The Land of Mango Sunsets

Dorothea Benton Frank, Author
Dorothea Benton Frank, Author . Morrow $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-089238-8
Reviewed on: 02/05/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007

A middle-aged woman's self-discovery is predictable but not pedestrian in Frank's (Full of Grace ; Pawleys Island ) latest. A divorce has stalled Miriam Swanson's life: her snooty Hermès-swathed Manhattan friends abandoned her after her ex-husband "ran off with his whore"; one of her grown sons keeps her at arm's length, while her other son, a "nice nerd," stays beneath the family radar for months at a time; and the major drawback to her job at a museum is her boss—icy former friend Agnes Willis. In a twist that stretches disbelief, Miriam catches Agnes's husband, Truman, having a noisy rendezvous with Liz, the cute new tenant in Miriam's townhouse. After a brief interlude that sends Miriam to a South Carolina barrier island to visit her former cotillion queen mother—and meet the dreamy local Harrison Ford ("Not that wimpy actor")—Miriam reveals Truman's affair, with consequences that fuel the remainder of the book. Frank's narrative is heavy on healing—physically, mentally—and the importance of family, and though her sometimes delightfully nasty heroine is sympathetic, supporting cast members have one note apiece. This isn't Frank's finest, but it'll sate her fans. (Apr.)

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