Dorothea Benton Frank’s ‘All Summer Long’ Is A Love Letter to the South [REVIEW]
March 27, 2017 3 Comments
Moving is hard. There are so many things to think about when one uproots a life. There are the inevitable changes of career, saying goodbye to friends and family, and even having to find someone new to style your hair. But when a New York based couple decides to make the life altering decision to retire to the slower paced South, they must face not only a change in circumstances and locale, but the secrets they have kept hidden from one another. Will their marriage be strong enough to survive these challenges as they arise? Find out in Dorothea Benton Frank’s new novel, All Summer Long.
Olivia Ritchie is a prominent interior designer. Her husband, Nicholas Seymour, is an English professor with a romantic’s heart. Olivia has New York City in her blood and has never really dreamed of living anywhere else. Nick, on the other hand, is a Southern gentleman who longs to return to the place he calls home.
As different as they are though, Nick and Olivia are deeply in love and would do anything for each other. Thus, when the time comes for them to retire, they both agree to move to the Lowcountry to live out the rest of their lives in peace.
Olivia buys a huge house on Sullivan’s Island, seeing its potential, despite the fact that it is a real fixer-upper. Nick’s just happy to go home, and leaves the details to Olivia. But there are things she isn’t telling him. Her client pool is drying up, and their finances aren’t what they used to be.
Now both of them have one long, hot summer to decide how they are going to spend the rest of their lives. Together, they travel the world with some of Olivia’s wealthy clients and their eccentric friends and learn whether or not money really can buy happiness.
All Summer Long is one of those rare books that is both gripping and languidly told. Frank does a phenomenal job capturing every nuance of marriage, from the weird little intricacies that make Olivia and Nick vital and real to the compromises they both have to make in order to make their marriage work.
Frank navigates walking the precarious tightrope of that relationship, and deftly demonstrates the very different ways that men and women think about the same matter, and it leaves us as her readers cheering for them both to find out what they need as individuals and as a couple.
As much as this is a novel about relationships, however, it is also a love letter to the South. Frank’s passion for the people, the landscape, the history and the ideology of the Lowcountry is clear, and she uses her insider knowledge to hang a giant welcome sign out for her readers to make the pilgrimage to Sullivan Island.
Using only her words, she deftly paints a vivid portrait of South Carolina that makes all of us, Southern or not, long for rocking chairs on deep porches, round sunglasses with huge sunhats, and platters of crisp fried shrimp.
If you like the work of Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons and Harper Lee, Dorothea Benton Frank needs to be on your list of must-read authors. She is a true Southern writer who captures the romance of the region with keen insight and more than a bit of humor, and one who holds her own among the best of America’s literary greats.
In fact, Dorothea Benton Frank’s books are so thoughtful and immersive, they should come with a hammock and a mint julep, because reading her books is an experience that should be pondered and savored, until the last delicious page is turned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Original Wife, Porch Lights, and Folly Beach. Her first novel, Sullivans Island, was published in 2000 and debuted at number nine on the New York Times bestseller list.
Prior to becoming a bestselling author, she had a career in the retail apparel industry and worked for companies like Fire Islander Sportswear, Heralcorp Industries and Michael Lerner in New York City; Byer California in San Francisco; Kerrison’s Department Store in Charleston, S.C., and College Town Sportswear in Atlanta, Ga.
She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The College of Charleston and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Bloomfield College. In 1972, she graduated from the Fashion Institute of America in Atlanta, Ga. and from General William Moultrie High School in 1969.
When she isn’t working, Frank can be found cooking, fly fishing, reading and traveling. Born and raised on Sullivans Island, S.C., she currently makes her home in the New York area with her husband. Visit her home on the Web, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
All Summer Long is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.