By Invitation Only

A Novel
Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,135 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 hardworking Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds - of limousines and pickup trucks, caviar 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 lives 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.

©2018 Dorothea Benton Frank (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about By Invitation Only

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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I want 6 hours of my life back!!

The worst audible book ever. Could have been shortened by 1/2 with the elimination of “he said” “she said”. Come on. Story was so trivial and trite. Had No idea where the story was going

59 people found this helpful

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Predictable

Predictable with characters I didn't care about or what happened to them. It was a struggle to finish but I kept thinking it would get better. I truly don't get why everyone was raving about this. The narrator wasn't awful (nerve grating) but wasn't stellar by any means. It was difficult to tell which main character was speaking as they sounded similar at times. Don't waste a credit. I won't be keeping this one.

43 people found this helpful

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Just ok

I wanted to love this book, but so much of the writing and dialogue seemed so random. It had no connection to anything in the book or going forward. I found myself not listening to many of the conversations knowing it was just “filler” with no point. Also, the characters weren’t consistent. Especially Shelby’s family. In some chapters they were raging snobs, then the next chapter they were accepting and kind, then it would swing the other way in the next chapter. I finished the book, but it was not a favorite.

28 people found this helpful

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like a drawn out soap opera

this is not the first book I've read, or even looked into by this author. her first books on absolutely loved. This one and the one before it she seems have Los something. I am from South Carolina, and I know you do not grow peaches in Charleston the soil is too Sandy. if I had to hear one more Diane said, Kathy said, floyd said I think I would go crazy. Did not make it all the way through this book, but getting to the middle was a chore

23 people found this helpful

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Way too predictable and simple

Could not get past the first few chapters. Takes an already simple storyline and overdoes it. Every character is like an exaggerated caricature. Every scene is overly predictable. No depth in story or character. Insults Chicagoans, insults southerners, insults the rich, insults farmers.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Low country at It's best!!

I love anything Dorthea Benton Frank writes. This is no exception. Wonderful low country story of family, the northern snobs and the low country farmers. If you have ever gone to a pig pickin' the first couple of chapters are hilarious! You will laugh out loud more than once. please do enjoy!!

Vicky J.

12 people found this helpful

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love the story line

only thing I didn't like was the amount of times I heard the word said.

11 people found this helpful

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Does this get any better?

Dorothea Benton Frank, what's happened to your books? I've read all your books and they're steadily going downhill from delightful to downright boring and tedious. I'm on Chapter 17 of By Invitation Only and I'm going to quit. Hopefully I can get my $14.99 back from Audible. Life's too short to read/listen to boring books.

8 people found this helpful

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Good Vacation Read!

This is one of those feel good stories that makes a great vacation read!i in the beginning you just knew that the opposites were attracted to each other but is what makes this a good story. Narrator makes the story come to life.

8 people found this helpful

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Feel-good story

This was the cheesiest book I've read/heard in a long time. But I really needed a break, so I enjoyed the listen. You can tell the author is from the low country because she seemed very comfortable describing that life. And it really does seem amazing. Describing the Chicago life and its people seemed forced, but that's ok, we could get the point. Nevertheless it was a cute feel-good story.

21 people found this helpful