Publication Date: 5/312016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Dorothea Benton Frank novels are bursting with the type of smart and witty fiction that every reader wants on their bookshelf: soulful, edgy stories about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart.
All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple – glamorous interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband Nicholas, a true southern gentleman from Charleston – as they are swept up into the world of the ultra-rich and travel the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer, and find themselves pondering the next step of their lives. This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are looking for something more to fulfill them and even the most successful can often struggle to get things together. It asks the ultimate question: can money buy happiness?
From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the face of true love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes them all.
A special thank you to HarperCollins and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. (Stunning hardcover)!
Dorothea Benton Frank, the "Queen" of Southern Fiction, returns following All the Single Ladies (2015) with her kickoff annual summer beach read—ALL SUMMER LONG. From glamorous Manhattan, Nantucket, Spain to Sullivan’s Island, SC- a couple from different walks of life. A crazy tumultuous summer; coming to find happiness through life’s storms in unexpected ways: Belonging. A powerful story of renewal and magic in the LowCountry. Meet Olivia, a New York highly successful top interior designer. Over the years she has had the privilege of observing the private and personal habits of the rich and famous. She has worked hard to rebuild her life after her first philandering financially irresponsible medical student husband, had taken everything and left. She was determined this would never happen again. She buried herself in her work and built her business, one gnarly client at a time. Single life was lovely; however, she was fortunate to meet another man—a Southern gentleman from the Lowcountry. They remarried and have had a happy life. She still managed her independence at the same time. Nick was like Olivia in that he also collected things. He loved leather bound books for his study. They loved to travel. He was a professor and the bulk of their money came from her and her business. She handled their finances. However now, it was time to downsize—(necessary) the economy and her business was slowly shrinking. She has not told her husband their dire situation. She keeps thinking she would attain more clients, but she fears in the minds of her clients- she would be washed up. Moving away from New York would be horrific. Why in the world would a client in Manhattan hire an interior designer from anywhere else? She had promised Nick, a confirmed bachelor, when they married fourteen years ago, when he moved in with her, they would retire to Sullivan’s Island, SC-- the land of his ancestors and boyhood. He was so excited . . and looked forward to their simpler life. He wanted to share every part of the South with her. Olivia was not so sure. She has purchased a big old house to keep up her image, which needed a lot of work; however, how would they be able to afford the renovation and lifestyle without the money coming in? She knew the house would be far too grand for Nick’s taste. She hoped to build her business once back in SC, and as usual she was in a panic. In the meantime, they are globetrotting, cruises and jetting around the world with the rich and famous, hoping for more work from these clients. She liked being younger than Nick, and the only other person she could depend on besides her husband, was her assistant Roni. With her Manhattan lifestyle behind, can Olivia survive in the LowCountry, with no housekeeper, clients or contacts in Charleston,--places to shop, or get her hair done? She was stripped of her possessions. She had been playing the denial game for far too long. It was either Nick or Charleston---he had always had a desire for beautiful things—the big city. Whereas Nick’s parents lived a modest island life, but they gave him a world of things to feel passionate about and to love—encouragement. Olivia’s parents gave her none of those values. Now Nick, age sixty-seven, an historian, had come back to the Lowcountry and slipped right back into his boyhood life without missing a beat. Olivia on the other hand was adapting slowly and her heart carried some gloom—she loved him and was determined to rise above the feeling that she was the proverbial fish out of water. From their billionaire friends, Bob and his wife Maritza. and their differences, a cast of other eccentric characters—the ups and downs, dramas, Nantucket, and Roni---possibly Olivia might get used to the South. From friends, and lots of life’s curve balls—the enchanted waters of Sullivan’s Island might wash the urban demons out to sea. An opening of heart and mind Believing, Faith, Love. Relationships, bonds, and marriage—trusting and loving. Money does not always buy happiness. Dorothea Benton Frank once again brings her love and passion of the LowCountry to the pages making her characters come alive. From wit, charm, drama, and local flavor-from fresh fish, dogs, dolphins, music, seagulls, seaside, laughter—and dreams, a powerful place, happiness-home at last. Not as extreme opposites as Green Acres, the American TV sitcom, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, couple who move from New York City to a country farm. 1965-1971. However, quite entertaining!
About the Author
Dorothea Benton Frank (b. 1951). Best-selling author, public speaker, nonprofit fundraiser. Frank and her four siblings, Lynn Benton Bagnal, William Oliver Benton (deceased), Theodore Anthony Benton and Michael Kent Benton were born and reared on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. She is the daughter of William Oliver Benton, Jr. (1914 - 1955) and Dorothea Blanchard (1914 - 1992).
She attended Bishop England High School in Charleston and graduated from General William Moultrie High School in 1969. Her interest in retail apparel took her to Atlanta GA where she graduated from The Fashion Institute of America in 1972. For a short period she lived in Atlanta and was employed in the Atlanta Apparel Mart by College Town Sportswear. She returned to Charleston, SC in 1973 and became a buyer for Kerrison's Department Store. In 1974 she was hired by Byer California and moved to San Francisco, CA. A year later she moved to New York City and went to work on Seventh Avenue for Fire Islander Sportswear, Heralcorp Industries and Michael Lerner. She retired from the apparel industry in 1985.
In 1983 she married Peter Richard Frank (b.1947) and moved to Montclair, NJ shortly after the birth of their first child, Victoria Hanna Frank (b.1985). In 1988 their son, William Richard Frank was born.
While her children were young Ms. Frank became a volunteer fundraiser, organizing events for various non-profit organizations around the Metropolitan New York area. Past board service includes The Montclair Art Museum, Whole Theater Company, The Drumthwacket Foundation, The NJ State Council on the Arts and The NJ Cultural Trust. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of the SC Coastal Conservation League and the Parent's Council of the College of Charleston. At the present time she is a trustee of Bloomfield College (Bloomfield NJ), The Montclair Film Festival (NJ) and The SC Historical Society.
Her first novel, SULLIVANS ISLAND (Berkley Publishing 2000) debuted on the NY Times list at number nine and went back to press over twenty five times, has well over one million copies in print and can be found in ten foreign languages. Her subsequent novels PLANTATION (Berkley 2002), ISLE OF PALMS (Berkley 2003), SHEM CREEK (Berkley 2004), PAWLEYS ISLAND (Berkley 2005), FULL OF GRACE (Wm. Morrow 2006), BULLS ISLAND (Wm. Morrow 2007), THE CHRISTMAS PEARL and LAND OF MANGO SUNSETS (Wm. Morrow 2008), LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER (Wm. Morrow 2009), RETURN TO SULLIVANS ISLAND (Wm. Morrow 2010), FOLLY BEACH (Wm. Morrow 2011), PORCH LIGHTS (Wm. Morrow 2012), THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE (Wm. Morrow 2013) were all NY Times bestsellers and may also be found in various foreign languages. Click here to see Dottie's books in order of publication and to read excerpts.
She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The College of Charleston and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Bloomfield College.
Ms. Frank is an avid cook, enjoys fly fishing, reading and travel and is a frequent speaker on the creative process for students of all ages. She divides her time between the Lowcountry of South Carolina and New Jersey. Read More