Folly Beach

Folly Beach
Dorothea Benton Frank
William Morrow, 2011

I have been a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank since I got to meet her at scholarship luncheon my sophomore year of college. Since then I think I have read every book she's written, and always look forward to her new offerings. Folly Beach, this year's installment in Lowcountry literature, is different from Frank's other novels. Very different. I'll admit, I almost put it down, because it took me a little bit to figure out what was going on - but I was intrigued by the story, so I persevered.So glad I did!

Folly Beach is a double-story, that - I guess - is really almost a frame story. Alternating chapters tell the story of Cate Cooper, a modern woman who finds herself seeking refuge at her beloved Folly Beach, and Dorothy Heyward, the wife of Dubois Heyward who wrote the story behind Porgy and Bess. Cate's chapters are told in prose, and you will alternately chuckle and cringe at the crazy adventure Life sends her on. But Cate's plucky, and as she comes into her own, she discovers another Lowcountry woman who beat the odds.

Enter Dorothy Heyward, whose chapters intersperse Cate's, and are presented as a one-woman play script. (This threw me for the first bit, but as I kept reading, I came to see the significance - and it gets really, really cool, I promise!) Dorothy's story could really be read separately, but paired with Cate's the way it is, both women's tales gain so much more emphasis and 'relatability'. Definitely worth muddling through the early part of the book to get to the meat. Frank has once again delivered a satisfying summer read.

Book provided by my local library.


  1. I've always wondered about this author. I mean I've seen her books on the shelf here locally but never really HEARD anything....sounds like while this may not be the book to get my feet wet with, there are a multitude of ones to try. May have to add one to my TBR list....thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Yeah, I definitely wouldn't try this one first - it's good, but not for a beginning/intro. My first read was 'Plantation' - and it was a good intro...Just make sure you don't pick up one of the two sequels she's written (Return to Sullivan's Island (2009), or Lowcountry Summer (2010)) by mistake - you'll be perplexed :o) Full of Grace is a nice read, as is Land of Mango Sunsets...oh, and Shem Creek (which made me very hungry to read, haha) :o)