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By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
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By Invitation Only (edition 2018)

by Dorothea Benton Frank (Author)

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1249141,368 (4.02)5
Member:LivelyLady
Title:By Invitation Only
Authors:Dorothea Benton Frank (Author)
Info:William Morrow (2018), Edition: First Edition, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, Low Country, chick-lit

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By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A clash of cultures makes for this funny novel of a Chicagoan young woman marrying a South Carolinian. The character portrayal of all shows the author’s obvious familiarity with the region. A very good book and story into which you can escape. ( )
  LivelyLady | Jan 11, 2019 |
Fred and Shelby get engaged and two very different families must unite for the celebrations.

Fred is from a southern family. He was raised by his mother Diane his uncle Floyd and his grandmother. They grow and sell produce. They are good people, a loving family, but no one would accuse them of being fancy.

Shelby is from a wealthy family, they live in the city in Chicago. Her father makes a lot of money and her mother enjoys spending it. She’s on charitable committees but ultimately looks down on someone like Diane. Despite not having a perfect childhood, she’s still quick to look down on Diane for not spending enough money on the wedding.

As it turns out, Fred and Shelby don’t actually want a fancy wedding. This is perfect for Fred’s side but it doesn’t sit well with Shelby’s side.

Sometimes the characters seemed a bit over the top to me. I really thought Fred’s family was great but it almost felt stereotypical sometimes. I live in a small town myself, I know more people like Uncle Floyd than I do like Shelby’s family. So, I say this knowing that the author means no disrespect...but, really? They thought it would be funny to bring a chicken to a wedding? It felt over the top.
The moonshine, the mason jars, the bales of hay and the appeal of fresh produce, that is definitely fitting with a small town. Nothing wrong with any of that. I just felt like the scene with the chicken was almost poking fun at Fred’s family even though it wasn’t presented that way.

So, that’s me being protective of my neighbors. I don’t think it’s meant to come off that way. It’s just the one thing that left a bad impression on me. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
As always another 5 star book by Dorothea Benton Frank, one of my all time favorite authors. Once in a while on Facebook I see a person in one of the many bookclub pages I belong to, say they have just finished their first DBF book, and I am ever so jealous that I can't start fresh all over again and read every book she's ever written! This book is set in the Lowcounrty and deals with a family of farmers, 3 generations, one of my favorite fruits, peaches, and a wedding in a land different and far away, Chicago. The story moves right along, sad and happy, and if happy endings bother you then just move along to another book. Great read, can't wait until next year. ( )
  mchwest | Oct 30, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this one. I am thankful that my husband bought me a copy while I was on a self imposed book ban. I learned so much about farming, peaches, Mount Pleasant and Chicago. I can’t wait to see what Dottie’s next book will be about. ( )
  DKnight0918 | Aug 6, 2018 |
Nothing says summer like a new Dorothea Benton Frank book, but this season's By Invitation Only is especially appropriate this year. The protagonist has the same first name as me (Diane), and her son is getting married (so is mine) to a young woman he met at work, a fellow accountant. (My son met his bride-to-be at their accounting jobs too.)

So you can see why I would be excited to read By Invitation Only. Throw in the fact that Diane and her brother and mother run a peach orchard in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where they make and sell pies at their roadside stand, well, I am hooked. (I love books about food and family-run businesses!)

Diane is a somewhat concerned about meeting her son Fred's fiancee Shelby and her family. Susan Kennedy Cambria and her hard-charging hedgefund manager husband Alejandro live in a gorgeous Chicago penthouse and are conspicuous consumers, the one-percenters we frequently hear about.

When both families decide to host an engagment party for the happy couple, it is a major culture-clash. Diane and her brother Floyd throw a Southern BBQ, complete with a pig roast, to welcome the new in-laws. At first Susan is shocked, but when Floyd, who fancies himself a ladies' man, turns on the charm and offers Susan a taste of honey-flavored moonshine, it is Diane who becomes concerned. (As does Floyd's current girlfriend).

The favor is returned when Diane, Floyd, their mother and Diane's best friend head up to Chicago for the wedding, which is Susan's chance to go really over-the-top, over the objections of even her daughter. (Think Harry and Meghan's wedding.) A major snowstorm throws a monkey-wrench into Susan's plans, and adjustments must be made.

I absolutely adored By Invitation Only. The juxtaposition of the uber-wealthy, luxury brand-name droppers (shout-out to Tiffany's, the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Beach, Karl Langerfeld, and Gulfstream G550 private jets) and the hardworking farming family at the mercy of the elements, made for such a fascinating, fun story.

Reading about the delicious food at the BBQ (shrimp and grits, deviled eggs, corn muffins, biscuits, bluefish spread on toast points) as well as the preparations for the family Thanksgiving dinner, had my stomach growling.

As with every wedding, things go wrong, and there are a couple of twists in the plot that have characters re-evaluating their lives. Benton Frank writes her characters so well that you feel like you could sit down next to them and have a juicy conversation over a glass of sweet tea. Her trademark humor shines here as well.

By Invitation Only might be my favorite Dorothea Benton Frank book, and I just hope my son's upcoming nuptials go a little smoother than Fred and Shelby's. I highly recommend it for your summer beach read, and if you know any upcoming MOBs (Mother-of-the-Brides) or MOGs (Mother-of-the-Grooms), this would make a lovely gift. (And the cover is gorgeous too.) ( )
  bookchickdi | Jun 22, 2018 |
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What happens when a young sophisticated Chicagoan falls for the owner of a farm on Johns Island, a lush Lowcountry paradise off the coast of South Carolina -- trading the bustle of a cosmopolitan city for the vagaries of a small southern town?

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