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Nancy's Notes - June 26, 2014

“The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton Frank, “Brothers Forever”by Tom Sileo, “Delicious!” by Ruth Reichl.

Nancy’s Notes
    My first book, “The Hurricane Sisters”, should be appropriate with the monsoons we’ve experienced in the past week. Written by Dorothea Benton Frank, who always writes about the South Carolina Lowcountry, it is story of three generations of women buried in secrets. The matriarch, eighty year old Maisie Pringle, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, even when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in a demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's twenty-something daughter Ashley’s dreamy ambitions keeps them all at odds. The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, and Ashley deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness.
    We recently found, “Brothers Forever” placed in our drop box with a note taped to the cover. It read, “A very touching story. Need Kleenex close by.”. I left the note on the book and checked it out to the next patron who agreed with the previous reader. Four weeks after Navy SEALs had killed Osama bin Laden, the President of the United States stood in Arlington National Cemetery. In his Memorial Day address, he extolled the courage and sacrifice of the two young men buried side by side in the graves before him: Travis Manion, a fallen US Marine, and Brendan Looney, a fallen US Navy SEAL. Although they were killed three years apart, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, these two best friends and former roommates were now buried together, “ brothers forever”.
    In Ruth Reichl’s, “Delicious!”, Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s iconic food magazine. Away from her family Billie feels like a fish out of water until she is welcomed by the magazine’s staff. She is also seduced by the downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. When the magazine is abruptly shut down, Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.
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