Book Review: All Summer Long


Sullivan's Island, SC

Sullivan’s Island, SC

Nobody writes a beach book like Dorothea Benton Frank, and this year’s All Summer Long will transport you from Manhattan to Sullivan’s Island and other haunts of the 1%.  The plot is a clever, charming, and hilarious riff on the fictional exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway:

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let me tell you about the very rich.
They are different from you and me. 
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Rich Boy”
Ernest Hemingway with one of his many cats

Ernest Hemingway with one of his many cats

 The rich have more money.
– Mary Colum (lifted by Ernest Hemingway)

All Summer Long is dedicated to the late, great Pat Conroy, who passed away on March 4, 2016.

The story starts in Manhattan on Easter Monday, April 6, 2015.  Olivia Ritchie is interior designer for the 1%, and the love of her life is Nicholas Seymour, a professor ready for an endless sabbatical on his native Sullivan’s Island, SC.  The couple’s move was one of those promises Olivia never expected she’d have to keep, and she fortified herself with a beach house the couple couldn’t really afford.

Billionaire Bob Vasile is one of her oldest clients.  His current wife Maritza has everything a girl could want except her husband’s devotion and fidelity.  Bob is bonking the nanny Ellen, and her charge Gladdie isn’t happy.  The tiny tot has a myriad of tantrums which mirror the bad behavior of women who hope to be the next Mrs. Vasile as well as an ex-Mrs. Vasile.

AllSummerLongBob is fond of piling business associates into his Gulfstream G650 for jaunts to Necker Island in the Caribbean, Nantucket, and Majorca.  His yacht Le Bateau de l’Amour is at the ready if the islands become a bore.

Olivia’s business is as precarious as Maritza’s marriage.  They both maintain the pretension that all is fine here.  Bob, of course, is oblivious.  It all comes to a head in Majorca on Bob’s yacht, and we are reminded that the only real difference between the 1% and the rest of us is more money.

Dorothea Benton Frank

Dorothea Benton Frank

I loved what happened next.  No, I’m not giving any spoiler alerts.  The story ends with a Labor Day trip to Nantucket and a return to Sullivan’s Island.

Buy the book.  Make yourself a pitcher of margaritas.  Escape for an action-packed summer with a cast of delightful characters.  Enjoy!

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