Full of Grace

by Dorothea Benton Frank

Maria is the daughter of an Italian American couple who relocated to South Carolina to live out their golden years. She lives in a townhouse in Charleston with her neurosurgeon lover Michael, whom her parents refuse to acknowledge because not only are Maria and Michael not married, but he’s also an athiest, as well as not Italian, but Irish.

While many would classify Ms. Frank’s work, including this one, as being somewhat akin to the series romances that came with advertisements to win diamond pendants with your purchase of six volumes – cute pendants mind you, but still – she is more in the Nora Roberts and Anne Rivers Siddons category of fiction – not quite chick-lit, not quite general literature, but definitely elevated above the 200-page formula romance.

In this novel, Frank proves she can write comedy as well as romance, because we get a rollicking family farce involving Catholic dogma, hard science, and endless trays of lasagna, all served up with a southern flair.

I bought this on the $4.98 table the weekend I returned from Mexico, because I knew it would be a good “comfort novel.” I was not wrong.