The Last Original Wife : Leslie "Les" Carter has been married to her husband Wesley (yes, "Wes") for thirty years and they have two grown children. Wes is successful and Les has dutifully supported her husband through the years by keeping a beautiful home, preparing lovely meals and raising their children - all on a meager allowance provided by Wes. Now that Wes's two best friends have married much younger second wives, Les is the last original wife and feeling underappreaciated and somewhat dispensable. Those feelings are confirmed when she falls down a manhole while walking in Edinburgh with her husband and he gets all the way back to hotel before realizing she is missing. Les is at her breaking point.
Les is fuming after the incident in Edinburgh - which was only worsened by awakening in a Scottish hospital with the two girl wives leaning over her - Wes and his friends went on to play at St. Andrews once they knew that Les's injuries were not life-threatening. To add insult to her literal injuries, Les discovers that while she has been carefully living on a budget and doing without many of the luxuries the wife of a man as successful as Wes should be afforded, Wes has been sitting on a large sum of money which he has diligently been adding to with his miserly habits. Les is at a crossroads in her marriage and she flees to Charleston to spend time with her brother, Harlan.
With some distance from Wes, Les is able to consider what she really wants for heself. She reconnects with her brother, Harlan, who Wes has always shunned and revels in the charm of her hometown, Charleston while she lives at Harlan's house. When a childhood sweetheart starts to show Les how a man should treat a woman, Les realizes she has some tough choices to make and that "Les and Wes" may not make it for the long haul.
I loved this book! Les (not unlike Caroline in Lowcountry Summer) has a spirited, snarky humor and delivers great lines. It is interesting - I think many authors would write Les as a victim, a weak woman who let a man run her life. But Les most certainly has a backbone and a fighitng spirit which you see from the beginning and it just flourishes as the book continues. I definitely sensed that Les always had a lot to offer but that Wes had dampened her spirit over the years and you see her come back slowly but surely as she takes care of herself instead of catering to everyone else. Wes is also not a one dimensional character- as infuriating as he could be with his cheap habits and his lack of appreciation for Les, he also saw right through the "girl wives". When one came to him complaining about her husband, his friend, he shook his head in dismay recognizing how naive these girls were and how his friends had their hands full keeping up with their antics. It doesn't excuse some of his treatment of Les but it does humanize him and ensure he is not a mere caricature.
You will find yourself rooting for Les and laughing right along beside her as she navigates a possible exit from her marriage and a new life for herself!
You can read other reviews of this book (and some of her backlist) from those on the tour.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book as part of the tour.