This is my first experience of reading a Dorothea Benton Frank book, and it was not too bad. It was a fun read with some spunky wives and a few really chauvinistic husbands. It had a few flaws, but none that I felt were impossible to get over.
Flaw #1: The cover pictures a woman on a beach. I guess Leslie (main character) went to the beach a few times in the book, but it was not a focal point of the book or the main setting. The book takes place in the South….Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.
Flaw #2: The ages of the characters seem to be skewed. Leslie turns 60 in the book, and she had to drop out of college because she became pregnant with her first child. I believe her first child is in her 20’s….the math does not add up.
Flaw #3: The male characters are wealthy and educated, but are one of the most self-centered bunch of men I have ever read about….why did these seemingly strong-willed women marry them in the first place? Do people truly change that much?
Anyway, despite these flaws, I enjoyed reading the story of Les and Wes (corny names) who have been married for 30 years, they belong to a golf club (where Wes’ priority in life is), and they have raised two children who have become whiny, lazy and dependent children. Well, after a horrible golfing trip to Scotland, Les finally comes to her senses in regards to her marriage and more important to her life. A light bulb has clicked on. The couple had traveled to Scotland with two other couples….both of the husbands have remarried younger trophy wives. Harold had an affair with his personal trainer (cliché) and Paolo’s wife died….but he remarried months later. This leaves Les the last original wife…get it? OK…we can move on.
The new wives are catty and superficial, and Les cannot relate. Wes sees his wife as a maid and a mother… someone who takes care of him, rotates his underwear, cooks his meals and cleans the house. He is no longer attracted to her and wishes she was more like the trophy wives.. This is where the hookers enter the picture. But they are just for sex…so it is OK. Wes has kept Leslie on a tight leash especially when it comes to the budget. She has not been allowed new clothes, new furnishings or a new car even though Wes gets a new car every two years and he is able to spend thousands on golf trips. It makes you wonder why she never questioned him or has put up with it for 30 years. The final straw comes when she finds their bank statement…..together they have more money they she ever imagined. This sets her mind ablaze.
She quickly packs a bag, and she books a flight to Charleston where her gay brother, Harlan, lives in the house of famous author Josephine Pinckney…she was a real person…look her up, I did. Her brother is a wonderful character and the two of them have a enduring relationship…one in which I was envious. It is here that she undergoes a transformation while Wes discovers just how far he has pushed Leslie away and wants her back. The story continues with cat fights, romance, a wedding and even some spirits that reside in the house. An easy, fun read….it won’t make you smarter or think on any higher level, but it might just make you laugh.