Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My Thoughts: By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36039807-by-invitation-only
By Invitation Only
by Dorothea Benton Frank
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Publication Date: May 15th 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780062390820
Genre: Women's Fiction | Chick Lit
Source: Edelweiss

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The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. 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. While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and 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 hard -working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—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. (Goodreads)


I have had almost ALL of Dorothea Benton Frank's books on my TBR for a while now, and somehow hadn't managed to pick up one until recently. I picked up Same Beach Next Year last summer, but for some reason I didn't finish the book, and I can't remember why. I was determined to finally read something by Frank this summer, and By Invitation Only sounded like the perfect place to start, especially with it officially being wedding season and I'm all about wedding books at the moment. This book was a pretty cute read!

The storyline for By Invitation Only was really cute. It was all about family and marriage, and how marriage can bring families together. (And even also how some can fall completely apart sometimes as well.) I really liked the setting of the book, as it definitely makes me want to visit South Carolina, and find a peach farm to visit as well. The book felt a little ramble-y in some parts, with lots of descriptions that I didn't really feel were necessary. I'm not sure if that's how the author usually writes, but something that I noticed. It didn't really bother me enough to stop reading the book though. It was very entertaining!

The story is told through dual narratives, one by Diane, mother of the groom, and Susan, mother of the bride. I was definitely able to relate to Diane in a lot of ways, but with Susan, not so much. Wow, her family was a mess! But watching them all merge into one big happy family was sweet, even if there was a few bumps in the road along the way. There were a lot of different characters to keep up with in the story, but I liked how they were all pretty unique, and most kept me laughing along the way as well.

Overall; I'm thrilled to have finally added a Dorothea Benton Frank book to my *READ* list, and By Invitation Only was the perfect book to start with. It definitely has put me in the mood for more wedding books, and I plan to start more as soon as possible. I'm definitely curious to check out more books by Frank in the future as well. If you're looking for a cute wedding themed book to read this wedding season, do check out By Invitation Only!

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