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By Invitation Only

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,230 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
In this thoughtful, timely, humorous, and bighearted tale, perennial New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank examines what happens when a young sophisticated Chicagoan falls for the owner of a farm on Johns Island, a lush Lowcountry paradise off the coast of South Carolina-trading the bustle of a cosmopolitan city for the vagaries of a small southern town.
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Published May 15th 2018 by HarperCollins
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Sherri Thacker
I was ready for a break from the psychological psychopath stories I’ve been reading lately and this one fit the bill! This is my 5th book by Dorothea Benton Frank and I was hoping to like this one more than I did. I know I’m in the minority on this one but I’m giving it 3 stars. It was good, not great in my eyes.
Nurse Lisa In Ohio (PRN Book Reviews)
Sugah? I don't think ANYBODY can write Low Country literature as well as Dorthea Benton Frank. I adore her novels as this was no exception.
Miss Dottie? please hurry with your next one, okay? oh & as a new grand mother as well, I UNDERSTAND! 😊💙
Jamie Rosenblit
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Really enjoyed this one! When two families from different worlds are thrust together planning a wedding for their children, things certainly do not go quite so seamless. From farm country south to socialite Chicago, Dorothea Benton Frank does not disappoint in By Invitation Only. Told from many different perspectives, the personalities in each chapter are all nailed with precision and have their own unique voices. The story unfolds in a way that will captivate you until the last page.

I received
Marcia Killingsworth
I want more Miss Virnell, please, Miss Dorothea

Dorothea Benton Frank, and other authors who set their stories in the Low Country, are my go-to stress relievers. Having just finished several books on the 2016 election, Miss Virnell and her family were the tonic I needed.
More Miss Virnell, PLEASE, Miss Dorothea!
Viola Shipman
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of meeting Dot Frank at the Texas Library Association annual meeting in Dallas in April, where we were both keynote speakers. I snatched up a copy of her latest quicker than I gobbled down my lunch (I was nervous!). I have looooong been a fan of Dot's, and she is an author whose work not only spoke to me but inspired me to become an author. Her ability to bring the LowCountry alive and make her setting a main character in her books is unparalleled. She has turned out to be as won ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really enjoyed this book!😍
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A few years ago, I spent one horrible, lonely year living in Austin, Texas. The only thing I had was books. And that summer I discovered DBF. I spent the entire summer reading her back catalog and that was the brightest spot in that year. For that, I will always be a fan of hers. Her earlier works are much more sturdy, well written and engaging. But, I always pre-order DBF because she's constant and always a good read.
This new book was a nice surprise and I read it quit
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wowza!! I am so hungry for peach cobbler right now.
This is a rich trapestry of a family in South Carolina who run a peach farm. The characters are so richly developed (except Alden?) that it feels they will be walking up my walk to share the day's farm market tallies. I thought about Susan as she had the trickiest character to feel empathy for in any book I've ever read. I know we had to clean away her past (no spoiler from me) but I saw bits that I had liked about Alejandro and I felt her culpi
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A story that follows two different women, from two different worlds. Diane English Stiftel grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and now her only son Fred is getting married to a girl out of Chicago. Susan Kennedy Cambria is a socialite who dabbles in a world of public relation, married to a wealthy and powerful broker, and believes she dese ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No surprise that this book was great, I don't think DBF could write a bad book. I love the whole wedding story told from so many view points and the heart-break of everyday life.
Now I have to wait for another whole year for a new book. I have a few that I haven't read and as much as I want to grab them up and read them...I mete them out and savor each one.
Kate Olson
Thank you to the publisher for this review copy!

I can always count on DBF for sweet and mostly innocent southern charm, and this newest title did not disappoint. Set in both South Carolina on a peach farm and in high society Chicago, we get to witness the joining of two VERY different families as they plan a wedding and navigate the challenges that this brings. BY INVITATION ONLY is a beach read in the sense of it being a light and fun story, but it's not actually set on a beach at all, which wa
Donna Hines
The story of two uniquely different families brought together through a union of nuptials but not quite a 'perfect blend'.
Diane English Stiftel and son Fred English Stiftel are from the poor side of Southern Carolina 'low country'.
Meanwhile, Susan Kennedy and daughter Shelby Cambria (Chicago's privileged daughter)are known as 'the elites'. A well to do Yankee family with a powerful broker father Alejandro Cambria.
All seems ready to go with the engagement party #1 in Chicago and for party #2 on t
Karen Ashmore
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A good beach read. I actually read this at our beach house in Isla Mujeres and I am glad that Dottie Frank is back to her good ole writing style. Her books always end a little too sweetly and neatly but she is a master at character development and thickening plots.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was delightful. I like that this took place in Chicago and near Charleston. I liked the parts in South Carolina the best; those were more humorous. The ending was what I was hoping for. I also liked the characters and the changes they made throughout the story.
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fiction
Dorothea Benton Frank has been publishing books since 1999 and I am happy to say that I've read every one of them. Her books are Southern Fiction at its best and are the first indication every year that summer is just around the corner. This book is a bit different for her because the South Carolina beach is not a 'character' in the book but it still has her signature style and is a fantastic read that will have you laughing out loud during parts of it.

Fred and Shelby both live in Chicago and a
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have felt for the last few years that Dorothea Benton Frank was writing a book a year whether she had a great idea in mind or not. I have felt that several of her more recent books were just not up to the high bar she established with Sullivan's Island. However, I have to say a hearty, “Welcome back!” with this, her latest book.
Ms Frank has made a departure in this book. Yes, it's still set in the Lowcountry, but not on the beach this time. It's set on a farm in Mount Pleasant and also in Chic
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 Lowcoun
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Sometimes Dottie Frank has me laughing so hard I fear I may have to change my panties, other times are a total miss. Luckily for me, this time was a winner. I had the good fortune to hear the author the week before the book was officially out, when she co-hosted and spoke at the spring Books and Authors luncheon, sponsored by the Post Courier. One of the authors had to bow out at the last minute, so Ms Frank filled in. As usual, she was warm, engaging, and downright hilarious. If you ever have t ...more
I don’t know about you but I’m a seasonal reader, during the Summer I usually want something light so when I saw By Invitation Only I thought this would be perfect for a Summer read, boy was I right! I really enjoyed this tale of Shelby and Fred who got engaged and now their families must come together to celebrate and as you can figure out nothing goes as planned.

When Fred’s Southern family invites Shelby’s Northern family for an engagement BBQ Shelby’s mom Susan is in for a culture shock sh
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this on Audible and just fell in love with these characters. I dated a guy in college ... without giving too much away to protect the innocent. LOL!! I can see how certain folks do in fact act like these characters ... well you feel it is right or wrong ... Oh My Goodness ...they sure are great for a book. I will look forward to more from Dorothea soon enough. Great listen (or read if you are reading) Loved it!! ( ;
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Saw a rave for this on some summer read list where I'm pretty sure it was billed as hilarious. Or at least funny. I didn't get the humor here and found the characters a touch pretentious (and not just the one who was supposed to be written that way.) The story was way too predictable. I thought the author sounded familiar and now on goodreads I see that I have read another of hers and only gave it two stars as well. Not the southern low country author for me!
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another 5 star story from the Low Country of The Carolina. An all new family with a large farm are getting ready for a wedding. Diana,her brother Floyd, and her mom and dad are ready to welcome Fred’s fiancé Shelby from Chicago into the family. Shelby’s mother Susan and father Alejandro are high society and there is doubt on both sides about this marriage. During all this there is a death, a fraud arrest a divorce and a terrible storm that devastates the farm. No matter what love abounds and thi ...more
Jeanne Boudreau
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is very much a typical beach read. It has all the elements but it’s just a little deeper, making it a step above. A couple from different social classes are to be married. Their families clash. Tragedy strikes both families. Love conquers all. It’s all there but it doesn’t feel shallow.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DBF Hits a Home Run

When it's all said and done family is what really matters, and DBF tells a charming story that makes this extremely clear. I loved it. Perfect for summer reading, but it should be read and taken to heart by all. Thanks so much Dorthea.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you love South Carolina, this book is for you. A colorful cast of characters, a contrast between the Lowcountry and Chicago condos on Lake Shore Drive and two families sorting things out. Just a fun, easy read-perfect for the summer!
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5-5 stars. You have to like DBF's style of writing and her Lowcountry setting to enjoy her books, and I absolutely do! Always look forward to her new releases.
Cynthia Van Camp
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book !! So many twists and turns it makes the head spin. Great story line and highly recommend it , feel good. Makes you think your have have a lot if you just have family.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charming, as her books usually are. A country store and a peach orchard had the makings for a lovely family story. Thanks, Dottie! Say hi to my sister when you see her in Aiken!!
Laura Lee
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I dont usually read modern day fiction and never low country. This is my first. Enjoyed very much. Got 2 more of her books. Easy comfortable read.
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the laughs and southern charm we have come to expect from Dottie Frank is all here!
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Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times best selling author of ten novels.

Dottie has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Parker Ladd's Book Talk and many local network affiliated television stations. She is a frequent speaker on creative writing and the creative process for students of all ages and in private venues as the National Arts Club, the Junior League of New York, Friends of the Library org
More about Dorothea Benton Frank