I enjoyed Frank's descriptions of Sullivans Island, South Carolina, and her Southern voice. The description in the prologue is luscious! I'll read more books by this author. (Many thanks to my friend Nan for offering her collection to me.)
We called it the Land of Mango Sunsets. None of the old islanders knew what we meant by that, as they had only ever heard of mangoes. Bottled chutney perhaps, but that was about the sum total of their experience with a food that was so foreign. But I knew all about the romance of them from my earliest memories of anything at all. My parents had honeymooned in the South Pacific, which in those days was considered a little reckless, certainly titillating, and above all, highly exotic. Every morning they left their beds, still half dreaming, to find a tray outside the door of their bungalow. They would bring it behind the curtains of the mosquito netting and into their bed. Still in their nightclothes, my mother's hair cascading in tendrils and my father's young beard stubble scratching her young complexion, they would burn away the sour paste of morning breath with a plate of sliced mangoes, dripping with fleshy sweetness, a pot of strong tea, and a rack of toast. From then on, mangoes were equated with love, tenderness, and hopeful beginnings, and we spent our lives looking everywhere for other examples of them.
Teaser (from Page 266) - How does Miriam know her mother's death is near? She explains it this way:
No, this was something particular in her eyes, not a light that was fading but as though her eyes were trying to memorize me, freeze-frame the moment, and tuck it away in the pocket of the gown she intended to wear into eternity. She would show my ancestors these pictures of her time spent in my family's life just like photographs of events of which she was especially proud or those that had given her something sublime that she had stolen away with her passing to share.
Amazon link: The Land of Mango Sunsets
Pages: 334 (trade paperback)
Genre: Women's Fiction
Author Website: Dorothea Benton Frank
Dorothea Benton Frank writes highly addictive tales of life's conundrums with hilarity and heat. Meet Miriam Elizabeth Swanson, in a full-blown snit, buoyed by a fabulous cast that runs the gamut from insufferable to wonderful. First is the arrival of Liz Harper, Miriam's tenant from Birmingham, who sets a new cycle in motion. Her other tenant, Kevin, stalwart companion with more style than Cary Grant, shakes Miriam out of her fog to see which battles are worth the fight. Then there's Miriam's estranged son, who announces he's marrying a Jamaican woman. And what about her ex-husband, Charles, and that sordid lingerie model of his? Finally, you'll laugh and cry when Miriam meets a man named Harrison who changes her into a gal named Mellie.
Miriam spins out from the revolving door of her postured life as a Manhattan quasi-socialite while she thirsts, no, starves for recognition. It takes a few spins, dips, and one spectacular fall until Miriam gets her head on straight. Then in a whoosh she's off to the enchanted and mysterious land of Sullivans Island, deep in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Told straight from the heart in Frank's vivid, highly entertaining style,The Land of Mango Sunsets just might be her finest work to date. If you decide to read this book, don't make plans to do anything else for a while.
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