☆☆➹⁀☆ 3.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
About the Book:
All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple – prominent interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband Nicholas Seymour, an English professor and true southern gentleman. They are seemingly polar opposites, yet magnetically drawn together and in love for more than fourteen years.
As they prepare to relocate to Charleston, S.C., Olivia, the ultimate New Yorker, has reservations about the promise she made to retire in the Lowcountry, where Nick wants to return home and lead a more peaceful life. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace and downsizing. Nick is ecstatic. Olivia is not. She can’t let Nick know that their finances are not what he thought. Her client list is evaporating, their monetary reserves are dwindling and maybe that house she picked out on Sullivans Island needs too much work. Thank God, for her assistant, Roni Larini, her right (and sometimes left) hand.
As they find themselves pondering the next step of their lives, Olivia and Nick travel with her billionaire clients and their friends and are swept up into the world of the ultra-rich and explore the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer. All as Olivia grapples with what lies ahead for her and Nick.
This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are still looking for something more. Even the most successful people can often struggle to keep things together. All Summer Long asks the ultimate question: can money buy happiness? From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to Nantucket to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the many faces of true love, love that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes everything.
All Summer Long is a character driven novel. While the author does use a major life change in her main characters’ lives as an overall plot arc, the feels more about people and relationships.
Readers meet Olivia and Nick as they are moving out of their expensive apartment in NYC and renovating a not-so-small country house in the Low Country where Nick grew up. This huge transition creates a lot of tension and strife in Olivia that later translates to relationship issues such as trust and communication.
Author Dorothea Benton Frank uses Olivia and Nick’s wealthy friends and their dysfunctional lives as a way to further explore relationships. Each couple has their own issues, and Olivia and Nick juxtapose to Bob and Maritza (and their entourage) seem the normal, happy couple even though their marital issues seem to be at the center of the story.
There are a few plot points that are far-fetched, but overall, All Summer Long is a pleasant, leisurely-paced book. It’s filled with vivid descriptions that pull the reader into life in both the city and the country. There are strong underlying messages of “money doesn’t buy happiness” and the power of a trust and love in a marriage.
The audiobook is excellently narrated by Bernadette Dunne.
About the Author: Dorothea Benton Frank was a New York Timesbest-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.
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