My Magnolia Summer

Morrow. Jun. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780063286153. $30. F
DEBUT Frank, daughter of the late best-selling novelist Dorothea Benton Frank, pays homage to her mother by offering a sweet, engaging, and predictable story with relatable characters on an island in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where many of her mother’s novels were also set. Magnolia “Maggie” Adams is living her childhood dream, working in the kitchen of a trendy restaurant in Manhattan, when an emergency call from her younger sister Violet sends Maggie and her best friend Jim on the next flight out to South Carolina. A serious car accident has left Maggie’s unreliable and egocentric mother Lilly with slight injuries and her steadfast and sensible grandmother Rose in a coma. Back home on Sullivan’s Island, Maggie finds that much has changed, especially with their family restaurant, the Magic Lantern. Family tensions rise, and Violet tries to be the peacemaker between Maggie and their mother as they wait for Rose to improve. Meanwhile, Maggie wrestles with the direction of her career and her ties with family and friends.
VERDICT Plot discrepancies and uneven pacing detract from full enjoyment the narrative, but fans of Dorothea Benton Frank will appreciate revisiting Sullivan’s Island.
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