One by one, the male friends of Leslie Carter's husband, Wesley, have replaced their loyal yet aging first wives with newer models. Instead of enjoying the company of the women she has grown to know and love at social functions, she is surrounded by the new young crop of bimbos --- the Barbie wives --- with whom she has nothing in common.
As if being the last original wife isn't enough, Leslie has finally awakened to the fact that Wes and her adult children, Charlotte and Bertie, take her for granted, never once anticipating her needs or even acknowledging that she may have them. While she has spent her entire adult life caring for her family rather than returning the favor, they simply behave as if her indentured servitude is their due.
"THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE is the battle cry of wives everywhere who feel taken for granted by their husbands and children. Almost any woman, particularly those who have spent their lives as housewives tending to their husband and raising the children, can find snippets to identify with here."
While on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with Wes and another couple (in reality, a golf outing for the men), Leslie falls into a manhole, breaking her arm and knocking out several teeth. When Wes leaves her in the hospital in a strange city far from home, asking one of the Barbie wives to sit by her side so he can play golf on his ideal course, Leslie is crushed.
Back at home, before she even has had time to heal, Leslie discovers an earth-shattering secret that Wes has kept from her for years. Unable to tolerate further emotional abuse from her obtuse husband and obnoxious kids, Leslie leaves Atlanta to visit her beloved brother, Harlan, in Charleston. Due to Wes's severe homophobia, Leslie has curtailed the time she has spent with her brother over the years. However, once in Charleston, she experiences a sense of relief and freedom that she has not known in all the decades of marriage to Wes.
Early in her visit, Leslie reconnects with her first love, a charming Southern doctor named Jonathan Ray. Unlike Wes, Jonathan knows and cares about what makes Leslie happy. However, just as she is immersing herself in a new life, tragedy strikes, and Leslie is called home to care for Wes once again. Only time will tell if Leslie will leave behind an unsatisfactory marriage and make a new life with a man who adores her, or if she will be able to reconcile with the man to whom she has devoted her life.
THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE is the battle cry of wives everywhere who feel taken for granted by their husbands and children. Almost any woman, particularly those who have spent their lives as housewives tending to their husband and raising the children, can find snippets to identify with here. Although Leslie begins the book in a state of oppression, she quickly finds her feet and ventures out to ensure that, at 60 years of age, she still has a chance to grab the happiness she so desperately desires and deserves.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on June 14, 2013
The Last Original Wife