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The Last Original Wife

The Last Original Wife

Written by Dorothea Benton Frank

Narrated by Robin Miles


The Last Original Wife

Written by Dorothea Benton Frank

Narrated by Robin Miles

ratings:
4.5/5 (33 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 11, 2013
ISBN:
9780062262950
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley's wildly successful,Atlanta social set. His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children they promised to loveand cherish—'til death did them part—for tanned and toned young Barbie brides.

If losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn't painful enough, a series of setbacksshake Les's world and push her to the edge. She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husbandwho thinks he's doing her a favor keeping her around. Now, she's going to take some time forherself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. Inher brother's stately historic home, she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summerssharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island. Daring to listen to her inner voice, shewill realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she's always dreamed.

Told in the alternating voices of Les and Wes, The Last Original Wife is classic Dorothea BentonFrank: an intoxicating tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love, that is as salty as aLowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 11, 2013
ISBN:
9780062262950
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

New York Times bestseller Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. Until her passing in 2019, Dorothea and her husband split their time between New Jersey and South Carolina. A contemporary voice of the South, Dorothea Benton Frank was beloved by fans and friends alike since her debut novel Sullivans Island. Readers from coast to coast fell for the quick wit and the signature humor that permeated her many bestselling novels.


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Reviews

What people think about The Last Original Wife

4.4
33 ratings / 28 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Ok all you wonderful ladies who stayed home and took care of a husband and your kids....you 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 million dollars. Yes....22 million....she couldn't believe it.Leslie decided she needed a vacation from Wesley to cool off. First from the accident she had in Edinburgh which Wesley was so indifferent about and now all this secret money. She knew the best place to go was her brother's in Charleston, their childhood city. Leslie found more than she expected once she arrived.You will love Leslie for how genuine she is, how believable she is, and how brave she is to finally do something to make herself happy. And....you definitely will dislike Wesley as well as their two children because of their selfishness and disregard for anyone but themselves.The book has great descriptions both of the characters and the landscapes of the Lowcountry. It is a sweet, homey read and will make you think about your family and your relationships in a new light or simply make you happy or unhappy about where you are in your own life. It will have you doing some introspection as well as having a good laugh. The ending is awesome.I truly enjoyed this book. This is the second book of Ms. Benton Frank's that I have read, and I am very happy with both of them. The content makes me want to read all of her books.I received this book without compensation and free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    I have to honestly say this was my FAVORITE read of the year. I loved Les, Wes, Harlan and all of the characters in this book that helped make this story so fun and entertaining. I smiled and laughed the entire time I was reading it and was truly sorry it ended. I have already recommended this book to several of my friends. I think that Dorothea Benton Frank is a very talented and extremely brilliant writer and can't wait to read every book she has written.

    This ebook is on sale on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com for $7.99. Sale started on 06/28/13 not sure when it's going to end.
  • (4/5)
    Dorothea Benton Frank has mastered Low Country Literature. She is adept at writing stories about women who learn to take charge of their lives. I totally enjoyed the subtle humor, the development of the characters and the descriptions of Charleston.
  • (2/5)
    Normally I enjoy Frank's books, but I did not connect with this tale of a woman who after years of tolerating her husband decides to exert herself. It glorifies divorce, marital infidelity, and more. Too much of the book was set in Atlanta instead of the Charleston/Sullivan's Island area. I'm struggling with whether to continue to read her work or not. I love Charleston/Low Country settings, but the last couple of Frank books disappointed. Perhaps it's time to move on.
  • (4/5)
    this is an entertaining yet sometimes sobering look at the marital difficulties of Les and Was, two southern sixty somethings. Benton Frank has Charleston and Atlanta down pat and the dialogue flows. The characters of Leslie and her brother Harlan and Miss Jo are easy to love and the literary ghost is a nice add on. Strikes a romantic comedy note.
  • (5/5)
    I've read this book a few times. I love Dorothea's sense of humor in hard times. I loved seeing Les get reacquainted with her darling brother.
  • (5/5)
    Great story! Well paced with a perfect ending! Robin Miles is, of course, a truly wonderful narrator, high on my list of favorites. The female protagonist, Les, is a dear and very sympathetic character who grows in selfhood and confidence as the story rolls along.

    The story is written with lots of humor as well as a deep understanding of human foibles, especially in connection to the very close relationships that exist within the modern American family. Very much enjoyed this! ☺️
  • (5/5)
    TERRIFIC! That's all. TERRIFIC!
  • (5/5)
    This was a awesome book. And I would read it again. So glad she found true love after all that time.
  • (5/5)
    So this is my second "mid-life crisis" book in a month, but this one was sooo much better! Leslie and Wesley Carter have been married about 40 years, and have two grown children. The daughter is a "real estate agent" and uses her "job" to dump her 4-year-old on Leslie at any time and then "show a house" which usually turns into hanging out at the bar and coming back drunk. The son dropped out of college to become a travel photographer, currently lives in Kathmandu and asks his parents for living expenses monthly. Les is tired of cleaning up after Wes and doing everything he wants to do while she ignores her own likes, wants and even her family. Wes can't stand the fact that Les' brother is gay and has refused to allow him to visit them or for Les to visit him. Wes and Les are best friends with two other couples, and one wife dies and the husband remarries a younger woman fairly quickly. The second husband leaves his wife to marry his young secretary. While in Europe so that Wes and a friend can play some famous golf course, Les falls down a hole and the group doesn't notice that she's missing for almost an hour, and then Wes is not really attentive. So Les goes to stay with her brother and figure things out.The story is told from both Les' and Wes' perspectives, and both are hilarious for different reasons Robin Miles' narration is superb! The southern drawl she uses for Les and her brother against the uptight and stilted vocal patterns of Wes and his friends add to the humor.
  • (2/5)
    Read from June 25 to July 01, 2015This is the first Dorothea Benton Frank novel I've read and it's probably going to be the last for a long while. From the other reviews I've read, this is NOT her best work. The beginning started off well enough. A couple, Les and Wes (cute, huh?,) are in individual therapist sessions. We learn from these that things have not been going well in their marriage -- Wes is a controlling jerk & Les has recently left Atlanta to visit her brother in Charleston. (Her brother who is gay that Wes has practically forbidden her to see. Her brother isn't even allowed to visit them.) After the first few chapters from the therapist chairs, the book switches gears and we go back to before the therapy sessions and before Les ran away to Charleston. Why we switched storytelling methods, I have no idea. I really liked that and it's the reason I started reading the book. Once it switched, I think it lost some sparkle and definitely lost my attention. Around the midway point I was tempted to just give up. So in the end, it's all pretty predictable. Not the great summer beach read I was hoping for...this cover is SO misleading!
  • (3/5)
    Nothing deep here, just a good, fun book.
  • (4/5)
    Dorothea Benton Frank is one of my favorite authors of the genre often called "Southern Fiction." This one did not disappoint as a work of fiction. I won't say I liked the main characters, and I certainly didn't like the early choices made by Leslie Anne Greene Carter, the protagonist, but once she escaped the bounds of a manipulative, selfish and thoroughly unlikeable husband, I found myself rooting for her to develop her backbone and stop being a doormat.I'm of the same generation, background and education as Leslie Anne Carter, but I would never ever have put up with the demeaning life she endured married to Wes, skimping on spending, ignored in favor of the golf game, subjected to being introduced to her husband's friends' parade of Barbie Brides at the country club and treated like hired help in her own home. I was alternately cheering for her to tell him to pound sand and plant his golf clubs where the sun doesn't shine and hoping that perhaps the two of them would get counseling, that he would somehow be able to give up his obsession with golf, and they might be able to salvage their relationship. The resolution the author allows at the end is one I found satisfying emotionally and should be one that most readers can accept. I won't spoil your enjoyment by telling anymore.It was an enjoyable read, very well done in the audio format by narrator Robin Miles.
  • (5/5)
    Okay, who snuck in and planted listening devices in my house? I swear that somehow Ms. Frank has been listening in on comments made by my husband of 40 years and that's where she got the inspiration for this book. Not only is Wesley a bad imitation of my husband (all his faults but none of his virtues) but I actually believe that I have heard the same words attributed to Wesley come out of my husband's mouth.This story was so much fun - I laughed so hard at times that I actually cried. I was proud of Leslie for standing up for herself and showing that it's never too late to stand up to a bully.
  • (3/5)
    I'd picked up The Last Original Wife on one of those weeks busy with travel and dealing with tenants. It was so much fun escaping reality with this middle aged, caring, and still lovely woman. Les (married to Wes) raised two children and often babysits her lovely granddaughter. Her daughter Charlotte is a real estate broker but doesn't take her career seriously and relies on her parents for childcare and money. Her son Bertie left graduate school and is spending time in Nepal. Wes, her husband is very successful and quite selfish. Over the years her social life has revolved around her husband, his friends and their family. She's reached the age where her husbands' best friends replaced their wives with women nearly twenty years younger and Les found herself surrounded by people that she didn't like or respect. Instead of putting up with the same treatment without complaining, Les decides to step back. Fortunately, she comes across hidden bank statements and discovers that while she's been scrimping for years, Wes has plenty of hidden assets. Les is fundamentally honest and she doesn't go off and transfer the money to her own hidden account. Instead, she leaves her home and returns to her hometown. Les starts living for herself and finds herself well appreciated and entertained. As Les spends her time reading, exploring historic houses, and rediscovering things that she used to love. Full of humor and likable characters, The Last Original Wife is a fun, summer read. I thoroughly enjoyed it!ISBN-10: 0062132474 - Paperback $14.99Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 1, 2014), 368 pages.Review copy courtesy of the publisher.
  • (2/5)
    Disappointing for this author.
  • (5/5)
    Ok...I'm a reading fool!! I read this baby in 1 day....it was that good. Started off kinda slow and boring, but I stuck with it. Read Porch Lights a couple of weeks ago and liked it so much when in search for Ms. Frank's new one. Believe me, it's a good read.
  • (4/5)
    Light read from Dotty Frank. Fun to see my city, and even the names of some people I know, pop up in another tale. This time, I even knew some of the Atlanta places!
  • (4/5)
    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 own the former, haunted home of Pinckney.) Adds interest to this tale.

    Easy read. Simple, basic plot. Leslie and Wes are married with two of the most ungrateful, lazy 20-something kids. Leslie, or Les, as she is most often referred to, is fed up to the yazoo with her family. Her husband, Wes, is inattentive and B-o-r-i-n-g. He treats Les like dirt, basically. Wes spends all of his free time on the golf course with his 2 best buds. All three of these weasels are suffering some form of midlife crisis and Wes' friends have replaced their wives, who also happened to be Leslie's BFF's, with very young wives. For obvious reasons, Les cannot stand these two little minxes. Wes drags Leslie on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with said friends in tow, to play golf at the old famed St. Andrews Golf Club.

    THIS is the beginning of the end of Wes and Les's marriage. In Edinburgh, after having lunch, the three couples were walking back to the hotel. Les accidentally falls into a manhole and it goes unnoticed by the entire group. For 45 minutes Les's husband did not miss her walking along side him. Not until the group returns to the hotel! Meanwhile, Les is rescued and whisked to the hospital in a foreign country. Making matters worse, Wes doesn't join Les at the hospital and enjoys 2 days of golf while his wife lingers at the hospital. Once home in Atlanta, Les makes the painful decision to leave and doesn't tell anyone where she's going or when she will return.

    Leslie flees to the home of her brother, Harlan, in Charleston, SC. It is here where Leslie will rediscover what it means to live, love and find true happiness within herself. Self discovery. I think so.

  • (4/5)
    A story with southern charm and the tone and cadence we have come to adore and count on by Dorothea Benton Frank THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE is a story about marriage and how we come to define ourselves through the the scope of that relationship, but how it also needs to be cherished and taken care of and when it is not choices need to be made. More importantly it is about finding yourself and where you fit in the world despite the definitions and roles. To bust out on your own and find what truly makes you happy!!! This read was a fun story about how it is never to late to find ones correct path and to make ones life an adventure and not a chore!!!! 4 stars
  • (5/5)
    Of course a 5 star, DBF never gets old or less stars in my book. I can't believe I let this book savor on my TBR shelf for so long but after 100+ inches of snow in the last couple weeks this was the perfect pick me up book about my favorite Low Country!
  • (5/5)
    The Last Original Wifeby Dorothea Benton FrankMy"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 one...it'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 she ran off to her gay brother and his dog...Miss Jo. I loved the way she became spunky. I loved the way this story so very nicely unfolded. What I loved about this book...I know and realize that I am using the word love a lot as I discuss this book but the reading of it was just a joy. Rooting, cheering and appreciating Leslie was most of the fun of this book. It wasn't as though she was lackluster for most of her marriage because she seemed to be a person who spoke up when she needed to. It was just that she was a good mother, a good wife and an awesome grandmother who put everyone else first. Realizing that she didn't want to do that anymore was awesome.What I did not love...Wesley...the husband...could not have been more of a selfish joke...the man you love to hate!If this book was a movie the audience would have cheered the minute Leslie got on the plane to see her brother...yeah Les...you go girl!Final thoughts...A fun addictive page turner...perfect for the beach or a long plane ride...you will not be able to put it down!
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. The perfect summer read.
  • (3/5)
    This is a thoroughly enjoyable, if slow-moving, story of a couple in their mid-life who have been married for 30 years. Les realizes that she has been unhappy in the marriage for some time, exploited and deceived and treated like a servant by blustery insensitive Wes, as well as her children. The track of her rejuvenation is gratifying and at times quite funny, and the ending is satisfying.
  • (3/5)
    Just what the doctor ordered for the dreary winter days. I listened to the audio book version, and found the reader, Robin Miles, a little tedious with her Afro-American, Southern accent. Frank illustrates the comical side of a man's mid-life crisis when he must have the Barbie-doll wife, and replace the old, original wife. Leslie and Wesley have been married for decades, but Leslie discovers a bank statement and feels that Wesley has cheated her of a glamorous life of dancing, dining, and traveling. So, Leslie throws in the towel and moves to her brother's house in Charleston, and begins to live. The story remains light-hearted throughout, but serious moments do surface. The vivid description of characters and setting give the reader a glimpse into Southern living with men in seersucker and women residing in spotless homes. Frank’s presentation of the two Barbie wives that cannot even spell correctly is priceless. After listening to Natchez Burning, this book was a laugh.
  • (5/5)
    I just finished the audio The Last Original Wife and loved it! I started reading the book; however, switched to the audio as it was so funny and full of southern humor – I did not want to miss a thing!

    This is my third book by Dorothea Benton Frank this week – and becoming a huge fan. She is such a wonderful storyteller – she puts you in the mood and adore her detailed descriptions of the settings (when you are from the south the food, design, and style matters – as they love to entertain!

    If you are over the age of 50 you will enjoy this book as I give it 5 stars and highly recommend! Having worked in the Charleston area and lived in Atlanta – loved hearing about all the great restaurants and this book makes you want to head to the Low Country as soon as possible. The characters were so engaging -- loved the way she used the first person sarcastic phrases from Les and Wes (awesome)! The narrator did an excellent job capturing the southern dialogue, as well and fell in love with the gay brother (would love to see a movie of this book)- it is movie worthy.
  • (4/5)
    4. 5 starsWhen a woman falls and spends 45 minutes in an empty catch basin on a trip to Scotland, you know that things are not going to well in her life. Leslie Carter has seen her friends get cast off by their husbands for wife 2.0 until she feels like she is the LAST original wife. She has had to put up with dinners and events with these younger women and then finds herself on vacation with the replacement wife for her best friend. Her husband, Wesley has dreamt all of his life about golfing at St. Andrews and off the foursome goes to Scotland. When Les has her accident, the rest of the group keeps walking back to the hotel and doesn’t even realize she is missing. After she is located, Wes leaves her at the hospital so he doesn’t miss his tee time.Back home, Les realizes that her life has not turned out to be what she expected it to be. Yes, she is still married but it’s a marriage by rote not of passion or caring. Her two adult children are irresponsible and users. Wes is a controlling guy and has no appreciation for what Les has done for him over the years. She discovers that financially they are in a much better situation than she was aware of and this is the impetus for her to take a trip to Charleston to visit her brother. Les has time to think and really assess what her life means and what she really wants to do with her future.So many books lately feature the discarded wife being screwed by her cheating ex and having to rebuild her life on nothing but pluck. Then she gets financial revenge and a new man and everything is great. I love a good revenge plot as well as the next person, (Note: Pawley’s Island by this author is one of the absolute best of that genre) but this book is different. Les decides to take a break from her marriage after a period of reflection and increased self-awareness. She does meet up with an old flame but that is not the answer to her problems. Les needs to see what it is about herself that put her in the position she is presently in. How did she become ok with settling for less than she deserved? Why does she let other people make her feel that her wants and needs are less important than her husband’s and children’s? Is fear of what your life will be without your marriage a good enough reason to stay?Wes is not really a bad guy, just self-absorbed and oblivious. When the couple goes to counseling, the real difference between them is highlighted. Les wants to find out if this marriage can be saved and Wes just wants his old life back with no changes on his end.There is an interesting side story about a woman writer from earlier times in Charleston in whose story Les becomes interested. The descriptions of the “Barbie” wives are funny and pathetic at the same time. One of Ms. Frank’s skills is how she defines her characters and integrates the Southern mystique into her books. I thought that this book was a little less South-centric than some of her other books. That said, I enjoyed reading this book but I expected no less from one of my favorite authors.
  • (5/5)
    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 changing. Les' best friend died tragically, and the widower (too) quickly remarried a young, sexy woman who is not popular with the children. When Les' other best friend gives her husband an ultimatum- stop texting his hot young personal trainer at the dinner table or she is leaving, it leaves Les as The Last Original Wife.Forced to spend time with her husband's friends and their new vapid, young wives, Les starts to wonder if this is what she has to look forward to in the coming years. After a trip to Scotland with her husband and his friend and new wife, Les falls into an open manhole and her husband gets all the way back to the hotel (a 40 minute walk) before he realizes that Les is no longer there.Call that the straw that broke the camel's back. Les decides she is not happy with her life. Her daughter uses her as a babysitter whenever she feels like it, her son lives overseas and only calls for money, and her husband refuses to allow Les' gay brother Harlan to come visit so Les hasn't seen her him in forever.She goes to Charleston to stay with her brother. There she runs into an old high school boyfriend and begins to see that she can have a different life, one where she can be in charge of her own happiness.I loved everything about this novel- characters, the story- and the setting made me want to book my airline ticket for Charleston right now. Frank takes us to this beautiful city, and she gave me some fabulous suggestions for restaurants, for which I promptly made a Pinterest board.Harlan is a fantastic character, with an even better dog, the supremely spoiled Miss Jo, who has a closet full of beautiful clothes. I really enjoyed his and Les' sibling relationship. Harlan lives in a historical home, once owned by Josephine Pinckney, a prominent feminist and author. I loved the historical homes in Charleston, and you can bet I'm looking for Pinckney's books now.The novel is told from alternating view points- Les' and Wes'- so we know what each of them is thinking. Wes is completely blindsided and extremely myopic when it comes to his wife, but give him credit for trying to understand. He even agrees to therapy to save his marriage.The Last Original Wife is the beach read for boomers this summer. I think most women who read it will be able to identify with some part of Les's story, and cheer her on as she makes the decisions that will lead to her living a happy life. I like that it is not just a light read with a lot of humor (Les' one-liners crack me up); it has a lot of depth to it and it is surprisingly moving for a summer book. I'm buying extra copies to bring to my sisters-in-law for our beach vacation next week.