Off Season

( 102 )

Overview

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to ...

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Off Season

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Overview

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety-- to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Siddons's stirring novel, the recently widowed Lily Constable returns to her childhood summer home in Maine to sift through formative memories of her parents and her first love. It's difficult to imagine a more marvelous performance than Jane Alexander's. Alexander captures the strength and vulnerability of Lily from childhood to late middle age, and perfectly renders the physical weight of Lily's grief at her losses. She skillfully navigates the novel's cast of characters, from the slow, deep and thoughtful drawl of Lily's father to the high-pitched, false charm of the vicious young neighbor whose poison darts put tragic events in motion. Alexander also brings to life the great unnamed character in the book-the natural world, giving voice to birds and even a talking cat, and intuitively understanding the life-giving power of the sea. This is an example of how a good novel can become magnificent when it is beautifully told. A Grand Central hardcover (reviewed online). (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Returning to her beloved Maine home to scatter her husband's ashes, Lilly reconstructs her past and makes peace with her future. Fourtime OscarA Award nominee Jane Alexander uses her acting chops to keep New York Times bestselling author Siddons's (Sweetwater Creek) sweetly sentimental story from toppling into sappiness. She imbues Lilly's childhood voice with selfabsorbed innocence, gradually morphing it into that of an adult. When Lilly's husband arrives, her father's importance dwindles-a good thing, since their voices were indistinguishable. While this isn't Siddons's best, her descriptions will have listeners hearing the birds and smelling the ocean. Public libraries should purchase. [Also available from Books on Tape. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11A½ hrs. ISBN 9781415958858
—Jodi L. Israel

Kirkus Reviews
A widow returns to her family cottage in Maine, her late husband's ashes and ornery cat in tow, and ponders her first experience of love and loss. Siddons frames the story around the sudden death of Cam McCall, Virginia architect, while at his wife Lilly's Maine seashore cottage, Edgewater. Though portrayed as eminently trustworthy, Cam has, unbeknownst to Lilly, visited the unheated cottage many times during the "Off Season" while supposedly traveling elsewhere on business. After wrangling about the disposition of Cam's cremains with her spoiled yuppie daughters, Lilly heads north with Silas, Cam's cranky, subliminally conversational cat, and the urn. In her cottage, Lilly revisits the pivotal summer of 1962, when, a wiry 11-year-old tomboy, she led a gang of other kids on a spate of mostly wholesome outdoor activities, occasionally ruffling feathers in this WASP-ruled vacation enclave. Lilly's preadolescence is thorny. She's overshadowed by her charismatic painter mother, who yearns to enter Jackie Kennedy's social circle, and her father, a professor at George Washington University, is too supportive to rebel against. On a lonely ramble to a nearby cliff, Lilly encounters a boy named Jon and is immediately smitten. The two are inseparable until a prissy, meddlesome neighbor child, Peaches, exposes the fact that Jon's father is Jewish, a secret his father had kept from him and his mother. Shocked by the deception, Jon sails into a fog in Lilly's sailboat, and drowns. Lilly retreats into a cocoon of denial and becomes obsessed with underwater swimming. Her isolation is exacerbated when her mother dies of breast cancer and her father keeps her cloistered in benevolent but stiflingdomesticity as the turbulent '60s unfold. In contrast to Siddons's usual heroine, who struggles to achieve self-sufficiency, Lilly is overcome by passivity, which deepens as she's repeatedly blindsided by loss. The inadequately foreshadowed surprise ending involves an ultimate betrayal that will dismay readers almost as much as it does Lilly. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/William Morris Agency
From the Publisher
"Mix the lyricism of Siddons's prose; the intense, yet restrained voice of Oscar-winning actress Jane Alexander; and the mysteries of the untamed Maine coastline -and you have the makings of a magical voyage...."—AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600241703
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 9 CDs
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Rivers Siddons

OFF SEASON is Anne Rivers Siddons's 17th novel. Her previous bestselling novels include Sweetwater Creek, Islands, Nora Nora, Low Country, Up Island, Fault Lines, Downtown, Hill Towns, Colony, Outer Banks, King's Oak, Peachtree Road, Homeplace, Fox's Earth, The House Next Door, and Heartbreak Hotel. She is also the author of a work of nonfiction, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry. She and her husband, Heyward, split their time between their home in Charleston, SC and Brooklin, ME. For more information, visit www.anneriverssiddons.net.


Biography

Born in 1936 in a small town near Atlanta, Anne Rivers Siddons was raised to be a dutiful daughter of the South -- popular, well-mannered, studious, and observant of all the cultural mores of time and place. She attended Alabama's Auburn University in the mid-1950s, just as the Civil Rights Movement was gathering steam. Siddons worked on the staff of Auburn's student newspaper and wrote an editorial in favor of integration. When the administration asked her to pull the piece, she refused. The column ran with an official disclaimer from the university, attracting national attention and giving young Siddons her first taste of the power of the written word.

After a brief stint in the advertising department of a bank, Siddons took a position with the up and coming regional magazine Atlanta, where she worked her way up to senior editor. Impressed by her writing ability, an editor at Doubleday offered her a two-book contract. She debuted in 1975 with a collection of nonfiction essays; the following year, she published Heartbreak Hotel, a semi-autobiographical novel about a privileged Southern coed who comes of age during the summer of 1956.

With the notable exception of 1978's The House Next Door, a chilling contemporary gothic compared by Stephen King to Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, Siddons has produced a string of well-written, imaginative, and emotionally resonant stories of love and loss -- all firmly rooted in the culture of the modern South. Her books are consistent bestsellers, with 1988's Peachtree Road (1988) arguably her biggest commercial success. Described by her friend and peer, Pat Conroy, as "the Southern novel for our generation," the book sheds illuminating light on the changing landscape of mid-20th-century Atlanta society.

Although her status as a "regional" writer accounts partially for Siddons' appeal, ultimately fans love her books because they portray with compassion and truth the real lives of women who transcend the difficulties of love and marriage, family, friendship, and growing up.

Good To Know

Although she is often compared with another Atlanta author, Margaret Mitchel, Siddons insists that the South she writes about is not the romanticized version found in Gone With the Wind. Instead, her relationship with the region is loving, but realistic. "It's like an old marriage or a long marriage. The commitment is absolute, but the romance has long since worn off...I want to write about it as it really is: I don't want to romanticize it."

Siddons' debut novel Heartberak Hotel was turned into the 1989 movie Heart of Dixie, starry Ally Sheedy, Virginia Madsen, and Phoebe Cates.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sybil Anne Rivers Siddons (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Charleston, South Carolina and a summer home in Maine overlooking Penobscot Bay
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 9, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Auburn University, 1958; Atlanta School of Art, 1958

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 102 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 102 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Outstanding work Ms. Siddons! Loved it...

    I am a huge ARS fan. The first ARS book that I read of hers was 'Colony' and I loved it. Sine then, I have read almost all of her books. 'Off Season' is very reminiscent of 'Colony' with a big twist and a surprise ending, dare I say, a la J. Picoult, that has apparently stunned her readers based on many reviews that I have read. However, instead of being disappointed with this ending, I relished it 'but only after reading those last few pages about 2 or 3 times...'! I enjoyed the complex writing at the end. Why do books have to tie-up so nice & neat in the final pages in black and white for so many readers? I find nice & neat endings predictable and boring. If you have read ARS's 1978 classic, 'The House Next Door' then you would know that this type of story ending is not uncommon for ARS. 'If you have not read THND, then read it soon!' THND book & ending left me thinking about it and talking about it for days with other ARS readers. I am happy to say that 'Off Season' has left me in the same frame of mind! I love an ending that stays in my mind for days and leaves me wanting to discuss with so many others who have read it. Thank you Ms. Siddons!

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Off Season

    I really enjoyed this book. I have lived long enough to experience the loss of a loved one. People that we love dearly can disappoint us too. And there are mysteries following death that have no explanation. I loved the ending too! Meoow!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Ugh.

    I have tried to read this book for weeks, picking it up time after time, slogging through chapters, waiting to be grabbed. It's not happening. It's slow and the storyline is not well represented in the synopsis. I'm only halfway through and may not make it the rest of the way. Save yourself the frustration. Choose a different title.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lyrical and Compelling

    OFF SEASON
    Anne Rivers Siddons
    Grand Central Publishing
    $13.99
    358 pages
    ISBN: 978-0-446-52787-3
    Reviewer: Annie Slessman

    I have been a regular reader of Anne Rivers Siddons works. Her writing is somewhat "lyrical" or what my writer teacher would deem as descriptive writing. OFF SEASON, her latest works, is no exception.

    The story begins as Lilly loses her beloved husband, Cam. They had been partners in the truest sense and were thought of as a happy couple by those who knew them best. When Lilly loses Cam suddenly she travels back to the place she had spent her best childhood years and the place where she and Cam had fell in love - the Coast of Maine.

    When Lilly arrives at their beach cottage in Maine she spends her days reliving her childhood years, the love she once lost as a child and discovers secrets about Cam she never wanted to know.

    The story is one that will keep you reading, so don't expect to get anything accomplished while reading this work. It is a compelling tale of a woman's lost love and her attempt to deal with the ghosts that surround her.

    The ending is a surprising one and no, I didn't see it coming. I thought I knew all the tricks of the trade and should have been able to figure out the ending of this tale. This was not to be. If you buy one summer book, make it OFF SEASON.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    I am only about 1/3 of the way through this book and moderately

    I am only about 1/3 of the way through this book and moderately enjoying it. However, I have come to the part where she expresses her political leanings by gratuitously tossing her political opinions into the story; i.e., the vile old man and the unlikeable father of the boy are Republicans. The rest of the really nice people are Democrats. I have absolutely no interest in her political opinions and they have absolutely nothing to do with the story line. She has done this time and again in various books and it has annoyed me to the point of coloring my enjoyment of her book, so I just won't purchase them anymore.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    Not A Choice For A New Siddons Reader

    I've read every one of Anne Rivers Siddons' novels so this one disappointed me. It might be a good choice for a book club discussion.
    I'd be interested in hearing how others felt about it. I wonder if any men ever read Siddons. I'd like a male viewpoint on Lily's Dad and Cam.
    As a woman, I've sized up Peaches and Kitty. Lily is a real case study!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Loved the book

    Anne Siddons is one of my favorite authors. I really enjoyed the book. Was caught off guard by the ending. It's well worth the time to read and enjoy. I'll be re-reading in the near future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    Surprise ending but overall classic Siddons

    While I agree with the other reviewers that the ending is a surprise and I found quite confusing as well as atypical of Anne Rivers Siddons - it seemed to lack the detail and emotional backstop that her story lines usually have - I nonetheless enjoyed it immensely. Several points of contention with one reviewer, however - nowhere did I get the impression that the main character Lilly hated her father, quite the opposite to the extent that she felt both protective of him and protected by him, and I feel it's quite a stretch to say that Peaches coveted specifically a father who taught at GW, etc. - it would give away some juicy details to mention why, but I simply can't agreet with that assessment. Aside from that,Siddons' way of describing people and places continues to enthrall me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    rushed ending

    I have long been a fan of the author's books and loved most of them. This book was a great read and engaging story right up until the end. The ending felt rushed and contrived, almost as though the author didn't know how to tie it all together and needed to get pages back to her editor. I was very dissappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2014

    This book that I happened upon by chance at a used book store, l

    This book that I happened upon by chance at a used book store, led me on a journey with this brilliant author that I will hold in my heart forever.  Add me to the list of ARS fans.  I read all of her books last year and loved them all!  I have preordered her last book and can hardly wait for it to come out in July!  I cherish these books, and they hold a spot in my bookshelf which I will reread again taking my time as the first time through I sailed through them too fast as I was consumed by the stories.  Beautifully written all of them!  This woman can write about everything and everything!  She amazes me.  Love you Anne!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Anonymous

    Loved the struck-in-the-heart ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    A bit toda o A bit to dark

    Didn't enjoy what felt like an abrupt ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    I love Siddons' work and have read 10 of her books. This was not

    I love Siddons' work and have read 10 of her books. This was not my favorite. Her descriptions are lavish and lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Lilly, her summers in Maine, her beloved dog, seeing the ripples of water, smelling the pine, hearing the call of the ospreys.  I was there with her through that wonderful summer and then into the darkness that descended on her life. But as Lilly got older it seemed that Siddons wanted to get on with it and suddenly she was 18, suddenly married and bango now two grown children who never got fleshed out so I could care about them at all. Suddenly Lilly was getting loopy and talking to things and getting answers and at the end a reappearance? A ghost? A dream? A reincarnation? The end?  I felt a little betrayed by this story. A little set up as if a friend set a trap and let me fall in with no warning to prepare me. 

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    I did not enjoy this book. I found it sad and depressing.

    I did not enjoy this book. I found it sad and depressing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    A terrible ending!

    What happened? I was reading along and all of the sudden it was over! Not Ms. Siddons normal style. Don't think I'll buy her's again. Does anyone know what happened in the end? Do we assume that the main character dies??!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    -_-

    Boring

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommend

    Anne Rivers Siddons has created another good ¿colony¿ tale in OFF SEASON. Still reeling from her husband¿s death, 58 year-old Lily Constable McCall escapes to her family summer home in Edgewater, Maine. Here, Lily is truly happy. A malevolent spirit has kept her safe since the summer of 1962, when her world began to spin out her control. She gained her 1st love and lost Jon there. Her free-spirited mother found her voice as an upcoming painter and activist there. Her father buried himself in College Academia there. And she married Cam there. Here in Edgewater, Cam¿s ashes will be spread ¿ he loved the house as much as she did. He died here too. We learn of Lily¿s 11th summer as she remembers. She talks to Silas, Cam¿s grumpy cat and to the kind spirit that is close to her. We learn of Peaches Davenport¿s treachery that summer amid Lily¿s first love and outings on the island. Then we see her troubled relationship with her parents and her somewhat unconventional courtship with Cam McCall who has suffered loss early in his own childhood, before their two daughters come for Cam¿s ceremony. But the ending of OFF SEASON is jarring and unexpected. I have to ask why Siddons ended Lily story in that manner. Strong characters and story does NOT make up for that ending. I took 1 star off of a beautifully written novel because of that ending.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Loved it - you must check it out!

    Off Season is a nostalgic look at childhood, young love, and how it influences the adult one becomes. Lilly has returned in the off season to the island cabin her parents took her every summer as a child. Her husband has passed away and she has sought refuge in the place that holds so many memories for her. It kept me riveted through each chapter and has a surprise ending. You must check it out!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Not her best

    Not one of my favorite reads from this author. I found it to be a little slow and I wanted it to end long before I got to the last page. Too bad as I usually love Anne.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    Off Season

    Hard to get into. But once you do it is a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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