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All the Single Ladies: A Novel Paperback – May 10, 2016
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“All the Single Ladies is vintage Dorothea Benton Frank --a funny, poignant read.” (Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of BIG LITTLE LIES and THE HUSBAND'S SECRET)
From the Back Cover
In this fast-paced and evocative novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank again takes us deep into the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where three unsuspecting women are brought together by tragedy and mystery
Lisa St. Clair knows a thing or two about weathering storms. A dedicated nurse with a healthy sense of humor, she single-handedly raised her truculent daughter, Marianne, after her ex walked out on them twenty-four years ago, sending them a lottery ticket once a year as support. One day he reappeared and lured their daughter into a dubious but lucrative venture in Colorado. Now mother and daughter aren't speaking.
So when Kathy Harper, Lisa's favorite patient, loses her battle with cancer, Lisa finds herself drawing closer to Carrie and Suzanne, the devoted friends who were always by Kathy's side. As these three women's lives inevitably connect, they share their concerns about men, getting older and the horrors of maintaining financial stability. Suzanne's ninety-nine-year-old grandmother, a former chanteuse, offers unexpected perspectives on the mores of the day. Carrie's greedy ex-stepchildren are a chorus of cackling crows. And Lisa's mother just can't help herself as she henpecks her to distraction.
Somehow their conversations always return to the enigma of Kathy. Who was she? What did her short life mean?
Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne power walk the beaches of the Isle of Palms with Pickle, Lisa's adorable Westie. Gradually they uncover the truth of Kathy's life and unfurl plans to secure their own futures, as fate steps in to help them discover that being single doesn't have to mean being alone. Dorothea Benton Frank shows us that friendship is as powerful as the turning tide and that love is about more than just finding the right person. You'll fall under the magical spell of the Lowcountry and of all the single ladies who have a whole lot of living to do.--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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As is her habit, Ms. Frank includes the mention of a large number of commercial enterprises, ranging from Costco to Krispy Kreme. I'm not sure if she does this to make her characters more easily relatable to her readers, because of genuine loyalty to the companies' products, or if she actually receives compensation for what amounts to free advertising, but her practice of doing it is once again front and center from cover to cover. It doesn't bother me - in fact as a frequent visitor to the Charleston area, I appreciate the mentions of the local restaurants. After reading this book I'll be sure to visit places like the Obstinate Daughter and Tavern and Table on my next trip to the glorious Holy City.
As is also her habit, she includes another ex-husband in the story. This time, though, he's not a complete jerk who gets bashed throughout the book, and actually becomes a semi-sympathetic character in the end. One of the most interesting characters in the book is the 99 year old Miss Trudie. DBF does such a fine job of developing this character that I think most readers will be very moved by Miss Trudie's fate in the book.
I rank this one right alongside Dorothea Benton Frank's finest novels. Well done.