There’s something about the South Carolina Lowcountry that draws me in. It’s maybe a twisted sort of genteel refinement, where the politeness is superficial, and repressed aggression seethes underneath. The underneath part intrigues me despite its repelling nature.
And so it is with this novel. Ashley’s family dealing with love and commitment – that’s the surface plot. What Frank truly writes about is darker and more disturbing – a pervasive perversion of commitment that brainwashes the victims and destroys trust.
Frank brilliantly depicts the gradual creeping in of abuse, and then slams her point home with the abruptness of an abuser’s sickest moment. Until I began writing this review, I didn’t even realize how perfectly Frank paralleled her writing with the lows – and lowest of lows – of abuse. Seriously. The abuse plot just sneaked in there. I didn’t know it was even important to the story until something big happened. And I didn’t know it WAS THE STORY until the end.
Frank wrote The Hurricane Sisters with such cleverness that I took the whole thing for face value – a family, their love affairs, their careers, their mistakes – until rehashing it in my brain at the end. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of love and shopping and partying and painting and working and traveling and falling in love. But there’s stuff that abusers try to sweep under the rug, as well.
As a fan of fairy tale romances and happily-ever-afters, I wouldn’t expect to love this book. But I did. And I do. You and you will, too.