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Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,651 Ratings  ·  555 Reviews
Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, Sullivan's Island marks the debut of an exquisitely talented writer--and tells the unforgettable story of one woman's courageous journey toward truth. Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan's Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, ...more
ebook, 359 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Jove Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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This is one of those books I often share with folks who want to know more about the lowcountry of SC. Franks is one of my favorite authors for catching a flavor of the area, and as she is a popular writer, I have about eleventy billion of her books on my BookCrossing shelf.

Sullivan's Island is a one of our sea islands surrounding the Charleston peninsula. I live on one across the harbor from it (James Island). It is a beautiful beach, setting for Poe's The Gold Bug, and also the location of For
Feb 14, 2008 Maurean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I have committed myself to quite a bit of reading lately…I don’t usually do that, as I’m one who prefers to just pick up and read whatever strikes my fancy at that particular moment in time. But, as a result of a round-robin I’m involved with, I recently received some titles that I probably wouldn’t have picked up if left to my own devices.

“Sullivan’s Island” by Dorthea Benton Frank is one of those. While it was a New York Times Bestseller, the pastel artwork (wh
Another unfortunate book club selection. This is pretty standard Lifetime movie fare. The good wife lets herself go frumpy. Husband trades her in for a newer model. Journey of self discovery, interspersed with poignant childhood recollections, ensues. I just don't find this kind of thing compelling. The flashbacks were well written, however, and the tidbits of Gullah culture interspersed throughout kept it from being completely forgettable. I found myself wanting more of that, and less in the wa ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Shell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading about steamy and stormy Sullivan's Island off the coast of South Carolina, so different from our beautiful mountainous desert. My favorite character was Livvie, a descendant of African slaves, who lovingly worked for and cared for a dysfuntional Southern family. Here are some sentences from the book that suggest Livvie's sage and spiritual views:

"Her passion for righteousness was stronger than our frenzy."

Livvie said, "When folks around you do crazy things, it's the devil tryin
Jul 26, 2014 Debby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
Phenomenal family saga. I was hooked from the very beginning, could not put this book down and I did not want it to end. Dorothea Benton Frank is a very gifted storyteller!! It's rare, for me at least, to read a book and resonate with characters, feel connected with the story and to feel with the characters so that I laugh, shed a tear or stop to ponder some bit of wisdom that was said. I highly recommend Sullivan's Island.

While reading Sullivan's Island, I was reminded of what could be conside
Book Concierge
From the jacket: Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan’s Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories. And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms.

My r
Andrea Guy
I've read one other book by Dorothea Benton Frank, and I really enjoyed it. I picked up Sullivan's Island at the YMCA lending library and I felt like I was reading the same book, or at least a variation on that book.

Strong middle aged female gets dumped by her husband of many years for a sweet young thing. There's a lot of rehashing of the past, which is the only thing that made the book worth reading. The 1960's south always makes for good reading. I adored Livvie and the fact that Susan's fami
This book was a gift from my stepmother who lives in Charleston and it took me a few years to finally pick it up and read it- As a Charleston native I am always a little skeptical of books that are about Charleston. The fact that the author is from Charleston too and went to my high school, Bishop England, made me want to read the book. Frank definitely understands the lay of the land in Charleston and what it's like to grow up in the Lowcountry - I could relate perfectly to this era and element ...more
Oct 22, 2009 Miandmiksmom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I didn't live in South Carolina, I don't know if I would get into the setting and book as much as I did, but I LOVED this book. The character development is so good that I wanted to be best friends with the main character! She is so witty and funny that I found myself laughing out loud while reading. I loved the drama and emotion of her childhood story and I LOVED Livvie. It was just a great to read and I can't wait to read the sequel.
Nov 08, 2010 Tamra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! I love the low country and southern history, the good and the bad. This story was so rich in low country history, I thought I was there. I could feel the beach under my feet, smell the salt air, vision the beautiful marshes, the warmth of Livvie's love..... I'm going to make a point of visiting Sullivan's Island during my next trip to South Carolina.
Jul 31, 2013 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book!! I will be going to get the sequel after work!
Jan 21, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read!! Looking forward to the rest in this series!!
Jun 14, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Low Country on the shores of South Carolina, this tale recounts the life of Susan Haley, her family, and growing up in Gulah country. Haley tells tales of her family, long time residents of one of the islands and their black housekeeper Livvie. Alternating between the present (1999) and the days of her childhood (1963), Susan recounts fun, mischief, love, and loss in her family. Parts of the book were heart wrenching in their sadness, other chapters were light and full of humor. The f ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The setting of Sullivan’s Island alone would be enough to carry a book, but Ms. Frank enhances the natural beauty of the Lowcountry with her characters and humor. Susan Hayes tells two stories – one in the present, as an adult who is dealing with a failed marriage and raising a teenaged daughter, and one in 1963, as a child who tries to protect herself and her siblings from a dysfunctional home life. While both ‘Susans’ are funny and likable, by far the more intriguing story is that of 13 year-o ...more
A truly immensely enjoyable read. This is Dorothea Benton Frank’s first successful book and I can see why it launched her career. She writes from the heart and from what she knows, having grown up right where the story’s set: South Carolina’s low country, where this story follows Susan Hamilton Hayes on her life’s journey, as she faces an uncertain future and comes to terms with an often-stirred up past. The chapters of the book alternate between 1963 (Susan’s 13th year) and the present day (199 ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
As in so many audiobooks, the narrator makes or breaks the story, thus the two stars. Might have been three if I had read a print copy. It was irritating to me because the southern accent was inconsistent. I realize that sometimes they were mimicking Livey, but sometimes it was hard to tell who was talking. It was not necessary to have the narrator sound like she was leaving the sound booth when the characters said, "Hello!" or "I'll be down in a minute."
Moving between the two eras, 1963 and 199
Judy Collins
Apr 11, 2014 Judy Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank, SC Lowcountry and queen of the south, I have read a few of her newer releases and missed some of the oldies but goodies, so playing catch up. I love the reprints and new e-books, with the new high resolution attractive front covers, which are nice to display on your reading list instead of the old outdated covers. (Nice job with Sullivan’s Island-Lowcountry Tales #1 and Plantation – Lowcountry Tales #2), as read them back to back.

A native of the Carolinas and h
Jul 04, 2010 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, women
I have discovered that I love Dorothea Benton Frank's books. I love that her sense of place is so very complete it is almost another character. I love her female protagonists. The one in Sullivan's Island is about my age (maybe younger), smart, funny, battered by life, and resilient as hell. There are two parallel stories going on in the book, one of growing up on Sullivan's Island in the early 1960's as she sorts through her conflicted memories of growing up in a family of extremely dysfunction ...more
Amy Fouts
LOVE this book!!!!
Sep 30, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: southern fiction, chick lit
Another great read from Dorothea Benton Frank. Written with southern charm that I've come to expect from Frank. Her stories always revolve around family and the Lowcountry. And, they always make me want to call a realtor, pack my bags and head for the eastern coast of South Carolina. Great book about a family that overcomes obstacles, despite the many odds against them.

Sullivan's Island can be followed up with Return to Sullivan's Island. Going read that now. Can't wait to read how this tale con
Oct 10, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read Return to Sullivan's Island but never Sullivan's Island - the story of my life! I don't have a problem with reading books out of order, and I enjoyed putting two and two together with the plotline. Sullivan's Island gave me the background to the story of the Hamilton and their growing-up years in their beach house, Island Gamble. Their bedridden grandmother, hypochondriac/self-centered mother, father prone to violence and an eye for the ladies, family ghosts, and a housekeeper who rai ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartwarming story of family and place.
Mar 05, 2016 Dyana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author captured the flavor of the area and the sense of times as she seamlessly moved between 1963 and 1999 in telling the story. At times it was humorous and witty and at times heart wrenching and sad. A book filled with poignant childhood memories.

1999 - Susan Hayes has just discovered that her husband is having a mid-life crisis and has been cheating on her. She is a middle-aged librarian who has let herself go and has been disconnected from husband Tom for
Nov 05, 2014 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Dorothea Benton Frank's stories and writing style. I have jumped around in this series and now I'm reading the rest in order. My first journey with DBF was because I liked the cover at the library one day and I was hooked from there. I'm in love with beach books and this one goes through the fall and winter seasons. so it was perfect for this time of year. On to the next in the series.
Bookworm LLC
Jun 05, 2015 Bookworm LLC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You need to grab a glass of Iced Tea and head out to the deck with this book in your hand. Sullivan's Island takes us to South Carolina and the beach. We meet Susan Hayes and the rest of her difficult family. Funny and heart wrenching, this book is perfect for a lazy day read. I liked it very much.
Jan 09, 2016 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an INCREDIBLE book!! I really cannot overstate this. Although I am from the Piedmont of NC, Charleston, SC has long held an appeal in my heart that cannot be put into words - at least until now. Much of what Dorthea Benton Frank shares in this book is exactly why I love the Low Country so much and get back there as often as I can.

The story that she weaves that continually left me weeping and laughing and longing for Shrimp and Grits is one that I can easily envision because she makes it
Rebecca Secrest
Feb 01, 2015 Rebecca Secrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So full of life and living--so beautifully written

When I finished this book, I felt I had lived Susan's life--it was so real. And I certainly did wish that I had been lucky enough to have a Livvie in my life.
Chris Porter
I thought I might be walking into a love story, but instead got a well rounded story of living, remembering and accepting your past. A tale of being able to live with your past so you can make your present fuller.
Jul 30, 2015 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was a horrible, cliched piece of drivel.
When a book makes a basic, glaring mistake, it puts a cloud over the whole book and ruins my reading experience.
This book keeps flipping back and forth, between 1963 and 1999, and stating that Susan is 13 in 1963 and 46 in 1999. I don't care what kind of math you use, that doesn't work. I can't fathom how a mistake that big got through the editing process.
I was extremely uncomfortable with middle-class white women co-opting black slavery culture
Mar 20, 2014 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: frank
I had never come across this author. In an attempt to overcome the winter blues, I pulled this off the shelf, only because of the picture on the cover. Pictures are important. I read the book and enjoyed every minute. The book takes place in the 60's and then in the present. It tells the story of one woman's life journey and how she comes to find peace. I particularly enjoyed it as it showed the south in the 60's and while slavery was abolished, the treatment of African Americans was still quest ...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 about Dorothea Benton Frank...

Other Books in the Series

Lowcountry Tales (8 books)
  • Plantation (Lowcountry Tales, #2)
  • Isle of Palms (Lowcountry Tales, #3)
  • Shem Creek (Lowcountry Tales, #4)
  • Pawleys Island (Lowcountry Tales, #5)
  • Return to Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales, #6)
  • Lowcountry Summer (Lowcountry Tales, #7)
  • Folly Beach (Lowcountry Tales, #8)

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