THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE by Dorothea Benton Frank

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I have been hearing about this author for years and finally picked up a book at random. It was a quick read, and an enjoyable one. Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry, a place I’ve never been that is described so beautifully, I can’t wait to go.

Wes and Les have been married forever and live in Atlanta, Georgia. They have two grown children who are making their way in the world, albeit not in the most positive ways.

Wes is a domineering and secretive husband with a bit of a temper. Not abusive, at least not physically, but certainly demanding and shouty. Les has been a stay at home mom and housewife for all of their marriage, just the way Wes wants it. They belong to the local country club and the two couples they’ve been closest with have undergone some changes. Harold left Danette for a much younger woman, and Paolo’s wife died, and he’s with another much younger woman. Les has nothing in common with these women, making their couple time together uncomfortable at best.

Les’s brother Harlan is gay and lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where Les grew up. Wes is completely homophobic and has forbidden Les from having her brother stay with them or even visiting him. One day at the club, the two young trophy wives get into a cat fight, and Wes yells at Les for “allowing” it. She is pissed, leaves the club and goes home.

Les finds the file cabinet open that her husband has always kept locked, and starts looking around. She is dumbfounded to find a financial statement in both their names with a balance of over $22,000,000. Her husband leases a new Mercedes every few years, but Les has been driving used cars and scrimping and saving for years, never realizing how wealthy they were because her husband never told her. She really loses it then and decides to run away from home.

Les goes home to her brother, who is off to Italy for a month. She spends some time alone, and then with an old high school boyfriend. Learning about the deception in her marriage forces Les to do quite a bit of soul searching, with interesting results. And she rekindles her relationship with her brother.

It was refreshing to read about a woman who was turning 60 and still had a life. I enjoyed this and will be reading more of this author.

12/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE by Dorothea Benton Frank. William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 1, 2014). ISBN 978-0062132475. 368p.

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4 Responses to THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE by Dorothea Benton Frank

  1. clickclickmycat says:

    I have lived in Charleston, SC for 55 years. I have read all her books. A lot of the restaurants and businesses have since closed, or taken over by new owners and changed the names. I feel like I’m reading someone’s diary when I read her books. It is a wonderful place.

  2. Mary says:

    She’s one of my “go to” authors. I listened to this book and LOVED it.

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