Reading Recommendations: Porch Lights, a novel, Dorothea Benton Frank
When Jimmy McMullen, a fireman with the NYFD, is killed in the line of duty, his wife, Jackie, and ten year old son, Charlie, are devastated. Charlie idolized his dad, and now the outgoing, curious boy has become quiet and reserved. Trusting in the healing power of family, Jackie decides to return to her childhood home on Sullivan's Island.
Crossing the bridge from the mainland, Jackie and Charlie enter a world full of wonder and magic; lush green and chocolate greenlands; dazzling red, orange, and magenta evening skies; the heady pungency of low country Pluff mud and fresh seafood on the grill; bare toes snuggled in warm sand and palmetto fronds swaying in gentle ocean winds.
Awaiting them is Annie Britt, the family matriarch who has kept the porch lights on to welcome them home. Thrilled to have her family back again, Annie promises to make their visit perfect, even though relations between mother and daughter have never been what you'd call smooth. Over the years Jackie and Annie, like all mothers and daughters, have been known to have frequent and notorious differences of opinion. But her estranged and wise husband, Buster, and her flamboyant and funny best friend, Deb, are sure to keep Annie in line. She's also got Steven Plofker, the flirtatious and devilishly tasty widowed physician next door, to keep her distracted as well.
Captivated by the island's alluring charms and inspired by colorful low country lore, lively stories of Blackbeard and his pirates who once sailed the waters surrounding the Carolina shores, and of the former resident Edgar Allen Poe; mother, daughter, and grandson will share a memorable, illuminating summer. Told in Annie and Jackie's alternating voices, filled with Frank's wit, indelible poignancy, hallmark themes, the bonds of family, the heart's resilience, and the strength of love; Porch Lights is a winner on the shelves of Southern fiction.
And, Sword of San Jacinto, A life of Sam Houston, Marshall DeBruhl
Sam Houston was one of the most remarkable figures in American history. He was a native of Virginia who as a soldier, states man, and adventurer made his mark on the frontier in Tennessee and the Arkansas Territory; then went on to dominate the early history of Texas.
Now, drawing on newly accessible archival material, in particular the more than five thousand letters and documents in the Andrew Jackson Houston Collection of the Texas State Archives, historian Marshall DeBruhl vividly recreates the career of this larger than life hero. In a narrative brimming with fascinating details, DeBruhl captures Houston in all his complexity.
A frontiersman who lived among the Cherokee Indians for many years, he was the adopted son of Chief Ooleteka and a full citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Houston became a passionate defender of Indian rights.
As a soldier, Sam Houston served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, and ensured Texas Independence in 1836 with his astonishing victory over Santa Anna and the Mexican army at San Jacinto.
As a politician, Houston was a Tennessee Congressman at age thirty and then Governor at thirty-six. He went on to be the first elected President of the Republic of Texas and one of the first Senators from the new state. Because of his ardent defense of the Union and his refusal to swear allegiance to the Confederacy, he was deposed as Governor of Texas in 1861.
Houston's personal life was as tumultuous as his political and military careers. He married three times, always to much younger women. The first two were not successful. Years later, at age forty-six he married a woman of twenty, who bore eight children during their devoted and happy marriage.
Although Houston died ignored and vilified by those whose independence he has ensured, the eclipse of his reputation was brief. Today he is revered as a great Texan and a great American.
One of our books on Sam Houston from the Texas bookshelves.
See you at Rylander!