Dorothea Benton Frank books in order
Dorothea Benton Frank was a beloved American novelist and a New York Times bestselling author of southern fiction and literary fiction.
Born and raised on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, she attended The Fashion Institute of America in Atlanta, Georgia, before working in the apparel industry for more than a decade.
Dottie wrote her debut novel Sullivan’s Island: A Low Country Tale, following the demise of her beloved mother. She did so in an effort to raise enough money to purchase back her childhood family home, which was the remaining physical connection that she had to her hometown.
The book not only debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, but also launched Dottie’s career as an author.
Set in the Low Country of South Carolina, all the 20 novels that she has authored have been bestselling novels.
Dottie passed away on September 2, 2019, at the age of 67 after a brief struggle with leukemia.
She was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The College of Charleston, a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Bloomfield College and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Charleston School of Law.
Dottie is survived by her husband Peter Richard Frank, daughter Victoria Frank Peluso (husband Carmine Peluso), grandson Theodore Anthony Peluso, and son William Richard Frank (wife Madeline Clark Frank).
Genres: Literary Fiction, Southern Fiction
- Full of Grace (2006)
- The Land of Mango Sunsets (2007)
- The Christmas Pearl (2007)
- Porch Lights (2012)
- The Last Original Wife (2013)
- All Summer Long (2016)
- By Invitation Only (2018)
- Sullivan's Island (1999)
- Plantation (2001)
- Isle of Palms (2003)
- Shem Creek (2002)
- Pawleys Island (2005)
- Return to Sullivan's Island (2009)
- Lowcountry Summer (2010)
- Folly Beach (2011)
- Bulls Island (2008)
- The Hurricane Sisters (2014)
- All the Single Ladies (2015)
- Same Beach, Next Year (2017)
- Queen Bee (2019)
- Teddy Spaghetti (2020)
Detailed book overview
A moving story of the power of love and the miracles of life―chock full of Southern wit, sass, and charm.
Grace is an intelligent, (struggling-to-be) independent 31-year-old single woman living (in sin!) with the man she’d marry if they both weren’t so commitment phobic. Michael is a doctor and a scientist and Grace has a good idea that he’s also an atheist. Over the years, this dutiful Catholic girl has become ambivalent about her faith. But her family is as devoutly old-fashioned as it gets.
The stage is set for a major showdown that might just change Grace’s outlook on life, family, and the South itself.
Meet Miriam Elizabeth Swanson, in a full-blown snit, buoyed by a fabulous cast who run the gamut from insufferable to wonderful. First is the arrival of Liz Harper, Miriam's tenant from Birmingham, who sets a new cycle in motion. Then her other tenant, Kevin, stalwart companion with more style than Cary Grant, shakes Miriam out of her fog to see which battles are worth the fight.
Next, her estranged son announces he's marrying a Jamaican woman. And what about her ex-husband, Charles, and that sordid lingerie model of his? Well, Harry, her African Gray parrot, has plenty of opinions. Finally, you'll laugh and cry when she meets a man named Harrison who changes her into a gal named Mellie.
Miriam spins out from the revolving door of her postured life as a Manhattan quasi-socialite while she thirsts, no, starves for recognition. How did she become what she hates the most, and what does she endure to realize it? And where are the answers?
It takes a few spins, dips, and one spectacular fall until Miriam gets her head on straight. Then in a whoosh she's off to the enchanted and mysterious land of Sullivans Island, deep in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Theodora is the matriarch of a family that has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. While she's finally gotten them all together in South Carolina to celebrate, this Christmas looks nothing like the extravagant, homey holidays of her childhood.
What happened to the days when Christmas meant tables groaning with home-cooked goodies, over-the-top decorations, and long chats in front of the fire with Pearl, her grandmother's beloved housekeeper and closest confidante?
Luckily for Theodora, a special someone who heard her plea for help arrives, with pockets full of enough Gullah magic and common sense to make Theodora's Christmas the love-filled miracle it's meant to be.
New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank is back home in the Carolina lowcountry, spinning a tale that brims with the warmth, charm, heart, and humor that has become her trademark. Porch Lights is a stirring, emotionally rich multigenerational story—a poignant tale of life, love, and transformation—as a nurse, returning to Sullivans Island from the Afghanistan War, finds her life has been irrevocably altered by tragedy…and now must rediscover love and purpose with the help of her son and aging mother.
An evocative visit to enchanting Sullivans Island with its unique pluff mud beaches, palmetto trees, and colorful local lore—a novel filled with unforgettable characters, and enlivened by tales of the notorious Blackbeard and his bloodthirsty pirate crew and eerie Edgar Allan Poe stories—Porch Lights stands tall among the very best works of not only Dottie Frank, but Anne Rivers Siddons, Rebecca Wells, Pat Conroy, and other masters of the modern Southern novel as well.
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 love and 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 setbacks shake Les’s world and push her to the edge. She’s had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around. She’s not going to waste another minute on people she doesn’t care to know.
Now, she’s going to take some time for herself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. In her brother’s stately historic home, she’s going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers sharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island.
Along Charleston’s live oak- and palmetto-lined cobblestone streets, under the Lowcountry’s dazzling blue sky, Les will indulge herself with icy cocktails, warm laughter, divine temptation and bittersweet memories. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will 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 Benton Frank: an intoxicating tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love, that is as salty as a Lowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day.
Dorothea Benton Frank’s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking, too.
This is a story of people whose lives are changing—a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people’s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.
This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends—husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.
Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.
The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement.
On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range.
While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.
Soon By Invitation Only zooms to Chicago, where the unraveling accelerates. Nearly a thousand miles away from her comfortable, familiar world, Diane is the antithesis of the bright lights and super-sophisticated guests attending her son Fred’s second engagement party. Why a second party? Maybe it had been assumed that the first one wouldn’t be up to snuff?
Fred is marrying Shelby Cambria, also an only child. The Cambrias’ dearest wish is for their daughter to be happy. If Shelby wants to marry Frederick, aka Fred, they will not stand in her way—although Susan does hope her friends won’t think her daughter is marrying more than a few degrees beneath her socially. At the same time, Diane worries that her son will be lost to her forever.
By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard -working Southern peach farmers.
Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan’s Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass.
But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories.
And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms. To the only place she can truly call home...
Caroline Wimbley Levine always swore she’d never go home again. But now, at her brother’s behest, she has returned to South Carolina to see about Mother—only to find that the years have not changed the Queen of Tall Pines Plantation.
Miss Lavinia is as maddeningly eccentric as ever—and absolutely will not suffer the questionable advice of her children. This does not surprise Caroline. Nor does the fact that Tall Pines is still brimming with scandals and secrets, betrayals and lies.
But she soon discovers that something is different this time around. It lies somewhere in the distance between her and her mother—and in her understanding of what it means to come home....
Anna Lutz Abbot considers herself independent and happy—until one steamy summer when her collegiate daughter comes home a very different person, her wild and wonderful ex-husband shows up on her doorstep, and her flamboyant new best friend takes up with Anna’s father. And the already hot temperatures are cranked up another ten degrees by Anna’s own fling with Arthur, who is, heaven help her, a Yankee.
Now Anna must face the fact that she isn’t as in control of her life as she’d thought. And she must find a way to deal with the whole truth—not just the comfortable parts.
Meet Linda Breland, single parent of two teenage daughters—one of whom is headed off to college. Between that and the married men, the cold New Jersey winters, her pinched wallet, and her ex-husband who married a beautiful, successful woman ten years younger than she is—let’s just say Linda has seen enough to fill a thousand pages.
Now she’s bound for Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the magical landscape of her ancestors. Welcomed by the help of her advice-dispensing sister and an intriguing ex–investment banker turned restaurant owner, Linda slowly begins to find her way and realize that she, too, is entitled to a second chance....
Catapulted from her home, her marriage and her children, artist Rebecca Simms has come to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, to hide herself from herself.
Little does she know that on this “arrogantly shabby” family playground, she’ll encounter three people who will change her life: a wise and irresistible octogenarian who will pry her secrets from her, a gallery owner who caters to interior decorators and heaven save us, tourists, and a retired attorney from Columbia who’s complacent in her fat and sassy life until Rebecca’s stormy advent...
Newly graduated from college and an aspiring writer, Beth Hayes craves independence and has a world to conquer. But her notions of travel, graduate study, and writing the great American novel will have to be postponed. With her mother, Susan, leaving to fulfill her own dreams in Paris and her Aunt Maggie, Uncle Grant, and stepfather, Simon, moving to California, Beth is elected by her elders to house-sit the Island Gamble.
Surrounded by the shimmering blue waters of the Atlantic, the white clapboards, silver tin roof, and confessional porch have seen and heard the stories of generations of Hamiltons. But will the ghosts of the Island Gamble be watching over Beth?
Buoyed by sentimental memories of growing up on this tiny sandbar that seems to be untouched by time, Beth vows to give herself over to the Lowcountry force and discover the wisdom it holds. She will rest, rejuvenate, and then reenter the outside world. Just as she vows she will never give into the delusional world of white picket fences, minivans, and eternal love, she meets Max Mitchell. And all her convictions and plans begin to unravel with lightning speed.
There is so much about life and her family's past that she does not know. Her ignorance and naiveté nearly cost her both her inheritance and her family's respect. But Beth finds unexpected friends to help her through the disaster she faces: her wise and charming Aunt Sophie; Cecily Singleton, the granddaughter of Livvie Singleton; and Woody Morrison, the solid young investment banker.
This wonderful ensemble of characters could be your own family, but watch what unfolds as they succumb to the island's spell. If everything happens for a reason, then Beth's return to Sullivans Island teaches her that betrayal and tragedy are most easily handled when you surround yourself with loyal family and friends in a magical place that loves you so much that it wants to claim you as its own.
When Caroline Wimbley Levine returned to Tall Pines Plantation, she never expected to make peace with long-buried truths about herself and her family. The Queen of Tall Pines, her late mother, was a force of nature, but now she is gone, leaving Caroline and the rest of the family uncertain of who will take her place.
In the lush South Carolina countryside, old hurts, betrayals, and dark secrets will surface, and a new generation will rise along the banks of the mighty Edisto River.
Home is the place that knows us best...
A woman returns to the past to find her future in this enchanting new tale of loss, acceptance, family, and love.
With its sandy beaches and bohemian charms, surfers and suits alike consider Folly Beach to be one of South Carolina's most historic and romantic spots. It is also the land of Cate Cooper's childhood, the place where all the ghosts of her past roam freely. Cate never thought she'd wind up in this tiny cottage named the Porgy House on this breathtakingly lovely strip of coast. But circumstances have changed, thanks to her newly dead husband whose financial—and emotional—bull and mendacity have left Cate homeless, broke, and unmoored.
Yet Folly Beach holds more than just memories. Once upon a time another woman found unexpected bliss and comfort within its welcoming arms. An artist, writer, and colleague of the revered George Gershwin, Dorothy Heyward enjoyed the greatest moments of her life at Folly with her beloved husband, DuBose. And though the Heywards are long gone, their passion and spirit lingers in every mango sunset and gentle ocean breeze.
And for Cate, Folly, too, holds the promise of unexpected fulfillment when she is forced to look at her life and the zany characters that are her family anew. To her surprise, she will discover that you can go home again. Folly Beach doesn't just hold the girl she once was...it also holds the promise of the woman she's always wanted—and is finally ready—to become.
It has been years since Elizabeth “Betts” McGee has returned to her once-adored Bulls Island in the Carolina Lowcountry—ages since tragic fate coupled with nasty rumors ended her engagement to fabulously wealthy Charleston golden boy J.D. Langley.
Having successfully reinvented herself as a top New York banking executive, Betts is now heading up the most important project of her career. But it’ll transform the untouched island she loved in her youth into something unrecognizable.
And it’s forcing her to return to the bosom of her estranged family, where she may not be welcomed with open arms—and uniting her with ex-flame J.D., who’s changed...but perhaps not enough.
Three generations of women. Buried secrets.
The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.
Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.
Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.
So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.
Deep into the heart of the magical Lowcountry, three amazing middle-aged women are bonded by another amazing woman’s death.
Through their shared loss they forge a deep friendship, asking critical questions. Who was their friend and what did her life mean? Are they living the lives they imagined for themselves? Will they ever be able to afford to retire? How will they maximize their happiness? Security? Health? And ultimately, their own legacies?
A plan is conceived and unfurls with each turn of the tide during one sweltering summer on the Isle of Palms. Without ever fully realizing how close they were to the edge, they finally triumph amid laughter and maybe even newfound love.
NB: This book is also known as Carolina Girls.
One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.
A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.
Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak.
The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.
Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivans Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she’s a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she’s quite ill but that doesn’t stop her from tormenting Holly.
To escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.
Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what’s happening in their neighbor’s home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys?
Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they’ll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.
Teddy really, really, REALLY loves spaghetti. What he doesn’t love is getting teased at school. When Teddy takes his favorite food to lunch, a bully calls him a not-so-nice name:
Will Teddy let his new nickname prevent him from enjoying what he loves most?
Find out in Dorothea Benton Frank’s first-ever children's book. It's certain to encourage kids to be themselves and to take a bite (or slurp) out of life!
Perfect for anti-bullying and self-confidence discussions with children.