Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “By Invitation Only” as Want to Read:
By Invitation Only
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

By Invitation Only

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  12,425 ratings  ·  1,227 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by William Morrow
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,425 ratings  ·  1,227 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of By Invitation Only
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Some authors make you nostalgic! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I was living in South Carolina when Sullivan’s Island was published, and I vividly remember purchasing it at a bookstore in Charleston, not far from Sullivan’s Island. I loved Dorothea Benton Frank’s storytelling and her use of the South Carolina Lowcountry as a backdrop for her stories. How happy was I when she did several more installments of the Lowcountry tales?

In By Invitation Only, Frank takes us back to the beloved Lowcountry, this time to rem
...more
DJ Sakata
Family mythology says that even in its youth, the house was so unappealing that Sherman’s troops let it stand. The officers said it wasn’t worth the flick of the flint it would've taken to torch it, and the Yankees had slept in the barn by choice. I heard somewhere that the real reason they took to the barn was that my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was especially frisky, but I’d never repeat that.

“That ought to make ‘em happy… And if it doesn’t, they can all go home and scratch
...more
Sherri Thacker
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I was ready for a break from the psychological psychopath stories I’ve been reading lately and this one fit the bill! This is my 5th book by Dorothea Benton Frank and I was hoping to like this one more than I did. I know I’m in the minority on this one but I’m giving it 3 stars. It was good, not great in my eyes.
Nurse Lisa In Ohio (PRN Book Reviews)
Sugah? I don't think ANYBODY can write Low Country literature as well as Dorthea Benton Frank. I adore her novels as this was no exception.
Miss Dottie? please hurry with your next one, okay? oh & as a new grand mother as well, I UNDERSTAND! 😊💙
...more
Berit☀️✨
A delightful story packed with charm, humor, and heart!

Dorothea Benton Frank has constructed an engaging tale oozing with Southern charm. I really enjoy reading southern fiction, I am fascinated by the south and its history and traditions. I also really enjoy books with colorful well developed characters and this book had those in abundance! This book left me with a big smile on my face and a craving for peach pie!

Two very different women from two very different backgrounds. Diane is a single
...more
Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
Dorothea Benton Frank’s “By Invitation Only” is such a funny, charming, and wonderful novel, I had way too much fun reading it. I was so sad when it ended, loved it so much from beginning to end. One of the best books I’ve read this year! I typically don’t like or read this genre of books by this type of authors, you know authors like Nicolas Sparks, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, etc. But when I was compiling list of books I wanted to read for the summer, I wanted to add something fun & light, ...more
Lexine
I have no idea how this book got on the NY Times Bestsellers' List. Nor how it got a semi-decent rating on Goodreads. For me, this book is a cliche plot of two worlds colliding, a rich Midwestern family who considers private planes the norm and a Southern family who pride themselves on their peaches. Cliches are cliches because they happen, but good writers can make cliches so much more than what they are. Dorothea Frank was sadly unable to do so. In addition to the tired plot, I found the chara ...more
Diana
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when 2 polar opposites learn their children are about to marry each other? By Invitation Only is what happens. Largely narrated by above said “opposites” Susan and Diane, this is an amusing, fun read.
Viola Shipman
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the honor of meeting Dot Frank at the Texas Library Association annual meeting in Dallas in April, where we were both keynote speakers. I snatched up a copy of her latest quicker than I gobbled down my lunch (I was nervous!). I have looooong been a fan of Dot's, and she is an author whose work not only spoke to me but inspired me to become an author. Her ability to bring the LowCountry alive and make her setting a main character in her books is unparalleled. She has turned out to be as won ...more
Jamie Rosenblit
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Really enjoyed this one! When two families from different worlds are thrust together planning a wedding for their children, things certainly do not go quite so seamless. From farm country south to socialite Chicago, Dorothea Benton Frank does not disappoint in By Invitation Only. Told from many different perspectives, the personalities in each chapter are all nailed with precision and have their own unique voices. The story unfolds in a way that will captivate you until the last page.

I received
...more
Cindy
Sep 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I read 100 pages then said that’s it. I have read a few DBF books and have given them 3 stars. I really wanted to like and finish this one but the characters were so annoying, the plot uninteresting and the humor monotonous. I felt like DBF was trying too hard to use comedy to endear the characters to the reader. My opinion of course. Please read if you are a big DBF fan. Book just not for me.
Amy
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DBF is one of those authors I’ve been meaning to read for years, I’m not sure what took me so long because this one was really fun! Southern Fiction is fast becoming one of my favorite sub genres and I can see why the author is a fan favorite, this was full of southern charm.

This flips back and forth between Diane and Susan, with a few chapters from Susan’s daughter, Shelby as well. When Shelby and Diane’s son Fred get engaged two very different worlds collide. Diane is a country girl through an
...more
Marcia Killingsworth
I want more Miss Virnell, please, Miss Dorothea

Dorothea Benton Frank, and other authors who set their stories in the Low Country, are my go-to stress relievers. Having just finished several books on the 2016 election, Miss Virnell and her family were the tonic I needed.
More Miss Virnell, PLEASE, Miss Dorothea!
Tamara
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I really enjoyed this book!😍
Carvanz
By Invitation Only
Dorothea Benton Frank

Audio-book: Narrators - Susan Bennett, Courtney Patterson, Sarah Naughton

These narrators did an exceptional job of bringing to life Diane, Susan and Shelby. I loved the southern accents as well as the snobby contention layered throughout the women. Even the male characters were near perfection. Once I adjusted to the inflections of their voices I was all over this, speeding it up so I could hurry and find out how everything was going to play out for this cr
...more
Karen
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
DBF IS ALWAYS A GOOD TIME!
A few years ago, I spent one horrible, lonely year living in Austin, Texas. The only thing I had was books. And that summer I discovered DBF. I spent the entire summer reading her back catalog and that was the brightest spot in that year. For that, I will always be a fan of hers. Her earlier works are much more sturdy, well written and engaging. But, I always pre-order DBF because she's constant and always a good read.
This new book was a nice surprise and I read it quit
...more
Betharie
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lightweight, even by summer light reading standards. Stereotyped 2-D characters, and very simple writing. Still-I did read through to the happy ending. Would not read another one of her books though.
Lori H. Eubanks
Aug 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wayyyyyyy toooooo looooong

I can’t believe I finished this book. I think the only reason I did is because I was housebound with an injury. This book goes on and on and on and says practically nothing. I have read some of her books in the past and thought they were good, but this one could have had 1/2 the pages. A very long boring read!
Kristen Cook - A Book Ninja
Well, I will say this is the first book I have read/listened to by Dorothea Benton Frank. My TBR list is so long that I am not sure I would have picked this up if it wasn't for Andrea's summer challenge.

I am going to break my review down in to two parts. The first 75% and the last 25%.

The first 75% was a 5 star book for me. I love the interaction between Lady Di and her mother. I love the quick whit, I loved the banter. I laughed out loud many times. My only complaint was the voices of the men
...more
Asheley
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
4.5/5

I just love Southern authors and Southern settings, and there is specifically something about the work of Dorothea Benton Frank that makes me very excited. She writes the Lowcountry and just really nails it. I love how she represents the people of the South and the traditions, the food and the way we speak so well. Her stories never fail to make me smile and laugh while I’m reading.

In this story, two families with two very different backgrounds, from two very different parts of the country,
...more
Karen
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wowza!! I am so hungry for peach cobbler right now.
This is a rich trapestry of a family in South Carolina who run a peach farm. The characters are so richly developed (except Alden?) that it feels they will be walking up my walk to share the day's farm market tallies. I thought about Susan as she had the trickiest character to feel empathy for in any book I've ever read. I know we had to clean away her past (no spoiler from me) but I saw bits that I had liked about Alejandro and I felt her culpi
...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF @34%
2018; William Morrow/HarperCollins Canada

I could not get into this book. I even tried audio on my way to work when I have a higher threshold for patience. I could not stand Shleby's mom and the story was not strong enough to keep me reading.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
Summer
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Geez. How many times can you use the word said? I couldn’t stand the book because it felt like every other word was “said”.
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A story that follows two different women, from two different worlds. Diane English Stiftel grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and now her only son Fred is getting married to a girl out of Chicago. Susan Kennedy Cambria is a socialite who dabbles in a world of public relation, married to a wealthy and powerful broker, and believes she dese ...more
Michele
4 "Peachy" Stars!

Such a pleasant surprise! I stumbled across this audiobook on a library recommendation. I was drawn in because of my southern roots and my husband's Chicago roots...seemed like an appropriate read for me.

It evolved into an enjoyable account of a family and how it changes and evolves throughout life. There were some challenges thrown in that lent to character development. I enjoyed seeing how they all changed from beginning to end.



Debbie
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No surprise that this book was great, I don't think DBF could write a bad book. I love the whole wedding story told from so many view points and the heart-break of everyday life.
Now I have to wait for another whole year for a new book. I have a few that I haven't read and as much as I want to grab them up and read them...I mete them out and savor each one.
mindful.librarian ☀️
Thank you to the publisher for this review copy!

I can always count on DBF for sweet and mostly innocent southern charm, and this newest title did not disappoint. Set in both South Carolina on a peach farm and in high society Chicago, we get to witness the joining of two VERY different families as they plan a wedding and navigate the challenges that this brings. BY INVITATION ONLY is a beach read in the sense of it being a light and fun story, but it's not actually set on a beach at all, which wa
...more
Kathryn
I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of good southern fiction. I loved the characters - some slightly wacky. Most with great family values and in spite of challenges and difficulties could overcome and pull together. Loved the witty little bits. Great read.
Donna Hines
The story of two uniquely different families brought together through a union of nuptials but not quite a 'perfect blend'.
Diane English Stiftel and son Fred English Stiftel are from the poor side of Southern Carolina 'low country'.
Meanwhile, Susan Kennedy and daughter Shelby Cambria (Chicago's privileged daughter)are known as 'the elites'. A well to do Yankee family with a powerful broker father Alejandro Cambria.
All seems ready to go with the engagement party #1 in Chicago and for party #2 on t
...more
Jessica | Booked J
Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Review originally posted here on Booked J. As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for participating in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Dorothea Benton Frank is one of those authors I'd only known of by name. Now, with By Invitation Only, I see why she is so beloved and I can't wait to dive into her archives more in the future. What readers will noticed straightaway with By Invitation
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: By Invitation Only, by Dorothea Benton Frank; 3 Stars 2 18 Jul 22, 2018 04:02PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The High Tide Club
  • Beach House Reunion (Beach House, #5)
  • On Ocean Boulevard
  • Hello, Summer
  • Sunset Beach
  • The Perfect Couple
  • Winter in Paradise (Paradise, #1)
  • Dreams of Falling
  • The Summer Guests
  • 28 Summers
  • Troubles in Paradise (Paradise, #3)
  • A Nantucket Wedding
  • What Happens in Paradise (Paradise, #2)
  • Girls of Summer
  • Summer of '69
  • Surfside Sisters
  • The Secret to Southern Charm (Peachtree Bluff #2)
  • Before and Again
See similar books…
4,121 followers
Dorothea Benton Frank was a New York Times best-selling American novelist of Southern fiction. She worked in the apparel industry from 1972 until 1985 and then organized fundraisers as a volunteer, before becoming a novelist.

She is best known as the author of twenty novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Related Articles

Jennifer Weiner is the author of many bestsellers, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Mrs. Everything. She's also a contributing opinion...
95 likes · 25 comments
“Mother of the groom. Wear beige and shut up.” 0 likes
“in Raleigh, North” 0 likes
More quotes…