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Porch Lights

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,063 Ratings  ·  1,018 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
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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Southern Chick Lit
31st out of 199 books — 199 voters
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Best Southern Literature
329th out of 887 books — 2,242 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 14, 2012 Ginny rated it it was ok

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
PacaLipstick Gramma
Jul 28, 2012 PacaLipstick Gramma rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Aug 18, 2012 Wayne White rated it it was amazing
Book Review
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-
Dec 04, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it
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), 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
Jun 23, 2016 Marla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Enjoyable audiobook. Well written and kept the reader's attention.
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
Jun 20, 2012 Lorretta rated it liked it
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
Jul 28, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it
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
There should be more writers like Dorothea Benton Frank, who have the knack to pen down stories that part with wisdom about family dynamics all the while keeping the narration so genuine and witty. You will say there are many out there who write just like her, but not to me. I think Dorothea Benton Frank is unique. Extremely unique. Her books enchant me every time. I immensely liked Porch Lights. This story was perfect. I wish it had gone on forever. I wished I lived there with the Britt family ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
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
Sharon Redfern
Jun 26, 2012 Sharon Redfern rated it it was amazing
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
Judi/Judith Riddle
Jul 10, 2012 Judi/Judith Riddle rated it really liked it
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
Anita Johnson
Jun 16, 2012 Anita Johnson rated it really liked it
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
Oct 26, 2012 Joanne rated it liked it
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
Nov 08, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
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
Helen Hammond
Apr 05, 2013 Helen Hammond rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it
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
Kelly Bragg
Jul 28, 2013 Kelly Bragg rated it it was amazing
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
Laurie Buchanan
Nov 22, 2013 Laurie Buchanan rated it it was amazing
The passion of two high-risk jobs in a loving marriage sets the backdrop for loss, devastation, and the ensuing grief of a mother and her ten-year-old son who is spiraling into depression. Hoping to find temporary reprieve, they travel to Sullivan’s Island where salted breezes and the loving arms of family and friends offers instead a deeply healing balm and the courage to move forward. Sprinkled with a healthy dose of wit and wisdom, Dorothea Benton Frank does not disappoint.
I quite enjoyed this book, and will check out some of her other titles as well. The only thing that bugged me was the voice of the boy. Kids just don't talk like that. It didn't ruin the book of course, but it bugged me.
Mar 17, 2015 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner from DBF. I haven't met one of her books that I didn't like. They are not world changing or anything that will stop you in your tracks, but they are just great story telling. I can feel the ocean breeze on my face and the sand between my toes, no matter the time of year.
Aug 30, 2015 Lesley rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
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.
Jan 19, 2014 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2013 Mich rated it really liked it
Oh I want to be at the beach!!! Typical great Frank offering. Love the way you can almost smell the ocean and hear the sea oats rustling.
Feb 11, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it
This was another fantastic book by Dorothea Benton Frank. It makes me want to get a beach house on Sullivan's Isand.
Aug 23, 2013 Sandi rated it really liked it
Although predictable, i enjoyed being immersed in the Carolina low country setting. Light and enjoyable.
Ansley Gowan
Jun 08, 2015 Ansley Gowan rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book! Got hooked so quickly and couldn't put it down! It's definitely a must-read!
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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
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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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