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Shem Creek

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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 managi 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.


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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 managi 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.

30 review for Shem Creek

  1. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    Starts off well. Linda Breland, single mom of two teen daughters, is tired of her life in NJ. She heads down to SC to her sister's to see if she can start over. We see her problems with her ex, her job, the men she dates, and her kids. Then we get her to SC where she lives with her supportive sister who is glad to have her around. She finds a job with a good group of people. Then all of a sudden the problems pretty much stop. The teen daughter who was getting trouble at every turn, stops. It's j Starts off well. Linda Breland, single mom of two teen daughters, is tired of her life in NJ. She heads down to SC to her sister's to see if she can start over. We see her problems with her ex, her job, the men she dates, and her kids. Then we get her to SC where she lives with her supportive sister who is glad to have her around. She finds a job with a good group of people. Then all of a sudden the problems pretty much stop. The teen daughter who was getting trouble at every turn, stops. It's just too miraculous, just like the quick romance at the end. We go from slow, well-crafted story to finishing it up in a NY minute. Shouldn't the slow pace have been at the end in SC? Like her life wouldn't have been good if she hadn't found a man? She couldn't have enjoyed her good fortune? I wouldn't have minded leaving it on an up note, but it just seemed too rushed at the end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Meh... Sigh... Yawn... Yup.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    The first book I read on vacation was Dorothea Benton Frank's Shem Creek. All of her books are based in South Carolina, which is one reason I'm such a fan. What was really cool was that we actually drove over Shem Creek while I was reading this book in the car - COOL. Anyway, like her others, I really enjoyed this book. Most of her stories have a similar premise - a woman (usually divorced) returns home to the South with at least one teenaged daughter. However, the stories above and beyond that The first book I read on vacation was Dorothea Benton Frank's Shem Creek. All of her books are based in South Carolina, which is one reason I'm such a fan. What was really cool was that we actually drove over Shem Creek while I was reading this book in the car - COOL. Anyway, like her others, I really enjoyed this book. Most of her stories have a similar premise - a woman (usually divorced) returns home to the South with at least one teenaged daughter. However, the stories above and beyond that are all very different and enjoyable. They usually make you laugh and cry. She has a great sense of humor. And there is usually a good romantic storyline as well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    I hate to give a fellow South Carolinian one star, but I really didn't like this book. I grew up in Mt. Pleasant, where the story take place and it was really neat to see real places from my hometown in print, but I thought the writing was mediocre, the story was sappy and there wasn't really a good ending. It was like she got close to the end and the publishers said,"Ok, we need your manuscript right now!" and she just ended it. I hate to give a fellow South Carolinian one star, but I really didn't like this book. I grew up in Mt. Pleasant, where the story take place and it was really neat to see real places from my hometown in print, but I thought the writing was mediocre, the story was sappy and there wasn't really a good ending. It was like she got close to the end and the publishers said,"Ok, we need your manuscript right now!" and she just ended it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I think I'll give Ms Frank a rest for awhile. The last couple books I've read seem to be pretty similar in plotting and a little formulaic. I like the low country venue, but "woman somehow gets to big city, gets married, has kids, husband cheats (epically), woman flees back to low country where she deals with rotten history, makes new and reacquaints with old friends, finds the man of her dreams and lives happily ever after has been done, ad nauseam. I think I'll give Ms Frank a rest for awhile. The last couple books I've read seem to be pretty similar in plotting and a little formulaic. I like the low country venue, but "woman somehow gets to big city, gets married, has kids, husband cheats (epically), woman flees back to low country where she deals with rotten history, makes new and reacquaints with old friends, finds the man of her dreams and lives happily ever after has been done, ad nauseam.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    A mother with custody of her daughters leave NJ for her home in SC. She needs a fresh start since her divorce. Her sister is there in Mt Pleasant. Linda gets an interesting job in a popular local restruant. As she works there she is observed by all and is well liked, especially by the owner. To her surprise he asked her to marry him. The story brings out love, friendship, second chances and family. Great story

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I listened to this book via audio. It was a pleasant read but the direction and conclusion were so obvious.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I enjoyed this book from cover to cover! Beautiful setting with interesting characters!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I fell in love with South Carolina and the characters of this story. Linda Breland, mother of 2 teenage daughters has decided that life in New Jersey is for the birds. She needs to go back to her roots and so she packs her daughters and her car and leaves her house and her job to head to Charleston, to Mount Pleasant and the shores of Shem Creek. Linda is brash, bold, and a bit irreverent. She is also fiercely loyal, a loving mother, a devoted sister and a downright valuable employee. Just give I fell in love with South Carolina and the characters of this story. Linda Breland, mother of 2 teenage daughters has decided that life in New Jersey is for the birds. She needs to go back to her roots and so she packs her daughters and her car and leaves her house and her job to head to Charleston, to Mount Pleasant and the shores of Shem Creek. Linda is brash, bold, and a bit irreverent. She is also fiercely loyal, a loving mother, a devoted sister and a downright valuable employee. Just give her a chance and she will have you falling in love with her. This is one of the rare books that put a tear in my eye. That never happens to me anymore. This story was mostly believable, had the ending I expected, but it took a few twists and turned that were unexpected. The minor characters, Louise, Duane and Mimi were likable and believable too. I do believe I have found a new favorite author.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Babs

    This by far is my favorite book by D. Frank. I loved Linda, her sister Mimi and her girls Gracie and Lindsay. They were all a hoot. Brad and his gang made the story so wonderful to read. I could read this book again and again. Linda shows what a real single parent is like and how easy it can be to start over. Just a lovely read all around.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Oporto

    This book was pretty mediocre, even taking into account my low expectations/needing an easy read for a long car ride.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Just an easy, sappy summer read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy Churchill

    Filled with family angst, another low country story unfolds. You can taste the seafood as Linda gets a job managing a local restaurant. A single mother with two teenage daughters, their recent move from New Jersey stirs the adventures.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marleen

    This is a delightful and cute story by one of my favorite authors. I love how the beauty and atmosphere of the Low Country (SC) jumps of the page. “Shem Creek” was certainly a bit lighter than any other books I’ve read so far by Dorothea Benton Frank, but nonetheless it was very entertaining and the book was over too soon! It’s amazing how Benton Frank captures the rhythm of this uniquely beautiful area around Charleston. Another plus here is the great ensemble cast – the people working at the s This is a delightful and cute story by one of my favorite authors. I love how the beauty and atmosphere of the Low Country (SC) jumps of the page. “Shem Creek” was certainly a bit lighter than any other books I’ve read so far by Dorothea Benton Frank, but nonetheless it was very entertaining and the book was over too soon! It’s amazing how Benton Frank captures the rhythm of this uniquely beautiful area around Charleston. Another plus here is the great ensemble cast – the people working at the seafood restaurant “Jackson Hole”. These totally awesome personalities become friends and unmissable to the main character: Linda Breland, a single mother who, tired of living hand-to-mouth in New Jersey, decides to move herself and her two teenage daughters to her distant hometown of Mount Pleasant, S.C., where her sister, Mimi, still lives. She quickly finds work at this seafood restaurant. I actually have eaten at such a place and I could easily imagine the ambiance. A truly pleasant read! One little remark though: I have never read a book with so many exclamation points! (smile).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toriana

    The second time I read this book. I couldn’t remember any of the plot from my first read a few years ago, other than that there was a restaurant on the water and beautiful descriptions of South Carolina. I wanted something uplifting and lightweight and completely harmless to escape a stressful few weeks. This faded hardback that had sat on my shelf unnoticed for years, drew me back to it as I remembered that’s exactly what I had felt the first time I’d read it. The story is sweetly predictable, The second time I read this book. I couldn’t remember any of the plot from my first read a few years ago, other than that there was a restaurant on the water and beautiful descriptions of South Carolina. I wanted something uplifting and lightweight and completely harmless to escape a stressful few weeks. This faded hardback that had sat on my shelf unnoticed for years, drew me back to it as I remembered that’s exactly what I had felt the first time I’d read it. The story is sweetly predictable, with a sense of rushing to tie up loose strings implausibly at the end, but the Southern voices and descriptions of family love and the light and water of Shem Creek is pure feel-good escapism. You won’t tax yourself reading this novel, but then sometimes you don’t want or need to. It’s the equivalent of a Lifetime TV Movie, saccharine in places, formulaic certainly, but still warm and inviting, like one of Mimi’s perfectly baked pound cakes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Bit disappointed in this offering - predictable mother/daughter/sister story set in South Carolina Lowcountry.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really wanted to like this book because it’s set in one of my favorite places, but I really didn’t care for it. The beginning and ending were fine, but the rest was pretty bad. The writing was mediocre, and the characters were poorly developed. The most annoying part though, was that all the main characters scoffed at the idea of conserving and protecting the environment despite the fact that one of the focuses of the book is the uniqueness and beauty of the South Carolina lowcountry. 🤔 The au I really wanted to like this book because it’s set in one of my favorite places, but I really didn’t care for it. The beginning and ending were fine, but the rest was pretty bad. The writing was mediocre, and the characters were poorly developed. The most annoying part though, was that all the main characters scoffed at the idea of conserving and protecting the environment despite the fact that one of the focuses of the book is the uniqueness and beauty of the South Carolina lowcountry. 🤔 The author even chose to make one of the “villains” in the story an environmentalist. 🙄

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I pretty much read this book in one big gulp. Oh, all right...TWO big gulps. I couldn't seem to put it down. It reminded me very much of Maeve Binchy's books, and of Anne Rivers Siddons, as well. Not in content so much, but in my emotional response to the books. I pick up one of those two authors' books, and just...sink into another place, a vastly quiet and calm place, although some of the scenes are anything but calm. I find them gently compelling, and now Frank is in their ranks. I pretty much read this book in one big gulp. Oh, all right...TWO big gulps. I couldn't seem to put it down. It reminded me very much of Maeve Binchy's books, and of Anne Rivers Siddons, as well. Not in content so much, but in my emotional response to the books. I pick up one of those two authors' books, and just...sink into another place, a vastly quiet and calm place, although some of the scenes are anything but calm. I find them gently compelling, and now Frank is in their ranks.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Enjoyed this book. Linda did the right thing getting her daughters out of New Jersey after her divorce. It took her awhile to realize what everyone else knew, that she and Brad had fallen in love. It took a confrontation with Amy and a fire at the restaurant and Gracie in the hospital to hit the nail on the head. Love DBF books...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    A wonderful story that made me laugh and cry! But the sad tears were replaced many timrs over with happy tears. Another must read by Ms. Frank.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Another great book in this series. This author definitely doesn't disappoint. The characters were definitely relatable and there was enough going on in the story to not make it boring. Another great book in this series. This author definitely doesn't disappoint. The characters were definitely relatable and there was enough going on in the story to not make it boring.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    Ehh

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Fun book, easy and light reading canned a bit, but sweet. Find it interesting that there are recipes in the back. Think I may to try the biscuit recipe and the pound cake.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    Banal. Waste of time unless you enjoy fluff.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Renee Kirby

    Very predictable. Little plot. The audiobook was extremely subpar. I enjoy this author but this was definitely not worth the time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Excellent read as we have just relocated to the area and I am able to relate to so very much of what is happening. So sad we have lost such a wonderful author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Ehney

    Linda Breland has a bleak existence in New Jersey. She has to be at work early which means teenage daughters Lindsey and Grace are often on their own. Grace is making some bad choices that promise to only get worse. So Linda relocates the family to her hometown of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Now they have to adjust to the new way of life that the South Carolina coast brings. I purchased this book a few months after the author, Dorothea Benton Frank, died. Admittedly, it is not the genre I usual Linda Breland has a bleak existence in New Jersey. She has to be at work early which means teenage daughters Lindsey and Grace are often on their own. Grace is making some bad choices that promise to only get worse. So Linda relocates the family to her hometown of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Now they have to adjust to the new way of life that the South Carolina coast brings. I purchased this book a few months after the author, Dorothea Benton Frank, died. Admittedly, it is not the genre I usually read and impulse bought it. The book is well-written with some lovely descriptions of the Mt. Pleasant area (which I visit about once a year). Within the novel is the storyline of a family of women reconnecting and learning to enjoy each other. But there are parts of the book that seem forced - conversations happening too soon or in an inappropriate place. There is no real major conflict only the normal things that happen within a family and are a part of growing up. The ending is predictable from the first of the book. If you want an easy, feel good book, then this is a good one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Schmidt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Not a fan of this book! I would not recommend if you are a DBF fan. The story line was boring and super predictable. I come from a southern mama and I heard all of the phrases growing up. This book tried to cram all of them in 300 pages. It wasn’t natural. Every time I thought something was about to happen with a lead on sentence it didn’t. The most exciting thing occurred on page 304 of the 344 pages. I had to wait that long for some minor excitement. The rushed romance from a man that never on Not a fan of this book! I would not recommend if you are a DBF fan. The story line was boring and super predictable. I come from a southern mama and I heard all of the phrases growing up. This book tried to cram all of them in 300 pages. It wasn’t natural. Every time I thought something was about to happen with a lead on sentence it didn’t. The most exciting thing occurred on page 304 of the 344 pages. I had to wait that long for some minor excitement. The rushed romance from a man that never once gave one hint of a signal and all of sudden he loves her? Did the publisher say stop with the filler language and get to a point? Like a Southern goodbye! Also, the light touch of ghostly action that lead nowhere. That could have been the key to making this book more substantial. It seemed more like an after thought to try to make the book more interesting. DBF, I am still a huge fan!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    I snagged a stack of DBF books when my brother's now ex cleaned out her shelves. And they sat in the truck of the car for ages before getting lost in the house for another age and a half. This was my first book by the author and I kinda get why she has/had such a fanbase but this is not the best representation of her work. Well, I hope not anyway because meh. I wanted to like it more than I did and only finished it because I missed the giveaway of the others in the stack. Perhaps one day I'll pi I snagged a stack of DBF books when my brother's now ex cleaned out her shelves. And they sat in the truck of the car for ages before getting lost in the house for another age and a half. This was my first book by the author and I kinda get why she has/had such a fanbase but this is not the best representation of her work. Well, I hope not anyway because meh. I wanted to like it more than I did and only finished it because I missed the giveaway of the others in the stack. Perhaps one day I'll pick up another of her books and fall in love. Also, since I am local, just going to point out that there was no way Alex's football team was gonna kick STA's butt in 2004 (or whenever this was published) since it had morphed into another school by then. Nitpicking is always the answer when you have nothing else to be excited about in a book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    c2004 Berkley ~360pp Setting: Lowcountry of SC (primarily) Interesting. Solid plot and good characterization. This may be too wordy for some and the changing point-of-view can be confusing but I am glad I persevered. I would read more of her books. PS There were parts that I really didn’t like at the start narrated by the daughters (their language!) and Brad’s Amy tale. As a novice reader they could have derailed me... But then there was humor and some “gem” statements too. Unusual romance in th c2004 Berkley ~360pp Setting: Lowcountry of SC (primarily) Interesting. Solid plot and good characterization. This may be too wordy for some and the changing point-of-view can be confusing but I am glad I persevered. I would read more of her books. PS There were parts that I really didn’t like at the start narrated by the daughters (their language!) and Brad’s Amy tale. As a novice reader they could have derailed me... But then there was humor and some “gem” statements too. Unusual romance in that they never formally dated but I bought it as they spent the TIME together.. shared work, parenting and life events. Lots of action at the end and appreciated the HEA ending.

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