Monday, October 26, 2015

Shem Creek, A Lowcountry Tale - First Chapter/ First Paragraph and Teaser Tuesday

     I enjoy stories where the characters and their dialogue feel real, and that's the case with Shem Creek. Divorced mother Linda Breeland moves her two teenage daughters from New Jersey to the Low Country of South Carolina where she grew up. Her goal is to simplify her hectic and disappointing life and to provide a better environment for her children. Of course, her girls are not too thrilled about the change, and things are not as simple as Linda expected. 
     I enjoyed the distinct personalities of all the characters in this book: brash and sometimes outspoken Linda; her polite college-bound daughter Lindsay; her troublemaker fifteen-year-old daughter Gracie; and Linda's capable sister, Southern gentlewoman Mimi. The dialogue is crisp, modern, and each person has her own voice. I fell in love with these characters and wanted each of them to achieve their goals, and I had fun along the way. 

First Paragraph:
A Postcard From Linda
     Can I just tell you why I am so deliriously happy to drive all through the night from New Jersey to South Carolina? Here we are, boxed in between this wall of eighteen-wheelers on our left and right, in front and behind, in this little pocket of flying road, racing down I-95 at seventy-six miles an hour. My daughters are asleep beside me and in the backseat. I don't care that it's pouring rain. I don't care that it's dark. On another night, I would be terrified out of my skin by the blasting of horns. But not tonight. Let me tell you something. These trucks are like huge guardian angels rushing us to safety and the rain is washing us clean. Life has been a little rough around the edges and it was time to break out. Yeah. A little rough would be one way of understating it.

Teaser (from Page 153 in my paperback copy):
That was how we were. Our family preferred not to speak of things that were uneasy to hear. We would hem and haw around them like a patch of green stickers in the grass and we were barefoot children, unprepared for pain, unwilling to give pain a chance to teach us something.

Length: 365 Pages
Genre: Women's Fiction / Family Saga
Amazon Link: Shem Creek
Author Website: Dorothea Benton Frank
Shem Creek is Book Four in the Lowcountry Tales series, but it stands alone. It was first published in 2005. I have featured this author on my blog before: The Land of Mango Sunsets

Synopsis from Goodreads:
     Pat Conroy has called her books “hilarious and wise”, noting that they are “funny, sexy and usually damp with sea water.” Anne Rivers Siddons said of Sullivans Island that it “roared with life.” Now Dorothea Benton Frank takes us back to the Lowcountry to introduce a whole new cast of characters whose lives will surely move your heart.Linda Breland has no experience managing a restaurant, but then neither did Brad Jackson, and he owns the place.
     Meet Linda Breland, single parent of two teenage daughters. The oldest, Lindsey, who always held her younger sister in check, is leaving for college. And Gracie, her Tasmanian devil, is giving her nightmares. Linda’s personal life? Well, between the married men, the cold New Jersey winters, her pinched wallet and her ex-husband who marries a beautiful, successful woman ten years younger than she is—let’s just say, Linda has seen enough to fill a thousand pages.
     As the story opens, she is barreling down Interstate 95, bound for Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the land of her ancestors. Welcomed by the generous heart of her advice dispensing sister, Mimi, Linda and her daughters slowly begin to find their way and discover a sweeter rhythm of life.
     And then there’s Brad Jackson, a former investment banker of Atlanta, Georgia who hires her to run his restaurant on Shem Creek. Like everyone else, Brad’s got a story of his own—namely an almost ex-wife, Loretta who is the kind of gal who gives women a bad name.
     The real protagonist of this story is the Lowcountry itself. The magical waters of Shem Creek, the abundant wildlife and the astounding power of nature give this tiny corner of the planet its infallible reputation as a place for introspection, contemplation and healing.
     As in all her previous work, you’ll find Shem Creek to be compulsively readable, irreverent but warm and blazingly authentic—and you’ll dread reaching the last page. It is her vivid writing, colorful characters and rich narrative that have made Dorothea Benton Frank one of our nation’s greatest storytellers. Shem Creek is a triumphant novel that proves we are all entitled to a second chance. The challenge is to learn how to recognize it when it comes and to know which chance to take.



Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.
Link at BibliophileByTheSea


29 comments:

  1. I was once told I would love Dorothea Benton Frank's books and yet I still haven't managed to read one. This does sound like a good one though. I love the excerpt you shared. I could feel the moment just reading Linda's thoughts. And I love the analogy in the teaser.

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  2. There's something about the south as a setting that's deeply compelling, and this sounds like a wonderful journey.

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  3. You really do find so many great sounding books set in the South - Happy reading.

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  4. I can tell this one is going to pull at my emotions. It sounds great.

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  5. She's a personal favorite and she lives nearby! Great except, too!

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  6. I'd read a bit more -- interesting intro. (Used to enjoy this author, but I've gotten away from her in the last 8 years.)

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  7. I think I would really like this one. Will check this author out!

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  8. Not sure about this one. I never do well with tales of the south...though I could be wrong so will look out for your review.

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  9. I moved to the south almost 30 years ago. Packed what I could and got on a plane. It was scary yet I was hopeful. This sounds like a story I could relate to.

    My TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/10/27/teaser-tuesdays-134-maplecroft-the-borden-dispatches/

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  10. I don't read much southern fiction, but this one sounds good. Girl Who Reads

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  11. I like the intro and have been meaning to try this author for years! Hope you enjoy it.

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  12. I haven't read this one, but I love this author. She is funny, but real.

    I love the idea of big trucks as guardian angels, although I'm usually just afraid of them. A new perspective?

    Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “THE PERFECT STRANGER”

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  13. This was one of my favorite books this year. I plan to read more of this series and more of Dorothea Benton Frank. Glad you liked it.

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  14. This is an author I've never tried before, and I've heard good things about her books. I like this intro and the setting, so I'd keep reading!

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  15. Both selections are very visual. I especially like the image in the teaser. The teaser on my adult blog comes from a new military thriller - Tenacity by J. S. Law. Happy reading!

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  16. This sounds a lot like my family, but we've learned to become a bit more vulnerable with one another. There's a healthy balance to this ;) Great teaser!

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  17. I'm more of a fantasy ready but the teaser did leave me somewhat curious. If I were to pick a book outside my comfort zone this one would probably make the cut. The south is probably my favourite part of the US, it's so intriguing and enchanting and so much more alike my own hometown (northern Portugal).

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  18. Dorothea Benton Frank is a great storyteller, so I'd keep reading.

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  19. Who doesn't love to see Yankees trying to fit into life in the South. Sounds lovely. Here's Mine

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  20. Sounds like they're running from something. It must be serious. Is this a mystery story or a thriller? My teaser is here: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-Zp

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  21. I love this kind of book. The kind that puts you smack into a life you might not otherwise have access to.

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  22. Good teaser! I keep running across her books lately, but I haven't read one yet. Have to add her to my TBR list.
    My Teaser

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  23. I've driven that stretch of I-95 Southbound to SC. Easy to picture this.

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  24. It's been so long since I read this author, but did enjoy Sullivan's Island years ago! And - compliments from Pat Conroy will get me any day!

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  25. It used to be nothing for me to pack up and move, sometimes year to year, somtimes state to state. I feel I have found my piece of paradise and have settled in for the duration. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  26. I love that opening paragraph!

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  27. Ohh great teaser it was really intriguing now I am really curious about the book! Thank you for stopping by my blog. :)

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  28. Great teaser, thanks for the intro and for visiting my blog.

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