Her take is that the entire South Carolina Low Country is a place of magic where all things are possible. And you know what? I believe her!

Pick up the book and lose yourself in some fabulous geechee charm.
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