Anyone who has read Dorothea Benton Frank's earlier books, such as The Land of Mango Sunsets, will know what to expect with Bulls Island. The characters may be stereotypes, but Frank tells a good story. And she describes South Carolina with as much love as any other author.
Betts McGee is quite happy with her job at a private equity firm in New York City, where she lives with her son, Adrian, who is about to leave for college. However, she's horrified when she receives a job assignment on Bulls Island, off the coast of Charleston. She's kept her previous life in Charleston a secret from everyone, including her son, who doesn't know he has a family, and a father, in Charleston. Now Betts will be forced to face the man she still loves, and the two families that rejected her. She's going to be working with Langley Development, owned by J.D. Langley and his parents.
J.D. Langley gave up on life the day Betts, his childhood sweetheart, walked out. He went to law school, and married, but he still carries a torch for Betts. He doesn't know Betts was pregnant with his son. All he knows is that his mother caused the rift that tore them apart. Now, her plans to develop Bulls Island might bring them back together again.
Frank's characters are always stereotypes. They are also very melodramatic and Southern. Despite the drawbacks, I continue to pick up Frank's books, which are fast-moving, with interesting story lines. Bulls Island contains everything from a tragic car accident, family alienation, and drug addiction, to a giant alligator. Frank is one of the few authors who can pack all of that in, plus a grown son no one knows about, and an explosive ending. Her stories are always packed with life-changing events.
With one of her books, I always know I'll be returning to South Carolina, with the heat, humidity, and the lush lifestyle. And Dorothea Benton Frank's Bulls Island isn't a bad place to visit.