By Invitation Only (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Invitation Only (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by Dorothea Benton Frank

Hardcover(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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This edition, available only at Barnes & Noble, includes an original letter from Dorothea Benton Frank about loss and returning home to Sullivan’s Island. It also includes a delicious recipe for Shrimp and Grits, and a festive cocktail recipe, as after all, good food is always essential in a Dorothea Benton Frank novel.

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.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

By Invitation Only is classic Dorothea Benton Frank—a mesmerizing Lowcountry Tale that roars with spirit, humor, and truth, and forces us to reconsider our notions of what it means to be a Have or a Have Not

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062873514
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Series: Lowcountry Tales Series
Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 162,146
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.


New Jersey and Sullivan's Island, South Carolina

Date of Birth:


Date of Death:

September 2, 2019

Place of Birth:

Sullivan's Island, South Carolina

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By Invitation Only 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I look forward from one year to the next to get to enjoy DBF's great books and I've never been disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all this authors books. I have bought and read them all. This book was a little different from her others. The sacrifice and love of family was brought to our attention and which touched my heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've devoured dbf books in the past. This one took forever to read, drab and boring. I sure hope the next one is better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When north meets south and a cold front moves in there's electricity in the air. As the generations of family reach the Millennials , you'll know it's 2018.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does not disappoint!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book as always! Fun and quick read! Love the characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my interest from very beginning. One of my favorite writers and this is my favorite of all her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun, fast lowcountry read
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Family mythology says that even in its youth, the house was so unappealing that Sherman’s troops let it stand. The officers said it wasn’t worth the flick of the flint it would’ve taken to torch it, and the Yankees had slept in the barn by choice. I heard somewhere that the real reason they took to the barn was that my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was especially frisky, but I’d never repeat that. “That ought to make ‘em happy… And if it doesn’t, they can all go home and scratch their mad place.”… No one ever really defined what one’s mad place might be, but it was assumed to be in the area of one’s personal Lowcountry. When we were growing up, Floyd and I used to say our dishes were Chinese – Ding Dynasty. My Review: Dorothea Benton Frank imbues her entertaining stories with a special blend of humor, which appears to be equal parts keen wry wit and a unique yet indefinable form of Lowcountry magic. I have been completely enamored with clever arrangements of words since my first exposure with The Hurricane Sisters. I was an instant fangirl and have delighted in each of her thoughtfully observant and witty written tales that I’ve been lucky enough to snag. Her quirky characters come alive on the page and become so familiar I feel I could recognize them on the street. By Invitation Only was a smartly paced and pleasantly entertaining tale of contrasts that began with a young newly engaged couple announcing their intentions and plans to introduce their divergently different sets of relatives for the first time were instituted. It was the in-laws vs. the outlaws; midwestern urbanites meet the Southern country bumpkins; wealthy snobs meet salt-of-the-earth rednecks. It didn’t help that Uncle Floyd was a Doomsday planner who appeared besotted with camo. He primarily wore camo pants, had camo covered furniture, and even toted a camo themed flask for his spirits. He was also a chick magnet. Go figure… Dueling engagement parties were planned across the country every upscale extravagance was expended by the Chicago contingent, who thought their worst fears would be finding taxidermy, picnic tables, and gun racks upon arrival at the farm for the Southern version - only to discover moonshine, pig trophies, and the impossibility of removing manure from Chanel ~ snort. I savored every word and eagerly consumed the amusing tag lines that set the tone for each new chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved how the family reinvented themselves in a business sense. It's their love and devotion to each other that is so beautiful. You also see the younger family members taking over, but not excluding the seniors. Wouldn't all of us love to be part of this down to earth , low country family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laural More than 1 year ago
As always, Dorthea Benton Frank does not disappoint! Couldn't put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story of two different worlds connecting through a young couple in love. A well written story about family, love, loss, disaster, and of course the Lowcountry. I laughed at times and I cried at times, but I hated to put the book down. Dorothea Benton Frank always draws me into her writing. It's like a breath of summer anytime I read her books. Three cheers to a wonderful read that has you thinking about your own family dynamics and being thankful for the love.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
Susan Kennedy Cambria and her husband Alejandro are part of Chicago’s wealthy elite class. And, although Susan adores Frederick Stiftel, her future son-in-law, she worries that her daughter is marrying below her. Frederick was raised on a farm, in Low Country, South Carolina, after all, and not in a city, like the Cambria’s. Diane Stiftel loved her son Fred, and although, she truly wanted to get along with his fiancee’s mother, Susan Cambria, she was not about to allow the woman to bully her about wedding plans. I found the banter between the Stiftel’s family hysterical; as well as the engagement party held by them in South Carolina. When wealthy over-the-top-snobbish Susan Cambria and her friends came to South Carolina, they got a full, in-your-face, eye-opening introduction into farm life and southern hospitality. I love the Stiftel family, especially, Diane. She’s a giving, kind, and wholesome woman. Susan Cambria on-the-other-hand is just the opposite. She and her husband Alejandro are about to learn a couple of hard-earned lessons. Unfortunately, life’s greatest awakenings don’t come as a spur-of-the-moment, brilliant idea, but occur at the tail-end of an excruciating and agonizing experience. By Invitation Only is a hilarious as well as a poignant read. The characters are well-crafted and engaging; the plot captivating and the dialogue witty. I absolutely loved it. By Invitation Only is a quality read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even the epilogue was boring. If you enjoy reading about every single move that a character makes this could be for you. Setting tables, cooking cornbread, flower center pieces. Good grief, Had to skim so I could read a better book! Waste of time and money. Never again with this author. Second time burnt. Oh well. Just a warning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
2Barneys More than 1 year ago
3+ Dorothea Benton Frank writes interesting fiction, chic lit, worth checking out; this is not a favorite for me but I was engaged enough to continue to read on; somewhat predictable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Enjoyed it very much.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Nothing says summer like a new Dorothea Benton Frank book, but this season's By Invitation Only is especially appropriate this year. The protagonist has the same first name as me (Diane), and her son is getting married (so is mine) to a young woman he met at work, a fellow accountant. (My son met his bride-to-be at their accounting jobs too.) So you can see why I would be excited to read By Invitation Only. Throw in the fact that Diane and her brother and mother run a peach orchard in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where they make and sell pies at their roadside stand, well, I am hooked. (I love books about food and family-run businesses!) Diane is a somewhat concerned about meeting her son Fred's fiancee Shelby and her family. Susan Kennedy Cambria and her hard-charging hedgefund manager husband Alejandro live in a gorgeous Chicago penthouse and are conspicuous consumers, the one-percenters we frequently hear about. When both families decide to host an engagment party for the happy couple, it is a major culture-clash. Diane and her brother Floyd throw a Southern BBQ, complete with a pig roast, to welcome the new in-laws. At first Susan is shocked, but when Floyd, who fancies himself a ladies' man, turns on the charm and offers Susan a taste of honey-flavored moonshine, it is Diane who becomes concerned. (As does Floyd's current girlfriend). The favor is returned when Diane, Floyd, their mother and Diane's best friend head up to Chicago for the wedding, which is Susan's chance to go really over-the-top, over the objections of even her daughter. (Think Harry and Meghan's wedding.) A major snowstorm throws a monkey-wrench into Susan's plans, and adjustments must be made. I absolutely adored By Invitation Only. The juxtaposition of the uber-wealthy, luxury brand-name droppers (shout-out to Tiffany's, the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Beach, Karl Langerfeld, and Gulfstream G550 private jets) and the hardworking farming family at the mercy of the elements, made for such a fascinating, fun story. Reading about the delicious food at the BBQ (shrimp and grits, deviled eggs, corn muffins, biscuits, bluefish spread on toast points) as well as the preparations for the family Thanksgiving dinner, had my stomach growling. As with every wedding, things go wrong, and there are a couple of twists in the plot that have characters re-evaluating their lives. Benton Frank writes her characters so well that you feel like you could sit down next to them and have a juicy conversation over a glass of sweet tea. Her trademark humor shines here as well. By Invitation Only might be my favorite Dorothea Benton Frank book, and I just hope my son's upcoming nuptials go a little smoother than Fred and Shelby's. I highly recommend it for your summer beach read, and if you know any upcoming MOBs (Mother-of-the-Brides) or MOGs (Mother-of-the-Grooms), this would make a lovely gift. (And the cover is gorgeous too.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read you cant go wrong with ms franks books
AHHP More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The last couple of her’s weren’t as good as the earlier ones but I think she’s back on track.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Not having read this author before, I was intrigued by the “culture shock’ promised in this book: coming from the urban north to the quiet farm life on a Lowcountry farm. Fred is a South Carolina native, living and working in the family farm where his family has been for years. Shelby is from Chicago, daughter of well-to-do parents and far removed from the ‘get dirty and work the land” as is possible. Meeting in college, Shelby and Fred were inseparable and decided to marry – and then the conflicts started. Fred’s mother Diane lives in her childhood home on the farm, as far removed from the pampered social-centric life as Shelby’s mother Susan lives as possible. Wanting to be involved and celebrate her son’s upcoming wedding, Diane is planning a friends and family heavy engagement party, complete with a pig roast and lots of laughter: relaxed and low-key, she’s opened the invitation to Shelby’s mother and step-father. Susan and Alejandro arrive via private jet to the country, and it’s fair to say that Susan and Diane have little in common beyond their children. Susan carried herself with a chip of removed superiority at the party, unimpressed and barely warming up to anyone by Fred’s uncle Floyd. Not long after, a larger more opulent party in Chicago, also to celebrate the engagement, is in the works – with Susan arranging the event. Niether Fred nor Shelby want something so over the top and formal, and when Susan declined, the worlds collided again – Fred’s family utterly unprepared for the ‘celebrity level’ party and plans Susan has put forward. Constantly trying to rein in Susan’s plans for the wedding has both Fred and Shelby on edge – they want intimate and smaller – a celebration of their love, not an extravaganza. And then, Fred’s grandfather dies just before Thanksgiving, and the couple decided to move their wedding forward five months which also serves to cut out some of the more over the top elements her mother was planning. With a showdown over the wedding, the rehearsal dinner and the ongoing struggles after the death of Fred’s grandfather – the couple can’t wait to find some away time to regroup and reconnect after the wedding. Sure enough, the challenges don’t end with the wedding and former ‘in laws’ both have struggles to wade through, and sometimes that means the people you’d least expect to be in your corner from first impressions are the family that you come rely on as you heal and find a way to move forward. A lovely story of family and acceptance that is ripe with southern hospitality, honest emotion and plenty of obstacles that are overcome. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Cyndy G S More than 1 year ago
Combine Low-country magic, high society of Chicago, pig roasts and a wedding you have one wonderful book that just screams summertime to me. Nothing is better than slipping into one of Dot Frank’s books and not coming up for air until the end. I loved the sassy , gritty, strong and charming characters. Two families, one humble and homespun the other as high society as you can get. The mother of the bride Susan is so into appearances that she cannot bear the thought of the grooms mother Diane, having any say in the upcoming wedding. Susan thinks that her lifestyle is more important than Diane’s life on her family farm. Now Susan was a bit of a complex character for me, on the one hand I could not stand her high brow snotty demeanor but on the other hand I sensed something more underneath, a bit of spunk and grit to her character. Diane was just an honest to goodness low-country girl that I have come to love from this authors books. Everyone is shocked when the unthinkable happens in Susan’s family, this is when we learn exactly what Susan is made of. I just loved this book, it is a sweet story, sometimes sad but always full of southern charm and drama. People bond together that you never thought would in this book and did I mention Diane’s mother and her sassy wit? Now here was a woman that I loved right away. The peach farm was a nice change from the usual beach settings of this authors books. I was sad to see this book end, that is my only criticism.