I’m very excited to be today’s stop on the blog tour for All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank! Before I begin, I’d like to thank TLC Book Tours for allowing me to participate, and William Morrow Paperbacks for sending me my review copy.
All Summer Long tells the story of Olivia, a New York interior designer, who is married to Nick, a just-retired history professor. Years ago, Olivia promised to move to Sullivan’s Island when Nick retired, and the time to make good on her promise has arrived. Unbeknownst to Nick, recent setbacks in Olivia’s business have compromised their financial security. She needs work—and plenty of it—to get their money situation sorted out. With that in mind, Olivia is especially looking forward to vacationing with long-time client Bob and his (latest) wife, Maritza. She feels confident that the cruise to a private island with the billionaire couple (and a few of their friends) will result in more than enough work to keep her busy and give a much needed boost to her bank account.
Instead, she finds herself being the unwilling confidant Maritza chooses to talk about her marital woes, as well as an embarrassed witness to the nanny brazenly flaunting her affair with Bob while another woman tries in vain to capture Bob’s affections while making a drunken spectacle of herself repeatedly. Then there’s Bob’s adult son from his previous marriage, who shares the rest of the group’s openly hostile opinion that Maritza is a gold-digger who broke up his parent’s marriage. The vacation proves to be anything but relaxing, particularly after a frightful episode involving Bob and Maritza’s little girl. But that feels like heaven in retrospect when the group gathers again for the wedding of Bob’s son… and one of the guests is Bob’s ex-wife.
It had been a long time since I last traveled to the Carolina Lowcountry within the pages of one of Dorothea’s books, so I was looking forward to letting my imagination take flight for a leisurely visit once more. I’ll be honest and say that I was expecting a story set primarily in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. That didn’t happen, but while I was the tiniest bit disappointed, I still found myself enthralled with the wildly unpredictable cast of characters that made up Bob’s group of friends. They are ridiculously rich, often unlikable, and I couldn’t relate to any of them at all… but I had such fun reading about them! (And, more often than not, rolling my eyes at many of the self-important things they would say.)
Without a doubt, my favorite character was Maritza. I could vividly picture everything she did in my mind’s eye. I adored her no nonsense attitude and the way she handled a sticky situation near the end of the book. She was such a hoot! Nick was a close second. How could I not love a character with such a love for history, and who took such joy in introducing his big city wife to one of the South’s most simple, yet incredibly delicious, culinary delights? If you’re curious about what it was? It was a tomato sandwich. (Trust me… they are heavenly!) This may have been my favorite scene in the entire book, actually, because the way it played out felt so authentic.
I enjoyed reading this book very much, and would definitely recommend it to others.
About the Book
Filled with her trademark wit, poignant themes, and rich characters, the perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with a sensational novel that follows the travels of one couple though a tumultuous summer.
Dorothea Benton Frank’s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking, too.
This is a story of people whose lives are changing—a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people’s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.
This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends—husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.
Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.