Of the many barrier islands that pepper the coast of South Carolina's Lowcountry, Pawleys Island, the "arrogantly shabby" family playground for generations, might be the most mysterious and charming of them all. It is here and in the surrounding area that Dorothea Benton Frank has placed her latest Lowcountry tale, Pawleys Island.
Meet Huey Valentine, the owner of Gallery Valentine, catering to interior decorators and, heaven save us, tourists. Huey resides on his family plantation on the shores of the Waccamaw River, where he cares for his mother, Miss Olivia, a wise and irresistible octogenarian. And meet Huey's great friend Abigail Thurmond, retired attorney from Columbia, who has laid claim to her family's home on Pawleys Island. Huey and Abigail are complacent in their fat and sassy lives until the stormy advent of the artist Rebecca Simms.
Rebecca has been catapulted from her home, her marriage, and her children. She has escaped to Pawleys Island to hide herself from herself. But after Miss Olivia pries Rebecca's secrets from her, Huey and especially Abigail are challenged to reenter life outside the dream state their idyllic geography evokes. They will see that Rebecca has her day in court, but they never expect to provoke a national forum for discussion.
With characteristic humor and a full cast of eccentric and wonderfully lovable characters, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us her most honest and entertaining story to date. People have secrets they never want anyone to know. People have pasts they would prefer be left out of conversation. In Frank's nimble hands, it all comes spilling out to be examined and reconciled.
©2006 Dorothea Benton Frank; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Because I find reader reviews helpful, I wish that I could say something in support of this book, but I cannot.
I don't know whether the novel would seem quite so annoyingly insipid if the narrator (whom I believe to be Frank herself) was not so truly terrible. You would expect the author to provide a nuanced reading, adding her understanding of the characters to the presentation. Not so here--and the value of narrators who can read professionally, bringing the characters to life, was never more clear to me. In this version of "Pawley's Island," the combination of weak writing and flat, poorly-timed reading makes this book 'unlistenable'.
I wanted something light for the summer, and Frank's popularity seemed to suggest a reasonable level of skill, but this book is entirely without merit. Having purchased it, I tried three times to listen, but could never get past the first two chapters. Both writing and reading are so flawed that I had no expectation that it would improve if I continued.
The other lesson is to take the time to listen to a sample before purchasing. I was taken in by this one, but unless you are a devoted fan of the author and will like anything she writes, I hope I save someone else from an unhappy experience. Audible.com has such a wide range of books to choose from that you will surely find another that is worth your time.
I enjoyed this story. The plot was interesting and the characters were believable. I hated the narration by the author!! It took several chapters to settle in and start enjoying the story - Ms. Benton Frank's flat emotionless voice, not to mention her terrible timing, almost ruined the book for me. Hang in there - the book is worth the effort.
As always, Ms. Franks books have a great story about real people. Love the southern region as the landscape for the story. My husband and I listened to this on a long driving trip and he really enjoyed it too.
The narration. Dorothea is a fantastic author. I really love her style, but trying to listen to her narrate the story was excruciating. The other narrators had the wonderful ability of changing their voice with the various character changes. Half the time, I didn't know which character was talking. It was really awful. Sorry, Ms. Frank...not everyone can do it. Please keep the wonderful books coming, but let someone else read them for you.
The location, the characters, the series in general.
The author narrated this book. There is only one word for her performance: AWFUL!!!! A talented narrator would have improved this audio book 100%. Don't know if a change in narrator would have made this audio book at 4 or 5, however. The story was banal.
I won't buy anymore books by this author.
She does a poor job of narrating. All the characters sound the same and her delivery is very poor.
Disappointment and irritation..
I ran this audiobook at 1.5 speed because, I hate to waste something I paid for. I appreciate the easy tales of Dorothea Benton Frank, but I had difficulty with her narration.
Narration doesn't measure up
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