I am a pretty big fan of this author because her books make me want to go to South Carolina, every single time. I have read almost all of her Low Country books and was a fan of all of them, so naturally when I saw this tour become available I jumped for the opportunity.
The Last Original Wife - Dorothea Benton Frank
Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the last original wife among her husband's group of cronies. They've all traded in their first wives-the middle-aged women they long ago promised to love and cherish 'til death did them part-for riper peaches: younger . . . blonder . . . more enhanced models.
Leslie is proud of her status and the longevity of her marriage. Sure the spark isn't quite as bright and sometimes takes a little longer to flame. And it wouldn't be too much to ask if her husband paid just an itty bit more attention to her desires. But there's something to be said for a comfortable and deeply familiar relationship. Or at least she thinks until the day, out golfing with her husband and his friends, she slips into a manhole. And nobody realizes that she's gone.
That one misstep opens Leslie's eyes to the sham her perfect life has become. No longer will she be invisible. No longer will she accept being taken for granted. With the healing powers of South Carolina's lush white beaches, candy-colored sunsets, and fiesty and funny residents, Leslie is going to transform herself and reclaim the strong, vibrant, sexy woman she was meant to be.
The Last Original Wife is classic Dorothea Benton Frank: an intoxicating tale of friendship and love that is as refreshing as a soothing breeze across a golden lowcountry marsh and as invigorating as a dip in cool, salty waters on a sizzling South Carolina summer day.
First and foremost, I loved these characters particularly Leslie. Maybe because I could identify with Leslie and the way she speaks and her opinions on the "new wives" is something that you'd expect to come out of my mouth. I also love that she falls into a manhole and sustains some pretty terrible injuries and how nobody noticed she was gone, but more importantly, how her husband doesn't even think it's a big deal. Even more so, he's angry she had the audacity to fall into a hole in the first place and try to ruin his golf game he had to (gasp!!) schedule two years in advance.
But the greater story here is how marriages fall apart over time for no concrete reason you can point out. Sure, there are instances (like the fall into the manhole) that you can point at and say that's when you knew things aren't the way they should be. Maybe they never were, but life keeps you busy and we always think someday it'll get better. Some times it doesn't and that's the story of Leslie and Wesley (her husband). It takes the manhole fall to spur her impromptu trip to Charleston and in her absence her husband and children realize all that she actually was doing for them. Some make changes, and some realize all the changes in the world can't fix how a person just is. But while gone, Leslie realizes how terribly things actually were going and she has to decide if she's willing to continue with good enough or strive for more.
I'll be honest, the ending was good, but I really thought she was going to turn things around for the family. I can't really say any more than that because it ruins it for you. But when the book starts off as both main characters in counseling, I thought we'd have a different ending. I do love the ending though. I feel like both characters come to an agreement and realize the other's point of view for all of those years. It doesn't mean you agree, it means you understand it.
If you are a chick lit fan, a Dorothea Benton Frank fan, or just need a fun summer read? Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed and you'll find yourself laughing and relating to it on some level.