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Porch Lights

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  5,512 ratings  ·  852 reviews
When Jimmy McMullen, a fireman with the NYFD, is killed in the line of duty, his wife, Jackie, and ten-year-old son, Charlie, are devastated. Charlie idolized his dad, and now the outgoing, curious boy has become quiet and reserved. Trusting in the healing power of family, Jackie decides to return to her childhood home on Sullivans Island.

Crossing the bridge from the mainl...more
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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The Help by Kathryn StockettGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Southern Chick Lit
26th out of 179 books — 161 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Southern Literature
314th out of 761 books — 1,842 voters


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Community Reviews

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Ginny


Really wanted to love it but I did not. I am sure I am in a minority around here, Dorothea Benton Frank is a local hero. But this booked dragged on and on. I found the dialogue between the characters to be ridiculous. I have been here a long time as has my family, for many generations. I have yet to hear a single low-country person or Charleston native every speak in the way these people spoke. It was so silly, they all sounded like they were in some really bad highschool play. I was embarrassed...more
Regina Spiker
Ms. Frank never fails to amuse and entertain me. Her characters always touch my funny bone and in this novel Annie Britt, matriarch and owner of her home, The Salty Dog down on Sullivans Island, makes me giggle out loud with her thoughts and words. Things like: “I had two hormones left. Benedict and Arnold” and “I still believed I could handle Dr. Love. That’s why the Lord invented dimmer switches. There comes a time when we’re all better off in the dark.” Annie’s daughter Jackie and her sweet t...more
Wayne White
Book Review
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C. Neuroticus Absolutus
I just finished reading Porch Lights by Dorthea Benton Frank, another story about life on the barrier islands of South Carolina. They say write about what you know best. Ms. Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island and weaves a treasure trove of knowledge and experience into one story after another about the South Carolina Lowcountry. I’ve read eight of the dozen books she has written, each with charming, lovable characters who draw the reader into real-...more
PacaLipstick Gramma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise
This is a typically enjoyable read from Dotty Benton-Frank. The locale is Sullivan's Island, a favorite place of ours (and where the author is from)....so, what is not to love? The main character has lost her NYFD husband to a fire related accident. She comes to Sullivan's Island to spend the summer school holiday because she is concerned about the prolonged depression of her ten-year-old son. The beautiful setting and presence of family work their magic and both Jackie and her son begin to reco...more
Kristen
This is a pleasant read, especially if you ignore the uninspired writing and the truly awful dialogue. (The things the 10-year old boy says are completely unbelievable.) It is told in alternating voices, and whether by design or because of the lack of skill of the author, the voices sound almost too similar to differentiate. The setting is good though, and some of the characters are interesting, but this is not a set-your-hair-on-fire story by any means. It's pretty much Mac 'n cheese. If you wa...more
Erin
One of the oldest traditions of finding your way home involves leaving a light in the window - a candle, a hurricane lamp, an electric lamp, and porch lights. In Frank's novel, Porch Lights, she uses this tradition to symbolize Jackie's return from the darkness, to her home.

Jackie and her son Charlie have suffered the devastating loss of Jimmy, Jackie's husband and Charlie's father. They are living in the home they made as a family in New York, trying to put their lives back together. Jackie an...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Porch Lights are a sign of welcome or a symbol that you are waiting for someone to come home and that's exactly what you, the reader, will find when you read the latest novel by Dorothea Benton Frank, Porch Lights!

I guess the hardest thing for someone to deal with in life is to lose someone that they love. Dealing with the loss and finding a way to move forward when it feels like you lack the motivation to do so would be a challenging thing to do. Yet that is exactly what Jackie and Charlie McMu...more
Lorretta
I received this through the GoodReads Giveaway.

This is the first book that I have read from this author. I found her writing style to be very smooth and easy to understand.

The story is told from the viewpoints of Jackie and Annie. Jackie is a military nurse who has lost her firefighter husband; Annie is Jackie's mother. The two are supposed to be complete opposites, but as the story unfolds, we see how alike they are.

Jackie's 10 year old son, Charlie, is having a very hard time coping with the l...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Leave the light on for me.

PORCH LIGHTS was a book about caring, family, healing, and a book that will steal your heart in more ways than one.
Jackie, recently widowed with a ten-year-old son, decides to go back home for the rest of the summer to help Charlie heal from the loss of his father. Many surprises await Jackie as well as many decisions. One of the surprises is her mother. They never did have an easy relationship, but her mother seems to have changed.

The characters were a nice mix of fun...more
Anita Johnson
Dorothea Benton Frank is the perfect Southern hostess. She invites the reader onto her front porch on beautiful Sullivans Island, SC, pours the sweet tea and tells a funny and heartwrenching story of family.

Jackie McMullan has just flown back from her third tour of duty in Afghanistan on bereavement leave because her husband, Jimmy, a New York City fireman, was killed while saving people in a burning building in Brooklyn. She and her 10-year-old son Charlie escape to her parents' home on Sulliv...more
Helen Hammond
I absolutely loved this book! I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dottie Benton Frank in her Sullivan's Island home a few weeks ago. (This was for a freelance project and is about her newest book, The Last Original Wife, which I cannot wait to read.) DBF, a true SI native, wrote yet another heart-warming tale of coming home in Porch Lights.
She clearly did a ton of research on her native island- mostly to satisfy her 10-year-old character, Charlie's inquisitive mind.
Young Charlie and his...more
Lesley
Well its way better than the hurricane sisters. This is satisfactory read. I started it as an audiobook and 3 chapters in I had to order the book from library book. That voice was horrible reading a southern story. The book got better when I read it.
Laurel-Rain
After Jackie McMullen's husband Jimmy is killed in a fire while working as a firefighter, her whole world centers on her ten-year-old son Charlie. She returned from Afghanistan, where she had been an army nurse, to their home in Brooklyn. But the loss of her great love Jimmy has turned her world dark. Worried about Charlie, who is unable to eat or sleep, Jackie makes a choice. And off they go to Sullivans Island near Charleston...where she grew up and where her parents still live.

Of course, Anni...more
Dina
Bought on June 12th at the book signing at Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island! :D
Paula
I have to admit I found this book dragging on and on and very boring. All of a sudden more than halfway through the book I got totally involved.
It shows how much love and pain go together, some people are lucky enough to have support of family. Mix in a 10 year old son affected by all this when Jackie and Charlie lose their beloved husband, father.
Jackie has served 3 tours in Afghanistan only to come home and lose her husband, who is a fireman, in a tragic fire. They travel back home to her pare...more
Sharon Redfern
Every time I read one of DBF's books I want to move down south and get adopted by a big 'ole family and live like the characters in her book do.
This book tells the story of a much fractured family. Annie and Buster is a married couple, both retired, that have been living apart for 11 years since he got fed up with her controlling ways. From Annie's point of view, it was the day after their daughter’s wedding, he had his junk all over the porch, and they had a bunch of relatives coming over so o...more
Judi/Judith Riddle
Porch lights is a fun, heartwarming story of family and friends, their conflicts and never ending love. There is a smorgasbord of luscious, fresh low country food that will set your saliva glands in motion and descriptions of various assorted cocktails, exotic cheeses and pates eaten on the porch every night. The porch lights on the island are to welcome anyone who wants to join.

In NYC Jackie is a prim and proper army nurse recently home from Afghanistan to attend the funeral of her fireman hus...more
Yeny
I finished the book but can’t say I like it.

Jackie, an army nurse who served in Afghanistan, decided to take her son, Charlie, to her parents’ house after her fireman husband was killed on duty. Both Charlie and she needed time and a place to heal and the safe haven was Sullivans Island.

The book alternated between Jackie’s and Annie’s perspectives. But I sometimes got confused and needed to go back to find out if it was Jackie’s chapter or Annie’s. Unless the author was trying to show that Anni...more
Joanne
This is a beach read. I really enjoyed it and I know I'll read more of Frank's work. Like most of the genre, it was fairly predictable. However, it was well done, I found the characters interesting, and there were few (if any) typos and spell/grammar checker errors--you know, those things that get corrected by a computer and no one actually takes the time to realize they're now incorrect. (For example--and I know I've read this in more than one recent book--"she (he/they) poured over the map..."...more
Ruth
Jackie is a grieving widow. She returned home from her third tour of duty as a nurse in Afghanistan because her husband, Jimmy a firefighter in NYC had died while fighting a fire. She was the only parent left for her ten year old son, Charlie and both of them were depressed. Although she was often at odds with her mother, Jackie decides to return "home" to stay with her mom on Sullivan's Island for the summer. Her parents are estranged but she is hoping that having his grandparents in his life w...more
Melinda Rainey Thompson
I read every book released by Dorothea Benton Frank. I think she is the most talented writer of low country tales we have in our country, except perhaps Pat Conroy. My favorite title is still Sullivan's Island. I also really enjoyed Isle of Palms. Porch Lights is lighter, a perfect porch read for a summer afternoon. I think I'd enjoy anything Frank writes, maybe even her grocery list. It would certainly include good seafood, wine, and fine cheeses. . . .

My favorite line from Porch Lights:

"That...more
Peggy
Drove the Charleston yesterday. The construction on highway 17 through Mount Pleasant had the traffic moving slowly so we slipped onto old Rifle Range Road and took Coleman Blvd through Mt. Pleasant. I had not been through town in a long time. It was fun to see some of the locations mentioned in the novel such as the Parrot Surf and Skate, Page's Okra Girl and St Maris.

This is a good, light, humorous beach read.

I enjoyed the dialogue in this novel, it was witty, fast moving and filled with south...more
Margaret
When I read Frank's Sullivans Island books, I feel as though I am on the island too, taking part in best friends' lives. I want to live in her books.
Jackie is called home from active duty in Afghanistan to bury her firefighter husband and to figure out how she and her ten year old son will go on without the man they loved so deeply. Settling on the idea of going home to visit her family on Sullivans Island is the beginning of the healing that takes place for Jackie and her son as well as for her...more
Julia
I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of Sullivan's Island and the surrounding areas had me feeling like I right there at the house on the beach. I came out of the gym (with no windows) after finishing the book and almost expected it to be raining.

I thought the author did a nice job combining elements of history, geography, literature, and a great story all in one book. The information about Edgar Allan Poe, about the Civil War, and about the Lowcountry all flowed with the story really w...more
Melissa
I love Dorothea Benton Frank's books though, from reading the descriptions, I can never tell which ones I've read because they all follow a similar theme: someone finds themselves either unexpectedly drawn or returning to the South Carolina low country following some significant life event. The story wasn't the most original but the vivid characters and amazing Sullivan's Island backdrop made this a book worth reading. If you're a Southern or lover of Southern food, don't be surprised if find yo...more
Michelle
Though I can say I mostly enjoyed the book and probably deserves three stars instead of two, I just couldn't go there. I compare all of Frank's books to my favorite, "Land of Mango Sunsets." This book fell short as I never felt any deep love for the characters. Even the little boy was annoyingly perfect. I never felt the urgency for romance to bloom, and though I enjoy history in my stories, the lessons offered up about Sullivan's Island felt like they were just thrown into the story as a filler...more
bookczuk
Dotty Frank is hit or miss with me. This one's pretty much a hit, but mostly because I'm enchanted that the voice actor has taken pains to do a Charleston accent for one of the characters. Hearing "house" pronounced in the patois near and dear to me, made me smile. Story is fine; Typical DBF, with a lot of lowcountry references thrown in. I didn't want to slap anyone, which I sometimes do with her work. Some nice touches in terms of views of war nursing, motherhood, grief, and good ol' hurricane...more
Kelly Bragg
I LOVED this book! Y'all know I am a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank, but even so, I admit the past couple of books have been good, but not great. NOT THIS ONE!

Once again the Lowcountry & Sullivan's Island work their magic on wounded souls. Dorothea does SUCH an incredible job describing things about the Lowcountry that some people never see or truly appreciate: the amazing food, incredible sunsets, ocean breezes, salty marshes, and yes, PLUFF MUD! Every time I read one of her books I awaken a...more
 Barb Bailey
This book was a very typical beach read. The setting is Sullivan's Island SC. I picked up this book to read while I was on vacation a in Myrtle Beach SC about 50 miles north of Sullivan's Island. The story is the typical woman Jackie, looses her husband in a terrible fire, leaves NYC and returns home to the island with her 10 yr old son for the summer.She meets her parents handsome and available DR/ neighbor, and with the help of family and friends learns to heal and move on with her life. Some...more
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Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times best selling author of ten novels.

Dottie has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Parker Ladd's Book Talk and many local network affiliated television stations. She is a frequent speaker on creative writing and the creative process for students of all ages and in private venues as the National Arts Club, the Junior League of New York, Friends of the Library org...more
More about Dorothea Benton Frank...
Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales #1) Plantation (Lowcountry Tales #2) The Last Original Wife Isle of Palms (Lowcountry Tales #3) Shem Creek (Lowcountry Tales #4)

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“Daddies always listen to their little girls.” 5 likes
“a good woman's heart knows no bounds. And love is the most powerful and wondrous gift in the world. Yes, it is.” 5 likes
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