Frank's latest novel explores quirky relationships - and bees

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Released in May of this year, "Queen Bee" is Dorothea Benton Frank's 20th novel.

The New York Times best-selling author was born on Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, and her stories take place throughout the Lowcountry. She has become one of the most popular writers of contemporary women's fiction.

Frank now lives with her husband in the New York area.

Written in her breezy and witty style, the briskly paced dialogue and cast of quirky, unpredictable characters keep readers coming back for more.

In this story, the main character, Holly, lives a mostly quiet life, doting on the young boys next door while crushing on their newly widowed father.

Holly remains mostly quiet because her high-maintenance mother lives with her and loves to be waited on hand and foot, earning her the nickname "Queen Bee."

Holly's hobby is beekeeping and, interestingly, the honey bees actually play a role in the plot. Readers will find out how that happens, but also included are interesting facts about bee behavior and their importance as pollinators.

When Holly's mother is diagnosed with inoperable tumors (believed to be likely benign) and Holly's polar-opposite sister Leslie returns to the nest, Holly's formerly "quiet" island life becomes anything but.

Then, when Leslie's husband arrives and the Queen Bee makes a new friend, well, let's just say the plot takes off in some unexpected directions.

"Queen Bee" is a big dose of Dot Frank's sassy, hilarious brand of humor and she has once again created memorable characters who pull it off with aplomb.

The Coastal Observer said, "What do you get when you combine family drama, eccentric characters and the unmistakable Lowcountry landscape? A Dorothea Benton Frank novel."

And this, from the late Pat Conroy: "She has staked out the Lowcountry of South Carolina as her personal literary property." You get the idea. Frank's books radiate Lowcountry atmosphere.

"Queen Bee" is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers nationwide.

Glenda Harris of Bluffton is a freelance writer and editor, nature lover and aspiring novelist.

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