January 2019 Book of the Month: By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

Happy New Year! We’re welcoming in 2019 with a great new book of the month from Dorothea Benton Frank. Filled with wonderful characters and Dorothea Benton Frank’s trademark sense of humor, By Invitation Only is the perfect way to kick off the new year.

About the book:

The Lowcountry of South Carolina, at a barbecue thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement, is where By Invitation Only begins. On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range. Meanwhile, the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, a volunteer fund- raiser who believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary Carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.

Soon By Invitation Only zooms to Chicago, where the unraveling accelerates. Nearly a thousand miles away from her comfortable, familiar world, Diane is the antithesis of the bright lights and super-sophisticated guests attending her son Fred’s second engagement party. Why a second party? Maybe it had been assumed that the first one wouldn’t be up to snuff? Fred is marrying Shelby Cambria, also an only child. The Cambrias’ dearest wish is for their daughter to be happy. If Shelby wants to marry Frederick, aka Fred, they will not stand in her way—although Susan does hope her friends won’t think her daughter is marrying more than a few degrees beneath her socially. At the same time, Diane worries that her son will be lost to her forever.

By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well-to-do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hardworking southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviar and pigs, skyscrapers and Spanish moss—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

By Invitation Only is classic Dorothea Benton Frank—a mesmerizing Lowcountry tale that roars with spirit, humor, and truth, and forces us to reconsider our notions of what it means to be a Have or a Have-Not.

 

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Reviews

“Frank’s wit permeates her social media…and infuses By Invitation Only…” –New York Times Sunday Book Review

BY INVITATION ONLY is a heartwarming and hilarious account of opposites attracting just as the world at large wrestles with these same questions of what is true wealth and what is true love and equality.” -Bookreporter.com

“The queen of the salt-sprayed Lowcountry tale has done it again. Reading Frank is like spending time with a favorite friend who’s witty and a bit crass and has got to tell you every tidbit…Count on a story brimming with snappy dialogue that always rings true.” –Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Something about her novels just seems to say summer.” –USA Today

“Worlds collide in this funny, sharp, empathetic novel about what happens when two very different families are forced to become one.” -Good Housekeeping

“There’s an adjustment period whenever two families merge, but these fictional folks will keep you laughing all the way.” -Parade

 

Recommended reads:

The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.

Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.

When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Apple Books | Goodreads

Small Town Rumors by Carolyn Brown

Everyone is talking about Jennie Sue Baker and the mess she made of her life in New York. The former high school queen bee—and wealthy darling of Bloom, Texas—has returned home after all these years, riding on a common bus and bearing two bounced alimony checks. In a town that thrives on gossip, Jennie’s fall from grace has shamed her mother, set the town buzzing, and caused old, jealous enemies to whisper in delight. They say she’s taken a job as a housekeeper, gotten a garage apartment, and might be crushing on Rick Lawson, a simple farmer with modest dreams.

As romance starts to bud, Jennie relishes what it means to follow her heart, find real new friends, and finally be herself—regardless of all the lying town chatter. But fate has another twist in store. Rumor has it that Jennie now stands to lose what matters most…unless she can convince Rick of one true thing—and that’s love.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Apple Books | Goodreads

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