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By Invitation Only


By Invitation Only

Summer book readers, your favorite beach read is here! BY INVITATION ONLY is going to delight Dorothea Benton Frank’s legion of fans and enthrall readers all around the world. Frank, who was born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, loves the down-country world from which she sprang. Her books are imbued with all the charm, grace, warmth and close-knit community sensibilities that real southern island life offers its residents. So put on the sunscreen, adjust your sun hat, and open the pages to a world that will envelop you for every one of its beautifully written pages.

BY INVITATION ONLY opens its windows to let in the fresh air of the Southern islands as well as the wild gusts of the Windy City as two families --- one a peach farming clan from the South and the other a fancy well-to-do group from Chicago --- come together to celebrate the union of their children. The groom’s family throws a down-country shindig that finds the bride’s parents struggling in what they believe is a world well outside of their own glitz and glamour experience. That clash of have and not-quite-have creates a juxtaposition from which spring some madcap adventures and a learning curve for everyone involved.

"Frank’s trademark whimsy and deep love for her home country and the people who share it with her are on fine display in this latest volume."

Fred Stiftel and Shelby Cambria are both only children, and their respective pairs of parents try so hard to hold onto them and the legacy they create, worrying that the different environments from which they came will separate their offspring from the families that love them so dearly.

As skyscrapers give way to trees dripping with Spanish moss, the characters learn some valuable lessons about what love really is, how best to contain it and when you must let it go. The rivalry between the Cambrias and the Stiftels can be best described as the Montagues and the Capulets without the blood, with everyone trying to show that they are the most treasured family. But don’t forget, the more the merrier!

“I would call [Diane] and simply apologize. She couldn’t help it that she wasn’t as wealthy as we were.” This statement by rich Chicago maven Susan Kennedy Cambria is the turning point of the novel. As the claws come out, so does the love that really means something to every person in the new couple’s orbit. 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.

Frank’s trademark whimsy and deep love for her home country and the people who share it with her are on fine display in this latest volume. Their eccentricities and kindness, their anxieties and fears, are all exploited in the best possible literary means in BY INVITATION ONLY. I dare you NOT to love this book!

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 18, 2018

By Invitation Only
by Dorothea Benton Frank

  • Publication Date: April 23, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062390813
  • ISBN-13: 9780062390813