The Land of Mango Sunsets

The Land of Mango Sunsets

by Dorothea Benton Frank

Arlene Almas (12/29/12): Frank has written a light-hearted book about a middle-aged woman going through a tough time in her life. Miriam lives in New York City in a lovely townhouse which became hers when she and her former husband divorced, and which she can barely afford to maintain. To alleviate her financial situation, she has one tenant, a gay man who's her best friend, and soon acquires another, a young southern woman - who of course becomes her friend, too. Miriam is close to her mother as well, even though mom lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Sullivan's Island is the scene of many wonderful memories for Miriam, and she travels there to visit her mother whenever she can. The narrative moves forward from Miriam's unsuccessful attempts to keep up appearances in her high-class social circle, through her distant relationships with her two grown sons, to difficulties concerning the personal life of her new young tenant. When Miriam's younger son announces his intention to marry, circumstances begin to take a turn for the better, including Miriam's gradual evolution, upon meeting her mother's marvelous friend Harrison, to "Mellie," a more laid-back, mellow woman yet one who is open to new adventures. Although the story does touch on some serious themes, it was great fun following the author's zig-zags through an appealing woman's life.
Rating: ****

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