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The Last Original Wife: A Novel
by Dorothea Benton Frank

Published: 2013-06-11
Hardcover : 352 pages
5 members reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

Experience the sultry Southern atmosphere of Atlanta and the magic of the Carolina Lowcountry in this funny and poignant tale of one audacious woman’s quest to find the love she deserves, from New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank.

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last ...

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Introduction

Experience the sultry Southern atmosphere of Atlanta and the magic of the Carolina Lowcountry in this funny and poignant tale of one audacious woman’s quest to find the love she deserves, from New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank.

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.

Editorial Review

Author One-on-One: Dorothea Benton Frank and Adriana Trigiani

Adriana TrigianiDorothea Benton Frank

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani's most recent books include the novels The Shoemaker's Wife and Brava, Valentine She lives with her husband and daughter in Greenwich Village.

Adriana Trigiani: Dorothea Benton Frank is a great storyteller, a ray of sunshine, and a fabulous party guest. If she were a cocktail, she'd be fizzy, and there would be a paper umbrella and a row of those cute plastic monkeys hanging around the rim. She's hilarious and so full of pep, you might want to bottle her. For now, we have a little interview about her latest book to share with her readers.

Dorothea Benton Frank: Thank you, Adriana. Yes, in fact, I am a great party guest. But darlinâ??? Lock up the medicine cabinet.

AT:Your books and your writing are so inspired by the South Carolina Lowcountry. What is it about the place that makes it such a muse to you? And please, tell us what is so low about "lowcountry".

DBF: The Lowcountry of South Carolina has been home to my family for over three hundred years. My ancestors, who were mostly respectable school teachers and merchants, fought in every single war of Americaâ??s history. Itâ??s a blood soaked land steeped in all the important things that make us American but uniquely southern â?? stories of sacrifice, courage, determination, fortitude. It just seems more alive to me than any place Iâ??ve ever been. Honestly? I feel that itâ??s a great privilege to be a Lowcountry Daughter.

Whatâ??s so low? Well, the Lowcountry is at sea level and it begins in north Florida with the banks of the Ogeechee River and travels north to Georgetown, South Carolina. Itâ??s where rice was grown, using the fresh water tides with a series of gates and trunks to irrigate the rice fields.

AT: What gave you the idea for The Last Original Wife? That manhole episode that starts the novel is outrageous!

DBF: This is terrible but nearly that same thing actually happened to a great friend of mine in Rome â?? not all of it but she had a similar accident. And what about all the nuts who nearly get killed, texting while theyâ??re crossing the street? Outrageous incidents are easily found. One personal weakness of mine is that I watch all the You Tube videos people send. My crazy brain invented the rest.

AT: In your novels there is always a close family relationship that you explore. For example, in The Last Original Wife the narrator Leslie is very close to her brother. What is it about family relationships that intrigue you?

DBF: So many things. I am the youngest of five almost by a decade. So I watched my siblings interact from the sidelines for many years. And I lost my father at a very young age, which has had an enormous impact on me all my life, informing many decisions, good and bad. I learned early on that life could change in a mere moment. And I learned about the price of staggering loss. Now I cherish my brothers and my sister and wish we all lived nearer to each other. Itâ??s interesting that no matter how old I get, when we are all in the same room together, birth order takes over. Your friends can ditch you if you donâ??t act right. Itâ??s more complicated to sever ties with blood relatives. At the end of the day, family is the most important thing we have.

AT:Your novels are set in todayâ??s world and in The Last Original Wife itâ??s a virtual tour of Charleston, a must see destination. How did you know Charleston would become a mecca?

DBF:I didnâ??t. But it stands to figure that it would because who doesnâ??t want to visit the center of the universe?

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Did the setting play a role in the plot?
by bkmnmpl (see profile) 06/12/17

questions were included
by mgarrera (see profile) 02/25/15

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Last Original Wife"by bkmnmpl (see profile) 06/12/17

I expected a fluffy beach read, but what I got was a well-written family drama. The characters evolve, but the changes are realistic, not stereotypical. Because the chapters alternate between the 1st person... (read more)

 
  "The Last Original Wife"by marciad5 (see profile) 07/09/15

Good story that many wives can probably identify with at some part of the book. But it is hard to believe that a husband can be soooo totally unaware/uncaring about his wife's happiness.

 
  "Summer Beach Book"by mgarrera (see profile) 02/25/15

This is a good easy fun read. A good choice to take to the beach.

 
by FriendshipSisters (see profile) 10/06/14

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