Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank
Dorothea Benton Frank is a storyteller. She gives you a few words and immediately you are caught up in the world she is creating. She has done this over and over in her previous novels and she does it again with her latest book All the Single Ladies. The story pours forth from her heart and it only takes seconds before we are transported to the low country of South Carolina. There we stay until she is finished with us.
This story focuses of three single women -- Lisa, Suzanne and Carrie. Carrie works for Suzanne at her florist shop and they meet Lisa at the funeral of their mutual friend Kathy. Kathy had once worked at Suzanne's shop and Lisa knew her when she was living in an assisted living facility. She had cancer and eventually died from the disease. Suzanne and Carrie had been very faithful in coming to see her and had often seen Linda there as she is a nurse at the facility.
At the funeral the three women agree to get together to gather Kathy's belongings from her rented apartment. When they arrive at the apartment they are met by a belligerent landlady who claims most of Kathy's things as her own. The three women retreat but decide to find out if those were indeed Kathy's things.
These women bond over their single status, their interest in Kathy's somewhat mysterious background and their love of the low country. It is enough to make them instant friends, and while they are becoming friends with each other the reader is becoming friends with them.
Frank's stories are slices of life. The women, and the men they meet, are characters the reader can relate to in the most positive way. There is no high drama here, but there is a lot of emotion involved in some of the situations they encounter.
Frank also knows the lay of the land where her story is situated. Her knowledgeable descriptions of the low country's days and nights are magnificent. You will be thrilled by every descriptive adjective and phrase she utilizes to set the scenes. And the description of food! Well you have to read the book to know how mouth wateringly the food is described.
Then there is Frank's interjection of humor into the story. This author lady has a wickedly droll sense of humor and the reader will be laughing out loud over some of the passages, remarks and one liners that spice up the plot. Most of the best lines are told to the reader in Lisa's thoughts but others pop up in the general conversations the women have.
All the Single Ladies is an easy, comfortable read. You will smile a lot, brush away a tear or two and bemoan the fact the story has ended when it is done. You can't ask more from a novel than this, and ALL THE SINGLE LADIES delivers in every element.
All the Single Ladies is published by William Morrow. It contains 368 pages and sells for $26.99.
Jackie K Cooper