A bestselling author and native of Sullivan’s Island, Dorothea Benton Frank, known as Dot, passed away Sept. 2, 2019.

“Reunion Beach” was to be the title of her next novel. Instead, that title was used for a collection of stories, happy memories, poems – and even some of Dot’s favorite Lowcountry recipes – from fellow writers, friends and family who longed for a way to express their grief and honor her memory.

The book is a tribute to this larger-than-life personality who is greatly missed.

Included are memorial essays by her daughter, Victoria, and her son, William, as well as her husband Peter’s speech given at her Celebration of Life, making this a touching, personal read for all, especially her loyal readers.

The many highlights in this anthology make it difficult to pick a favorite. Especially fun and poignant are the essays and stories written by Frank herself … like the one about the night she and her husband met Gore Vidal in a New York bar.

Frank wanted very much to meet him. She had a question for him: “Mr. Vidal, how do you know when it’s time to start writing?” After considering this for a couple minutes, he answered: “You’ll write your book when you can’t NOT write your book.”

Her “Letters to Her Readers” are entertaining and humorous as she gives her take on social media – the good, the bad and the ugly; laughs at unbelievable and hilarious news of the day; and reveals her favorite character of all her books, and why.

Frank had multiple careers before becoming a bestselling author and the now-famous story of how and why she got started writing is included. Her first novel was “Sullivan’s Island,” published in 2000. It debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List at No. 9. A total of 19 more novels would follow, all bestsellers, with her last, “Queen Bee,” published in 2019, just months before she passed.

Readers will love these original stories, all inspired by Frank. Contributing authors include Elin Hilderbrand, Mary Alice Monroe, Adriana Trigiani, Patti Callahan and Cassandra King Conroy.

Marjory Wentworth, author, poet and former poet laureate of South Carolina, shared poems that resonated strongly with Frank, who said, “It was as if we had both been writing about the same place at the same time.” She was so enamored, she included many of Wentworth’s poems in her Lowcountry novels.

Alive with the breezy exuberance of Dorothea Benton Frank, this collection is a must-read for fans and is available at booksellers nationwide and online.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a courtesy advance copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. (And I tried, truly I did … to be unbiased … but the truth is, I was moved to tears  reading this book.)

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