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Porch Lights Hardcover – Jun 12 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (June 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061961299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061961298
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #291,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 28 2013
Format: Paperback
Story Description:

HarperCollins|April 15, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-221176-7

When fireman Jimmy McMullen is killed in the line of duty, his wife, Jackie, and ten-year-old son, Charlie, are devastated. Trusting the healing power of family, Jackie decides to return to her childhood home on Sullivans Island - a place of lush green grasslands, the heady pungency of Lowcountry Pluff mud, and palmetto fronds swaying in gentle ocean winds.

Thrilled to have her family back, matriarch Annie Britt promises to make their visit perfect. Over the years, Jackie and Annie, like all mothers and daughters, have had differences of opinion. But her estranged and wise husband, Buster, and her best friend, Deb, are sure to keep Annie in line. She's also got the flirtatious widowed physician next door to keep her distracted. Captivated by the island's natural charms, mother, daughter, and grandson will share a memorable, illuminating summer.

My Review:

Jackie McMullen was an army nurse stationed in Afghanistan for a seven-month tour when her husband, Jimmy was killed. He was fireman for the city of New York and fell through the floor when it collapsed in a filthy, rat-infested tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Jackie swore that Jimmy couldn't be too far away because she could "feel him, watching over me, over us." They were very much in love and Jackie was devastated.

Their 10-year-old son, Charlie, was depressed and had idolized his Dad. Jimmy took Charlie everywhere on his days off, they spent a lot of quality time together and losing his father was like losing a part of himself. Charlie's despair was a huge concern for Jackie, no matter what she said or did, didn't seem to bring him around.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 441 reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Dorothea's worst beats most people's best. June 17 2012
By V.L. Mason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Porch Lights stands accused of being predictable then of being absurd and of course, we are all entitled to our opinions but the accusation of predictability and absurdity about the same book seem some how dichotomous to me.

The protagonist, Jackie is a returning vet from Afghanistan whose husband (a NYC firefighter) has been killed and she and her young son return to her family home on Sullivan's Island.

I do agree that the handsome doctor next door WAS a bit obvious but how do you write a none predictable romance? Come on, boy meets girl is pretty tried and true and predictable no matter how you gussie up the circumstances that lead up to it lol.

I found Buster and Annie (our heroine's parents) quirky and funny in the grand Southern tradition of hysterically funny nut jobs (among whom I count myself).

A good, quick, read not the best of Ms. Dorothea (think Plantation, Sullivan's Island etc.) but a worthy read.
72 of 84 people found the following review helpful
The porch light is off Aug. 9 2012
By susannah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I used to LOVE Dorothea Benton Frank. Her early works made me long to live on Pawley's or Sullivan's Island, feel the sand beneath my bare feet, and be a Geechee girl. But as with most prolific writers, there has been a decline in the quality of her writing, but I was still able to at least finish the last one I read, though I didn't like it. Wanting to give her one more chance, I got Porch Lights, and had to stop a third of the way in. The premise is fine, and seeing the POVs of mother and daughter are fine, but the characterization and dialogue were just bad. I didn't like Jackie's constant whining and moaning about how she had lost everything that meant anything to her, that she had nothing etc. Her self pity was a little, or very, hard to take when, though I understand she was mourning her husband, she had her health, a beautiful child, family and friends who loved and supported her, a home, career options, etc. She had alot more than nothing. I noticed how she begrudged her mother her cornbread pan, comparing that to how the Afghan women had to cook over a campfire, but at no time did she think of herself as alot more damned fortunate than the Afghan women. I didn't like the grandmother's idiotic flirtations with the man next door, the "competition" with her friend over him like he was an object, and her asking her daughter to look in his laundry hamper to see what kind of underwear he wore was just gross, on several levels. I didn't get the lunch ordering scene either, when the ten year old grandson chooses and orders for her because he is the "man" at the table? Being the "man" means treating women as though they can't speak for themselves? Not in my book.

Why couldn't she have the characters talk to each other like real people, instead of being like cartoons? Additionally, the gross overuse of exclamation points adds to the cartoonish feel, and makes the book read like an eleven year old girl's diary. Thoughtful conversations and interactions, and sensitive and nuanced illustrations of place...AREN'T in this book. It is very sad.
56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
"A HEARTFELT EPIC OF LOVE, LOSS, AND HEALING!" June 12 2012
By Geraldine Ahearn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jimmy McMullen worked for the NYFD, a firefighter who lived in Brooklyn with his wife and son. Jackie, Jimmy's wife is an Army Nurse, who was serving in Afghanistan at the time of the tragedy. She was notified that her husband was killed in the line of duty, and returned home to attend Jimmy's funeral. During her time of complete shock of the horrifying news, she had to console her ten year old son. After the funeral, Jackie decided to take Charlie away for a while, because Charlie could not bear the pain of staying in their home. Jackie was welcomed with open arms when she returned to Sullivans Island, but only intended to visit, because she had a job offer at the VA hospital in Brooklyn, but that's not what Charlie wanted. The Porch Lights were on with a great big Welcome, but Jackie and Charlie needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel in their long journey of healing. The Top priority in her state of mind was to comfort herself and her son as much as she possibly can, rather than try her best to mend old family ties and bonding. Her relationship with her parents was actually much better than it is in other families, but major concern had to be focused on the pain she and Charlie suffered. Jimmy was a hero and a best friend to Charlie, and only Jackie could feel the same pain. Dorothea Benton Frank delivers a Masterpiece of love, tragedy, loss, and healing. The compelling story tugs at your heartstrings from beginning to end, from the horrific news of tragedy to trying to cope with the loss. The heartwarming story will make you ponder, long after the book is closed. Highly recommended!
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Predictable June 17 2012
By Charlotte Cessato - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel was a quick read,but extremely predictable. I knew from the second that an eligible doctor lived next door to Annie that Jackie's fate was sealed. As one who has lost a spouse I found it unrealistic that a widow could have feelings for another man after only eight weeks since her husband's death. The story of Annie and Buster was absurd. Ms. Frank can do better than this and has.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A short story, not a novel June 27 2012
By Emily - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've loved Dorothea Benton Frank's books for years, Plantation is still my favorite. She has written more a short story than a novel, and not a very good one at that. I had a very hard time getting through Porch Lights, there just isn't enough of a plot to make it interesting.

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