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Bulls Island Hardcover – April 8, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews
Book 9 of 9 in the Lowcountry Tales Series

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In Twenty Years: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Will romance triumph over the feud between the aristocratic Langleys and the slightly lower-in-social-pecking-order McGees in Frank's latest Southern charm–filled romp? Though the answer is obvious from the get-go, the author fills this spirited tale with well-drawn characters, not the least of whom is formidable Charleston doyenne Louisa Langley. Betts McGee and J.D. Langley are uneasily headed to the altar—Louisa has a hard time with her son dating down. When Betts's mother dies in a car wreck, a generations-old grudge—abetted by Louisa—flares up, and Betts flees to Manhattan. There, she raises her son (J.D. didn't know she was pregnant when she left) solo and thrives in the distressed property turn-around business for a good 20 years until an assignment sends her back to Charleston to help develop a former wildlife refuge. The local partner in the venture is none other than J.D., who is now unhappily married and childless. Frank steers through several terrains with great aplomb as the story unfolds from both Betts's and J.D.'s points of view. Frank shines as Betts finds out if there's really no place like home. (May)
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Review

“A warming female-empowerment tale with a side order of southern magic.” (Kirkus Reviews on The Christmas Pearl)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006143843X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061438431
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just when you thought you couldn't go another minute without a Dot Frank novel, she gifts her readers with the perfect beach book. The charm of the Carolina low country is facing a crisis, and our native-born heroine, now residing in New York City, returns home to deal with the new venture, estranged family, and the former fiancé she never forgot.

Betts McGee hasn't been home in twenty years. A tragic event and a dark secret sent her away, but when her successful career sets her on the path home, Betts must face a past she not only longs for but also fears to face.

Told in the intimate first-person style by Betts and occasionally by former fiancé J.D. Langley, the story moves toward the expected conclusion with a few tiny twists along the way. The problem is that Betts is not an entirely sympathetic character mainly because we see her as a highly successful career woman dining at New York's finest (Per Se, Grammercy Tavern, etc.) and living in a posh condo with numerous amenities. We don't see but rather hear in retrospect, the way those lost twenty years played out, the struggles she must have had and the torments that must have plagued her guilty conscience. So, Betts is not an easy person to sympathize with, though I'm sure a fuller picture of her would have corrected this if only the author had given us a more intimate look at her immediately after the events that threw her world into chaos. By skipping ahead twenty years, we get a successful woman who once upon a time had a problem. Of course, the "problem" reappears and must be dealt with. Again, Betts gets off rather lightly and the negative feelings towards her are pretty much skipped over until all is calm and she is reassured she is forgiven for her youthful errors in judgement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a great plot one would expect the author to conjure up characters the reader might care about. Sadly, this "lowcountry" novel falls way short of the Pat Conroy tradition.

Perhaps it is the protagonist's voice that doesn't ring true or maybe it is the bizarre phonetic southern drawl pasted on some of the characters, but this really isn't a very good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found this story too contrived. It just didn't seem to flow as her others have. There were too many dysfunctional people populating the story and gaps in the history of how Betts went from being JD's girfriend to successful business woman as a single mom. I've always liked Frank's books with their warm Southern charm, but this one left me feeling cool.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is about an island that is truly a national as well as a state treasure. It seems a travesty to even write a fictional account about destroying it. This author does know first hand the Charleston area but fails to demonstrate that in this book. This bok is not worthy of the author of Plantation which was wonderful and I hope it is made into a beautiful full lenghth movie.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always, I continue to be Dottie's fan & wait for her next book as a child might wait for Christmas. Bulls Island is a decent read. I appreciated how the author spun ecology into some of the chapters. But... I could never get sympathetic with the main character, Betts McGee. I guess being from the South, it is hard for me to understand how true Southern women pick up a strange man at a bar for sport (exactly!). To make matters worse, Betts always had everything her self-righteous heart desired in the way of designer this & that. My impression of Betts? Snob Slut. The story was a bit too simple: it didn't take many pages to guess the father of her son. However, I wait for the next book... hopefully it will have more Southern flavor.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was one of the most entertaining and enjoyable books I've read on my Kindle yet. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, which were well developed and believable for the most part, and the reunion of the family members after several years apart was realistic. The "mystery" aspect of the novel takes a back seat to the romantic story telling but adds something unique to the story line that keeps the plot moving. If you like fun, sweet, family and (chaste) romance stories, then this book will not disappoint you.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm so glad I didn't buy this book. I have really enjoyed DFB's books in the past. Betts is the snarky main character and throughly dislikable. Maybe every author only has X number of books to write. This was a huge disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
Like a lot of the reviewers in here, I just love DBF's earlier books, Sullivan's Island and Plantation. I love reading about the Deep South, probably because I've only visited that area a few times in my life and it is different from the northwest corner of Ohio, where I live. I have read others of her books and it was with great eagerness that I requested this book from the library.

Somehow, it's not the same as her others. It feels shallower and has less character development and depth. It is a very fast-paced book but I didn't feel drawn to the love story of JD Langley and Betts McGee. The really annoying sister? Not all that annoying (believe me, the Southerners do not have the only grip on weird family tales). The mother-in-law from heck? Well, she really isn't all that fierce. I think what really annoys me is the lack of spine that every single one of the characters in this book has. The only real characters that I really enjoyed are Adrian, Betts' son and Sandi, Betts' assistant.

This story focuses on Betts who ran away from Charleston, SC, to NYC after her mother's death, leaving behind JD with a broken heart. After twenty years, Betts is called back to the south because of her company who is investing in real estate on Bulls Island, with JD's family company. Dreading the return to the south, Betts cover up her broken heart with a sarcastic sense of humor. Betts also returned home with a deep secret that is bound to be found out, just not in ways that she expected. When she sees JD again, their chemistry sizzles and flares up again, and they realize that their love for one another is as strong as it was two decades ago.

I am a bit disappointed because I have come to expect more from her writings.
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