The Last Original Wife
by Dorothea Benton Frank
published by Harper Collins
Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley’s wildly successful Atlanta social set. His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children they promised to love and cherish—’til death did them part—for tanned and toned young Barbie brides.
If losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn’t painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les’s world and push her to the edge. She’s had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around. She’s not going to waste another minute on people she doesn’t care to know. Now, she’s going to take some time for herself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. In her brother’s stately historic home, she’s going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers sharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island. Along Charleston’s live oak- and palmetto-lined cobblestone streets, under the Lowcountry’s dazzling blue sky, Les will indulge herself with icy cocktails, warm laughter, divine temptation and bittersweet memories. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she’s always dreamed.
Told in the alternating voices of Les and Wes, The Last Original Wife is classic Dorothea Benton Frank: an intoxicating tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love, that is as salty as a Lowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day.
I was looking forward to reading this book, a I have enjoyed Frank’s novels very much in the past. What I especially enjoy about her novels is the way she brings Charleston and the surrounding islands to life. I love the way she describes the smells, sounds and sights of the area. This novel begins in Atlanta, where Wes and Les’ marriage begins to fall apart. Les goes to stay with her brother in Charleston to figure out what to do about her husband and grown children. It was wonderful to see Les become more herself away from her controlling husband and need children. The only problem I had was that Wes was totally insufferable, and I couldn’t understand how Les would have stayed as long as she did. This was a fun and quick read (one day!) and I was glad to be able to put it between two more time consuming novels.
3.5 out of 5