The Parker women of Riverton, North Carolina are known for three things: southern graces, storytelling, and sassy mouths. The second to some, would be considered outright lying, the last a surprise to those who view them as ladies with a gentle upbringing. But the Parker legacy has never been what it seems and keeping up appearances in their small town has trumped the truth every time. Just as Charlotte is about to break the news of her plan to strike out on her own, her daughter, Janie, returns from college to announce she’s pregnant. Her nosey sister, Purdy, becomes desperate to take control and devises a sinister plan to rid the Parker’s of yet another family secret. But Janie’s upbringing has instilled a deeper faith in her than anyone realizes. Compelling and unexpected, Wide Planked Porches is a moving novel that will make you rethink family duty, faith, and fortitude.
For fans of Kathryn Stockett (The Help) and Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), a must-read for lovers of the South, and eavesdroppers who love to listen in on someone else's family drama.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10
Plot: In this well plotted book, Frances recreates charming small-town life, where friendly neighbors live among well-tended gardens and country club lunches last all afternoon. But she also subtly explores the darker side of life and the long shadows it casts.
Prose: With simple yet effective prose and dialogue that keeps her story moving quickly, Frances writes with a clear Christian viewpoint. The recitation of prayers and frequent references to God, however, are skillfully balanced by other plot elements.
Originality: While the subject matter is nothing particularly new, Frances gives the topic a twist when Janie fakes her abortion—a plot detail with the potential to send the novel in many different directions, practically all at once.
Character Development: The characters here are well crafted. Janie emerges as the most likeable, while Purdy’s snarky superficiality dominates each of her scenes. Frances makes the most of her few male characters, all of whom are nicely sketched.
Date Submitted: July 13, 2017