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The Last Original Wife

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  7,172 ratings  ·  1,160 reviews
Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the last original wife among her husband's group of cronies. They've all traded in their first wives-the middle-aged women they long ago promised to love and cherish 'til death did them part-for riper peaches: younger . . . blonder . . . more enhanced models.

Leslie is proud of her status and the longevity of her marriage. Sure the spark isn't q...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by William Morrow
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So. Advertised as a perfect beach book, LOW has potential, but then the writing style begins to make itself known: constant, trite, unvarying obviousness. Take this excerpt:

"We would toast each other with champagne and feast on oysters and roasted guinea fowl in the private room at Magnolias and cut a small cake with a bride and groom on its top and make small talk throughout the afternoon while my mind traveled the years. When I thought about the individual births of my children, my chest woul...more
I love Frank's books about the South Carolina island country. Her stories move me to tears and to laughter and her words paint beautiful pictures of the island life in the south. I knew that The Last Original Wife was going to be a deviation from her usual Sullivan Island or Folly Beach books, but hey, it was Dorothea Benton Frank, so I was excited to read her newest book. I was so disappointed.

The story begins in a promising and unique way. Leslie and Wesley (I really didn't like the cutesy cou...more
Number 1 - the math in this book is off. If Leslie dropped out of college to get married because she was pregnant, and is almost 60, then her oldest child would be in his late 30's. I kept thinking DO THE MATH! Her two children are in their mid to late 20s, so either Leslie is pushing 50 or the kids are middle-aged losers.

Number 2 - I didn't LIKE Leslie. She says "I'm smart and funny and I deserve happiness". But she has been IMHO just a Lady Who Lunches. Oh poor baby, she drives a car WITH NO G...more
Witty and full of Southern sass. Several reviews have commented that this is not up to the usual standard of Ms.Benton Frank. Having not read her before I took it for what it entertaining look at marriage, aging and life itself in the dying era of the "old south".

Being a GRIT (girl raised in the south) myself, I laughed out loud at some of the spot on descriptions in this novel. Old, cultured and genteel south meets the new southern style. Two warring generations trying to live toge...more
Jul 03, 2014 Angie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to live in a fantasy world
If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all

Or so the saying goes... but I definitely feel the need to rant about this piece of fantasy. Since the book's protagonist is a woman my age, I hoped for a character of depth and wisdom, even though I knew this would be light chic-lit. Little did I know I would be spending the bulk of this read with someone who gets kicks from shopping therapy and complains that her children are not living up to her standards. Bleck!!!

The thing th...more
The Last Original Wife is a standalone novel written by author Dorothea Benton Frank. The main character Leslie "Les" is fed up with her husband and adult children taking her for granted. After watching her husband's friends move on to women half their age, she wonders if this is her fate too. Some events and realizations occur in this story that escalate Les's unhappiness, and she finally does something about it.

The deep southern aspect of this novel adds humor and charm, and that was my favor...more
Immediately after I finished this book (quick 2 day read) I loved it. It made me think. But now after the better part of a week it left me depressed. It was too cleanly tied with a bow to allow choices most people in the same situation would never have. The writing style is entertaining and witty. I find it interesting that no other reviews have focused on this point about the timing of discovery. If she had never discovered the money, would there have even been a book here? I guess not, because...more
I wanted to love this book but it was just okay. The lead character, Les, was absolutely a Mary Sue who can do no wrong. (spoiler) Even when she's married and sleeping with another man she's still painted as the perfect genteel southern lady. And the fact that her original 'solution' to her marriage problem is to move to Charleston while her husband lives in Atlanta and they will remain married for the rest of their days, with the husband, Wes, boinking the occasional hooker as he has done throu...more
Disappointing. The protagonist is an almost-sixty year old woman who has been married thirty years, having dropped out of college to marry in a pregnant rush. Which would make her fifty, not sixty. Mathematical errors aside, the characters behaved in completely unbelievable ways and spoke unconvincingly too. The husband was too much of a shit without any redeeming qualities which would have made her stay married. The kids were awful, the plot ridiculous. Plus the author threw in a few random gho...more
Loved this book, and gave it my highest rating because it entertained me, made me laugh out loud and gave me quotable passages that rang perfectly true!

This is her best novel since her first. I've liked them all, but this one has a terrific storyline and it rings true that many of a certain age can embrace.

Terrific read for the beach. I'm traveling to Charleston in two weeks, and I will be looking for these restaurants and Josephine Pickney!
I love a story with a sassy southern female character. This story takes place in both Charleston and Atlanta. This made me want to take a drive further down south. I loved Les and her ability to realize she deserved happiness as much as her family.
Favorite Quote:
"It was like an episode of the Young and the Restless combined with the Old and the Determined."
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Ok all you wonderful ladies who stayed home and took care of a husband and your will love this book. It is simply delightful, just like the author whom I had the pleasure of meeting.

Leslie Carter was a stay-at-home wife/mother who pinched pennies all her life and was starting to wonder why she did. She was tired of being unappreciated and taken for granted especially when she accidentally found a bank statement her husband, Wesley, never allowed her to see that had a balance of 22 mi...more
After thirty years of marriage to Wesley, Leslie Carter has reached an epiphany. Is she the only original wife in their social set? When she looks around, she sees the changing landscape of marriage for those she knows...and must take another look at her life. The Last Original Wife: A Novel is the story of her journey.

Does she want to keep waiting on a husband who doesn't appreciate or love her in the way she needs? What does her life mean when it's all about Wes and his needs? What about hers?...more
The Last Original Wife
Dorothea Benton Frank

My"in a nutshell" summary...

Wes and Les are married but not too happily. After putting up with his outrageous ways for 30 years...Les leaves! Yeah, Les!

My thoughts after reading...

I have not read one of Dottie's books in a while but I truly think she outdid herself with this's filled with quick wit and tons of fun snarky sarcasm. I loved Les...she was the good wife for long enough. Her revolt against her husband was divine!

I loved the way sh...more
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 cha...more
Well, look at the cover. Does this scream "beach read???" Yes, to the point that I wanted to make a plain brown cover out of a grocery bag and cover it when other people were around. I was hoping it would sustain its position on the New York Times Best-Seller List so that I would be vindicated, but at last check it was gone, gone, gone from the list. And now I have gone and outed myself as a book snob. While many books on the subject of the dissolution of a marriage are tossing and turning with...more
Aug 08, 2013 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: chick lit, southern book charm, southern fiction
The latest book from Dot Frank is pretty darn good. Love all her stories from the Lowcountry, South Carolina. I always want to take a road trip when I wrap one of her little gems up. Frank's books always take place in the Lowcountry, from Sullivan's Island to Pawleys Island. Last Original Wife starts out in Atlanta but quickly moves to Charleston. The book also contains some literary tidbits on Josephine Pinckney. (The main character flees to Charleston to stay with her brother, who happens to o...more
I'll preface this review by saying that I am a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank. I've read almost everything she's written and enjoyed much of it. As a result, I was very much looking forward to this book.

Unfortunately, The Last Original Wife just did not live up to my expectations. It was fine, it was ok, it was decently written. But, at the end of the day, I just did not enjoy it and it took effort from me to finish it. The Last Original Wife is the story of Les, middle aged mother of two adult ch...more
Soon to be 60 year old Leslie Anne looks around one evening at the Country Club and notes that she is the last original wife at the table, her husband's (Wes) affluent friends having moved on to new "trophy" wives. She misses her old friends, most of whom, like her, have spent their lives putting everyone else first while raising their families, and after a few events involving her husband and her ungrateful adult children , decides to make some big changes in her life. Sometimes a book should j...more
Maggie Tidwell
This is, without a doubt, the worst book I have ever read in a very long life of reading books. Allow me to save you the trouble: Characters: Long suffering Southern wife who has never had a job, deplorable yet wildly successful homophobic borderline alcoholic husband, lazy manipulative borderline alcoholic daughter, son who is described only by his dreadlocks and odor, slutty new young wives of deplorable husband's deplorable friends, Martha the non-English-speaking housekeeper, Jose' the psych...more
Les and Wes: sounds like a cute couple. But among their friends, Leslie is the last original wife. All the other husbands have traded up(?) to Barbies (new, young wives). But Wesley is the least likely to do the trade-in; he needs his wife. He needs her to cook, clean, do his laundry......Leslie is beginning to think Wesley may be taking her for granted, and it can't be more obvious when she falls into a manhole and it takes him 45 minutes to notice she's not with him.

Alternating between Leslie...more
Sharon Chance
Oh my goodness - this is one rollicking, rolling story from Dorothea Benton Frank! I laughed, I sympathized, I rolled my eyes, and I even had a tear or two while I read this fast moving tale!

Dorothea, who I consider to be one of the best Southern fiction authors today, always manages to grip her readers with her storytelling skills that match no other! She brings the southern elegance to her tales, and then adds a little good ol' fashioned zip and zing to the story as well!

In "The Last Origin...more

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank was a good read. The book is about Leslie Carter finding herself as her world changes dramatically. Leslie is a woman who lived her entire marriage under the thumb of her husband Wesley. He is oblivious and self-righteous, totally clueless about his wife and what is important. A series of incidences occur and Les realizes that she is not happy - not cherished - basically a doormat for her husband and children! This realization and her subsequent j...more
Chick-lit for the mature reader is the best way I can think of to describe this book. If you are late 40s (and beyond), married for 15+ years, and enjoy stories of romance set in the south (Atlanta and Charleston) this book would probably be worth your time in reading.

Dorothea Benton Frank tells the story of Leslie and Weston (Les and Wes) and their struggles after 30 years of marriage. In their circle of friends, Les remains the "last original wife" as their closest two "couple friends" have s...more
Andrea Guy
The Last Original Wife is one of those books that you enjoy, but you aren't quite sure why you enjoy it. It is a light, fluffy beach read.

Leslie is the last of the "first wives" of all her husband's friends who have moved on to younger women, that she calls Barbies.

They are well to do but their marriage in shambles.

Leslie is more likable, but Wes is just a jerk, plain and simple. You couldn't like him at all. It would have been nice if he had at least one trait that would have justified her stay...more
Bonnie Tharp
Loved it, Dorothea. Leslie is a woman after my own heart. And Wes is a stinker. And the kids. Oh my, don't get me started. This novel is so timely, what with all us baby boomers getting more mature every day. After meeting Dorothea and reading Leslie's dialog I admit that I hear Dot's voice in every word. These are feisty women! So, don't miss a minute. I read it in 2 days instead of my usual 5. I highly recommend this book.
This was a fun, easy beach read about a woman in her fifties who experiences a really bad day that changes her perspective on everything. But, then she does something about her dissatisfaction. For every woman who is a perpetual caretaker and housekeeper, this is the perfect escapism for a "what if" scenario.

What I liked: the spunky wife that suddenly "woke up", the verbal exchanges with her husband & grown children (don't you always think of the best things to say after-the-fact when the o...more
I enjoyed this one from cover to cover! It's a great beach read. Also made me want to visit Charleston again. I miss the South.

Right from the start of the audio book I was annoyed by two things: the narrator's voice and affected Southern drawl, and the married couple named Wes and Les. I really hate the matchy matchiness of names in books when there's just no reason for it. It was almost as nauseating as the time I read an otherwise pleasant debut novel with a couple named Jack and Jill. That marriage was doomed too.
The characters are what is really wrong with this book. They are boring, shallow and unlikeable. Don't e...more
I was honestly expecting nothing more than a light-hearted pool-side read. Instead, I ended up reading a very thoughtful book about marriage and relationships in middle age and beyond. There is some good humor in the book, but his is not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination. I really enjoyed all the relationships portrayed in the book - the life long female friendships, the male friendships, the bond between mother and child(ren), the love between siblings, and even the love between spouse...more
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Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times best selling author of ten novels.

Dottie has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Parker Ladd's Book Talk and many local network affiliated television stations. She is a frequent speaker on creative writing and the creative process for students of all ages and in private venues as the National Arts Club, the Junior League of New York, Friends of the Library org...more
More about Dorothea Benton Frank...
Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales #1) Plantation (Lowcountry Tales #2) Isle of Palms (Lowcountry Tales #3) Shem Creek (Lowcountry Tales #4) Porch Lights

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“As we did every New Year's Eve we made ridiculous resolutions that no one would keep, and quietly we all wondered what the coming year would hold, each of us praying for our own private miracles. Good health. Better health. A marriage for this child, a good job for another. This hopefulness was something hardwired into our psyches, that a new year might mean some monumental something wonderful could happen to bring us happiness at a level we had never known. A new year was a chance to start over. Maybe even, just maybe, there would be peace on earth for one entire day.” 7 likes
“That's what I wanted for myself for even just a little while-to be unaware of the rest of the world. I needed some time.” 4 likes
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