Kathleen (Kat) Smith's Reviews > Porch Lights

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank
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Jun 06, 12

bookshelves: chick-literature, contemporary-fiction
Read in June, 2012

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 McMullen are trying to do. Finding a way to move forward without Jimmy McMullen, who was killed as a New York fireman when the building he was in collapsed, living Jackie without a husband and young, ten-year-old, Charlie without a dad.

Now Jackie is trying to find a way to pull Charlie out of a lingering depression that is consuming his life. Withdrawing as an Army nurse, Jackie takes a trip back to her childhood home on Sullivan's Island in Charleston to stay the summer with her mom, Annie Britt in hopes of finding a solution. What she learns there is a process of letting go of the pain but retaining the love and memories she has of her life with Jimmy and begin building a new one. Along the way she learns how much she needs to change as well as the beach begins to sooth away the worn and sharp edges of her past. She learns to let Charlie begin to experience his own challenges as a boy growing up, from skateboarding with the friends he meets, sleep overs, baseball games and learning a different way of life from the one he left behind before the summer.

Along the way, Charlie and Jackie have plenty of help from not only Jackie's mom Annie, but her father, Buster who comes and stays with them to help Charlie make the transition much easier doing stuff a father and son might. A neighbor next door to Annie's, is a local doctor, Steven Plofker, who offers Charlie a job walking his dogs and taking care of them for the summer while teaching him the value of a job and responsibility. He is also very interested in Jackie seeing as they both share losing a spouse in common.

The delight the reader finds in Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank is a life that is much more simple. Spending the days walking along the beach in search of the ocean's treasures, sharing homemade ice cream from an old fashioned crank machine, and just memories of grilled bar-b-que meals eaten in the company of close family and friends on porch, calls the reader home in a serene way. Healing begins for all of them and changes how they view life as they work together to move forward in the next chapters of their life. Dorothea paints such a splendid canvas for the reader, you can smell the salty air and feel the cool ocean breezes in her latest novel.

I received Porch Lights compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins publishers for my honest review. If you are truly looking for a memorable summer read, than search no further and pick this one up. It is such a treasure to find a difficult subject like the loss of someone dear is something to be shared with family and friends and in the end changes them all and brings healing no one really expected. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and the cast of supporting characters Dorothea created make this an exceptionally fun read, especially Jackie's mom, Annie who fears aging the most!
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message 1: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay Moser Excellent review, Kathleen! I just finished this novel and agree with your evaluation.


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