by Dorothea Benton Frank
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 had a terrible thought. What if one of my parents died and the surviving one wanted to live with me? Oh! God! No! I sort of said a blasphemous prayer, petitioning the Lord for my mother to go first because I could tolerate my father’s company without every moment feeling like I was having a deep scaling in the dentist’s chair.”
“John’s only been dead for ten minutes! And you sound like Amanda from The Glass Menagerie waiting on a gentleman caller.”
“He was grinning from ear to ear like big cats do when they’ve got the little mouse cornered. He was going to taunt me and run me around before he ate my soul.”
“… remembering the days when checkout personnel would ask to see some ID to prove I was old enough to buy booze. Now they wanted to give me the senior discount at the Bi-Lo. Maybe I needed a better moisturizer and a neck cream.”
“He was a living heart donor. A great doctor, mind you, but freezing cold.”
“If you want to find out which of your relatives are crazy, have a funeral.”
All The Single Ladies brought me an entertaining and amusing read with an interesting and varied grouping of three tenacious middle-aged ladies who have easily established a pleasant new friendship and find themselves living together during a trying summer of upheaval. Despite their personal difficulties and disappointments, they combine their efforts in solving a vexing mystery while also evolving into a shared supportive bond and better than family relationships. I adored the amusing observations and insightful narrative of the book, which appeared part conspiratorial and sardonically humorous confessions and part inner musings. The writing contained many nostalgia-inducing Southern maxims often used by my father, and was thoroughly and lovingly detailed with lush descriptions of each scene and meal, I could practically smell the bacon and taste the Krispy Kremes. I reveled in the slower pace of the story and the compassion and kindness the women shared while I also found myself feeling more than a bit envious of their camaraderie. I frequently smirked at her amusing accounts of the antics occurring between the residents at the senior living center, finally – someone has given me something to look forward to during the aging process.
About Dorothea Benton Frank
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.