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The Last Original Wife: A Novel Hardcover – June 11, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

Author One-on-One: Dorothea Benton Frank and Adriana Trigiani

Adriana TrigianiDorothea Benton Frank

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani's most recent books include the novels The Shoemaker's Wife and Brava, Valentine She lives with her husband and daughter in Greenwich Village.

Adriana Trigiani: Dorothea Benton Frank is a great storyteller, a ray of sunshine, and a fabulous party guest. If she were a cocktail, she'd be fizzy, and there would be a paper umbrella and a row of those cute plastic monkeys hanging around the rim. She's hilarious and so full of pep, you might want to bottle her. For now, we have a little interview about her latest book to share with her readers.

Dorothea Benton Frank: Thank you, Adriana. Yes, in fact, I am a great party guest. But darlin’? Lock up the medicine cabinet.

AT:Your books and your writing are so inspired by the South Carolina Lowcountry. What is it about the place that makes it such a muse to you? And please, tell us what is so low about "lowcountry".

DBF: The Lowcountry of South Carolina has been home to my family for over three hundred years. My ancestors, who were mostly respectable school teachers and merchants, fought in every single war of America’s history. It’s a blood soaked land steeped in all the important things that make us American but uniquely southern – stories of sacrifice, courage, determination, fortitude. It just seems more alive to me than any place I’ve ever been. Honestly? I feel that it’s a great privilege to be a Lowcountry Daughter.

What’s so low? Well, the Lowcountry is at sea level and it begins in north Florida with the banks of the Ogeechee River and travels north to Georgetown, South Carolina. It’s where rice was grown, using the fresh water tides with a series of gates and trunks to irrigate the rice fields.

AT: What gave you the idea for The Last Original Wife? That manhole episode that starts the novel is outrageous!

DBF: This is terrible but nearly that same thing actually happened to a great friend of mine in Rome – not all of it but she had a similar accident. And what about all the nuts who nearly get killed, texting while they’re crossing the street? Outrageous incidents are easily found. One personal weakness of mine is that I watch all the You Tube videos people send. My crazy brain invented the rest.

AT: In your novels there is always a close family relationship that you explore. For example, in The Last Original Wife the narrator Leslie is very close to her brother. What is it about family relationships that intrigue you?

DBF: So many things. I am the youngest of five almost by a decade. So I watched my siblings interact from the sidelines for many years. And I lost my father at a very young age, which has had an enormous impact on me all my life, informing many decisions, good and bad. I learned early on that life could change in a mere moment. And I learned about the price of staggering loss. Now I cherish my brothers and my sister and wish we all lived nearer to each other. It’s interesting that no matter how old I get, when we are all in the same room together, birth order takes over. Your friends can ditch you if you don’t act right. It’s more complicated to sever ties with blood relatives. At the end of the day, family is the most important thing we have.

AT:Your novels are set in today’s world and in The Last Original Wife it’s a virtual tour of Charleston, a must see destination. How did you know Charleston would become a mecca?

DBF:I didn’t. But it stands to figure that it would because who doesn’t want to visit the center of the universe?

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062132466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062132468
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author of sixteen novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina and thanking God for my chance to speak. When I'm not writing, I'm reading or gardening or cooking. Love to travel, shoot the breeze with people and most of all, be with my husband and children - not always necessarily in that order. My most recent, ALL THE SINGLE LADIES (William Morrow) went on sale June 9, 2015. Love to have company so come visit at or on Facebook. And by the way, serious huge gushing thanks for everything - your kind words, posts and emails. Writing saves me, but without your support it wouldn't mean as much. (So I'm a little sentimental - big deal.) xxoo Dot

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Redfern on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When a woman falls and spends 45 minutes in an empty catch basin on a trip to Scotland, you know that things are not going to well in her life. Leslie Carter has seen her friends get cast off by their husbands for wife 2.0 until she feels like she IS the last original wife. She has had to put up with dinners and events with these younger women and then finds herself on vacation with the replacement wife for her best friend. Her husband Wesley has dreamt all of his life about golfing at St. Andrews and off the foursome goes to Scotland. When Les has her accident, the rest of the group keeps walking back to the hotel and doesn't even realize she is missing. After she is located, Wes leaves her at the hospital so he doesn't miss his tee time.
Back home, Les realizes that her life has not turned out to be what she expected it to be. Yes, she is still married but it's a marriage by rote not of passion or caring. Her two adult children are irresponsible and users. Wes is a controlling guy and has no appreciation for what Les has done for him over the years. She discovers that financially they are in a much better situation than she was aware of and this is the impetus for her to take a trip to Charleston to visit her brother. Les has time to think and really assess what her life means and what she really wants to do with her future.
So many books lately feature the discarded wife being screwed by her cheating ex and having to rebuild her life on nothing but pluck. Then she gets financial revenge and a new man and everything is great. I love a good revenge plot as well as the next person, (Note: Pawley's Island by this author is one of the absolute best of that genre) but this book is different.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dorthea Benton Frank quite simply "gets it". There are so few books being written today that address women of a certain age and how they are perceived by society. In her usual witty and honest fashion Frank addresses a generation of woman modern society would like to ignore or more to the point, put on the shelf. What she has to say isn't always flattering (especially to Gen Y women and immature men) but it is right on the mark. Like all good novelists, she writes what she knows and lets her characters say what she thinks. There is probably no one over the age of fifty who doesn't know a discarded wife, failure to grow up children or men chasing their youth through trophy wives. I don't always like or identify with her characters but I know they are believable.
I highly recommend this book for those who want a good read from a good author.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Diane VINE VOICE on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One look at the cover of Dorothea Benton Frank's The Last Original Wife, with a woman lounging on the sand near the ocean, wearing a stylish red sun hat, and you know right away this is a book that will be accompanying you to the beach.

Les is the title character, a middle-aged wife and mother of two adult children, doting grandmother to sweet little Holly. Married to Wes, a driven businessman, they dine at the exclusive country club each Saturday with their group of friends.

But that group is changing. Les' best friend died tragically, and the widower (too) quickly remarried a young, sexy woman who is not popular with the children. When Les' other best friend gives her husband an ultimatum- stop texting his hot young personal trainer at the dinner table or she is leaving, it leaves Les as The Last Original Wife.

Forced to spend time with her husband's friends and their new vapid, young wives, Les starts to wonder if this is what she has to look forward to in the coming years. After a trip to Scotland with her husband and his friend and new wife, Les falls into an open manhole and her husband gets all the way back to the hotel (a 40 minute walk) before he realizes that Les is no longer there.

Call that the straw that broke the camel's back. Les decides she is not happy with her life. Her daughter uses her as a babysitter whenever she feels like it, her son lives overseas and only calls for money, and her husband refuses to allow Les' gay brother Harlan to come visit so Les hasn't seen her him in forever.

She goes to Charleston to stay with her brother. There she runs into an old high school boyfriend and begins to see that she can have a different life, one where she can be in charge of her own happiness.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always look forward to Ms Franks books each summer but this one was a huge disappointment! Story line was boring, the characters were like cardboard. There was no character development. If you haven't read Karen White's The Time In Between, read it instead, don't waste your money on Frank's book.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By melissa on June 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I usually love Dorothea Benton Frank and wait for each one to come out. While this was an o.k. story I thought it seemed as if she was just going through the motions and not really digging into the story. I would have loved more about her relationships with her family and a more complex storyline with her brother, his house and why it was haunted. It was as if she just threw it in there. I wish I would have checked this one out at the library.
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