‘By Invitation Only’ Reminds Us of the Importance of Family [REVIEW]

wedding couple sitting on green grass in front of body of water at sunset

Opposities attract in Dorothea Benton Frank’s uproarious new novel, By Invitation Only. (Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com)

When a young couple falls in love and announces their engagement, it sends their families reeling. After all, the bride is a well-to-do Chicago socialite while the groom comes a peach farm in the South Carolina Lowcountry. As their families meet for the first time, will the starry-eyed couple be able to handle the heat or will their romance disintergrate as cultures clash? Find out in Dorothea Benton Frank’s hilariously candid new novel, By Invitation Only. 

By Invitation Only cover

William Morrow

Meet the Stiftels. They are simple folk who work hard to keep the family farm on the map. They don’t put on airs, are perfectly content to socialize with average folks down at their farm stand, and they certainly don’t turn a simple wedding engagement into a grand gesture. Or at least they didn’t until Fred got it into his fool head to marry some Miss Fancy Pants Yankee. Now the clan has to plan an engagement party for the couple, and it is certainly shaping up to be a headache Fred’s mom, Diane, simply isn’t prepared for.

The Cambrias, on the other hand, are loaded, to say the least. Fred’s future bride, Shelby, is the epitome of glitz and glam. Raised in a dazzling penthouse apartment far above the Chicago skyline, her life is populated by her father’s wealthy clients and her mother’s socialite friends. It is a world apart from the heat, humidity, and agricultural life her darling Fred has always known. And yet their love is about to blow the doors off the house and turn both families on their ears as the Haves meet the Have Nots at two very different celebrations: the first at a Lowcountry barbecue and the second at a super-sophisticated soirée.

As each family tries to temper its expectations of what life for the couple will possibly be like, they attempt to harness their doubts about this impending union of hearts and focus on the joy of the moment. In doing so, they ultimately discover that life can change on a dime, that everyone has a bit more grit than we often give them credit for, and that the future is absolutely uncertain for everyone involved.

Although I read this novel over the Memorial Day weekend high atop Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, By Invitation Only is the kind of book that can be devoured on beaches and beside pools all summer long. It is filled with genuine characters with valid concerns and tangible fears, people who will endear themselves to readers and will live on in our minds and hearts long after the final page is turned. Much more than being just another story about yet another wedding, this is a book that celebrates our humanity, makes us examine our differences, and entertains us even as it reminds us that no matter how much or how little any of us has, the most prized possession any of us has is family. Just like she always does, Dot Frank makes us laugh out loud even as she cuts straight to the heart. Of all the invitations you receive this summer, don’t miss this one!


Dorothea Benton Frank

Dorothea Benton Frank
(Photo by Debbie Zammit)

Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times bestselling author of Same Beach, Next YearAll Summer LongThe Last Original WifePorch Lights, and Folly BeachHer 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.

By Dorothea Benton Frank
400 pgs. William Morrow. $27.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostYou may purchase this book at one of these fine online retailers: HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

By Invitation Only is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

5 Responses to ‘By Invitation Only’ Reminds Us of the Importance of Family [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: ‘By Invitation Only’ Reminds Us of the Importance of Family [REVIEW] | Lystria Hurley Blog

  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. Pingback: Dorothea Benton Frank, author of By Invitation Only, on tour May/June 2018 | TLC Book Tours

  4. Debby Carrico says:

    Love her books. Thanks for the heads-up….Thanks from a blast from your past, Heather!

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