Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Audio Review: The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Dorothea Benton Frank is one of my favorite authors of the genre often called "Southern Fiction."  This one did not disappoint as a work of fiction.  I won't say I liked the main characters, and I certainly didn't like the early choices made by Leslie Anne Greene Carter, the protagonist, but once she escaped the bounds of a manipulative, selfish and thoroughly unlikeable husband, I found myself rooting for her to develop her backbone and stop being a doormat.

Let's recap the story from the publisher notes on audio book case:
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 keeping her around. 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 Sullivan's Island. 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'm of the same generation, background and education as Leslie Anne Carter, but I would never ever have put up with the demeaning life she endured married to Wes, skimping on spending, ignored in favor of the golf game, and treated like hired help.  I was alternately cheering for her to tell him to pound sand and plant his golf clubs where the sun doesn't shine and hoping that perhaps the two of them would get counseling, that he would somehow be able to give up his obsession with golf, and they might be able to salvage their relationship.  The resolution the author allows at the end is one I found satisfying emotionally and should be one that most readers can accept.  I won't spoil your enjoyment by telling anymore.

It was an enjoyable read, very well done in the audio format by narrator Robin Miles.

Title: The Last Original Wife
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Publisher: Harper Audio (2013), narrated by Robin Mil
Genre: Southern fiction
Subject: marriage, women's roles
Setting: Atlanta GA and Charleston SC
Source: public library audio download
Why did I read this book now?  I am a fan of the author and my sister recommended the book.


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