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All Summer Long


All Summer Long

Olivia Ritchie has had it all: a successful career as the must-have interior designer for New York’s “one percent,” a glittering jewel of a little co-op filled with her carefully curated collections and inspirations, and a wonderful marriage of 14 years to college professor Nick Seymour. Nick is quite a bit older than she is and seemingly her polar opposite, but he is the one true love of her life.

Unfortunately, when Olivia married this confirmed bachelor, part of the deal was that when he stepped down from teaching, the two would move back to South Carolina’s Lowcountry, the Charleston area specifically, where Nick was born and raised and yearns to return. As the actual move looms, Olivia is having many second thoughts. For one, moving so far away from her client base in NYC is the equivalent of “professional suicide.” She is an unknown in South Carolina and can’t wrap her head around how to rebuild her business down there. Her assistant, Roni Larini, has too many family obligations in New York to make the move with her, so will try to help Olivia manage the business long distance. Lastly, and probably most importantly, Nick has allowed Olivia to singlehandedly manage their finances, which she has done with aplomb up until these last few years. A series of disasters with clients have combined to put an almost irreversible dent in their bank accounts. In addition, there are all the expenses of the upcoming relocation. The co-op sells for much less than anticipated, and the new home in Sullivans Island is much more than budgeted. Nick is blissfully unaware of these financial secrets, which keeps Olivia on edge at almost every moment.

"ALL SUMMER LONG will take only a few days to read. But the crazy characters, exotic locales and underlying messages will stick with the reader until the last waning moments of summer."

Olivia is trying desperately to produce a job or two that will put money into their bank account before she has to disclose to Nick how their fortunes have turned. Her best bet is something new from Bob and Maritza Vasile. Olivia has been Bob’s interior decorator through four wives (or is it five? she wonders), and over the years they have become fast friends. Bob has millions and lives a lavish lifestyle, one that Olivia and Nick are often the beneficiary of. His current wife, the very southern and flashy Maritza, considers Olivia her one true friend, even naming her godmother to their spoiled young daughter, Gladdie. Olivia doesn’t feel the same kinship for Maritza, but maintains a warm relationship out of respect for Bob and her hope of a new mansion or mountain getaway to decorate.

When Maritza invites the couple to join them on a trip to the exclusive Caribbean hideaway Nekker Island, Olivia jumps at the chance despite Nick’s reservations. He is not and has never been part of the world of the upper-upper class. However, after the private jet whisks them to the Virgin Islands and then a private helicopter delivers them to Nekker Island, where they are waited on hand and foot, he starts settling comfortably into the lifestyle.

Bob travels with a pack of sycophants that includes Sam, his golf pro, and Sam’s wife, Dorothy, a nasty piece of work whose constant sniping and critiquing even puts her husband on edge. Bob’s son from his last marriage, Daniel, a sulking twenty-something hipster whose disdain for Maritza is always obvious, has joined the entourage, along with his girlfriend, Kitty. Michelle, Dorothy and Daniel never fail to let Maritza know that they think she is a redneck gold digger, a belief that is hard to deny based on the facts. Added to the group is Gladdie’s nanny, Ellen. To everyone’s eyes, the glimpses, touches and other interactions that occur between Bob and Ellen give every indication that something is going on and that Ellen might be the next Mrs. Vasile. 

After Nekker Island, the group is off to Nantucket and the beaches of Southern Spain. Tensions continue to build as Maritza tries frantically to reclaim Bob’s attention as not only Ellen but Dorothy and others circle in the water around her failing marriage. Little Gladdie becomes more and more incorrigible, not only sensing the tension between her parents but also becoming a pawn in Ellen’s hands.

Amidst it all, Olivia and Nick, both of whom share old-fashioned values and common courtesy, are like fish out of water. While enjoying the pleasures of these luxury trips, putting up with their fellow travelers can more than diminish some of the shine. They continue to travel back and forth to Sullivans Island, beginning to work on making it their true home, and Olivia warms up to life in the South. But what will happen when she is finally forced to disclose to Nick their financial woes? Will his love for her be able to overcome the lack of trust he inevitably will feel? If Bob and Maritza divorce, will that be the end of the gravy train for Olivia’s business?

In a last-ditch effort to save her business, Olivia makes a fatal mistake one night during a wedding aboard Le Bateau de l’Amour --- one that results not only in secrets coming out but persons gone missing, leaving many relationships in tatters. And through it all, the biggest question remains: Can money really buy happiness? If Olivia’s money troubles vanished, would she be happy? Are Bob and Maritza, with their untold wealth, happy? Are any of the people who accompany the Vasiles on their travels happy while they enjoy the best of the best that life has to offer?

Dorothea Benton Frank’s ALL SUMMER LONG will take only a few days to read. But the crazy characters, exotic locales and underlying messages will stick with the reader until the last waning moments of summer.

Reviewed by Jamie Layton on June 2, 2016

All Summer Long
by Dorothea Benton Frank

  • Publication Date: March 7, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062390767
  • ISBN-13: 9780062390769