Monday, May 23, 2016

All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank - #review

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 10, 2016)

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?

As Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne power walk the beaches of the Isle of Palms, they gradually 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.



I was expecting a typical perils of being single ladies, especially 'of a certain age' single ladies kind of story.  All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank is so much more than that!  Granted, at the beginning Lisa is a part-time nurse in a old folks' type of home.  Her husband left her and her daughter Marianne years before.  He's living the high-life in Colorado and the daughter had gone to be reunited with her father and wound up staying there running a travel agency that offered tours catering to those wanting to *ahem* take advantage of the Centennial State's liberal pot laws.

What brings the other single ladies (Suzanne and Carrie) into the picture is their friendship with Kathy, a terminal cancer patient at the home where Lisa works.  Kathy soon passes and Lisa, Suzanne and Carrie start to gel as friends.

Suzanne lives with her 99-year old grandmother, Trudie, after retreating from a very bad relationship.  Carrie has just become a widow for the second or third time (the last husband died ... at the alter ... yikes!)

Lisa had been staying in the house of some family friends who were out of town for an extended period, when she learns that their daughter will be coming to take over residency.  Said daughter gets there sooner than expected and tells Lisa she is no longer welcome there and has like 24 hours to get out.  I understand the woman had had a rough go of things herself but ... RUDE!

By this time, Lisa has met Trudie and been invited to stay at the house (which is right by the ocean).

Then all three friends start to get some men in their lives.  Carrie is on a husband hunt because she doesn't know how to be 'not married'.  Lisa meets the architect working on a green addition to the place she works, who coincidentally had been Kathy's gentleman friend at one point.  And Suzanne piques the interest of Harry, Lisa's boss.

A fair amount of the drama occurs from Kathy's estate.  Suzanne is the sole beneficiary and when she and the friends go to start clearing out Kathy's apartment, it appears that the landlady has confiscated some of Kathy's things claiming either that they were hers in the first place or that Kathy had given them to her.  Amidst the burgeoning relationships, the friends set out on a mission to prove the landlady's wrong-doing and retrieve Kathy's possessions.

They get help from an unexpected source.  Elaborating more than that would really take away some of the fun and mystery for readers taking this one off their to-be-read shelves and I just couldn't give it away.

So while I expected 'typical' I got an unusual story.  That's as in unusually good!  All the Single Ladies is a gem of a more ways than one!



New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Find her on the web at, or like her on Facebook or Twitter.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)

1 comment:

  1. I love it when a story takes me by surprise! I'm reading one of those right now myself. :)

    Thank you for being on this tour!