After Jackie McMullen’s husband Jimmy is killed in a fire while working as a firefighter, her whole world centers on her ten-year-old son Charlie. She returned from Afghanistan, where she had been an army nurse, to their home in Brooklyn. But the loss of her great love Jimmy has turned her world dark. Worried about Charlie, who is unable to eat or sleep, Jackie makes a choice. And off they go to Sullivans Island near Charleston…where she grew up and where her parents still live.
Of course, Annie and Buster Britt have been residing in separate abodes, ever since they fought over Buster’s tendency to leave his fishing gear all over the place. Buster left, and that was eleven years ago.
Home to Jackie is where she can find her connections…and where the porch lights come on to welcome friends and family in the evening. Evenings on the porch are full of good drinks, food, and conversation.
Narrated alternately by Annie and Jackie, Porch Lights soon encircles us in warmth and Southern friendship, making us feel as though we are sitting right there on the porch with them.
Next door is Dr. Steve, a widower, but Jackie takes awhile to warm up to him. But after he “hires” Charlie to walk his dogs, and they become inseparable, before long, he is a regular on the porch.
Nevertheless, after a few weeks, Jackie feels she must go back to Brooklyn, to where she and Jimmy began their lives together. But Charlie wants to stay on the island. So, on the night before a fierce hurricane comes roaring through, Charlie does something so impulsive, so reckless, that all of their lives will be changed.
Will Charlie’s actions bring them all together, at last? And how will Annie and Buster finally resolve their differences? Will Jackie and Steve find romance?
This story was a beautiful portrait of family life, full of all the disagreements and the everyday annoyances, as well as the gorgeous food and conviviality that speak Southern living to a reader like me. I could not put it down. Recommended for those who love family drama and Southern settings. Five stars.