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The Girls of August

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Overview

Now in paperback, Anne Rivers Siddons's New York Times bestselling novel about four friends whose lives are forever changed by the events of one summer.

Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began in their twenties when their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. The only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire was to strengthen far-flung...

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The Girls of August

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Overview

Now in paperback, Anne Rivers Siddons's New York Times bestselling novel about four friends whose lives are forever changed by the events of one summer.

Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began in their twenties when their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. The only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire was to strengthen far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the women dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that change them in ways they never expected.

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Editorial Reviews

Charlotte Observer
"The lyrical beauty of Siddons's writing shines...an elegant portrait of love, loss, longing; memories and mystery line the path to self-discovery in OFF SEASON....Siddons's fans will savor the story long after the last page has turned."
Stephen King (on Off Season)
Bravura writing...This is Siddons's best, maybe the book she was born to write."
Pat Conroy
"Anne Rivers Siddons's body of work is one of the most impressive in contemporary fiction. And, in her beautifully crafted and dazzling new novel OFF SEASON, Ms. Siddons delivers the goods more powerfully than ever. All her books are terrific, but this one is the best yet."
The Associated Press (on BURNT MOUNTAIN)
"Siddons masterfully portrays growing up in a small town outside Atlanta...Even as they age, Siddons' characters focus on their sensations and needs and aspirations, but that single-mindedness coaxes readers to side with her central character. Anyone who appreciates the instant gratification of romance novels - 'Burnt Mountain' seems designed for a few days of beach reading - will be quickly taken in by the quiet and beautiful tomboy...When Thayer Wentworth figures out young that life's nastiest snarls may not all be loosened and smoothed and retied in neat bows, we fret with her. And when everything inevitably does start to work out, we are as relieved as she is."
Booklist (on BURNT MOUNTAIN)
"Siddons mixes in a touch of the supernatural to bring the novel to an exciting climax, but what's most appealing here is the layered family drama and the lush world Thayer inhabits...A master storyteller with a remarkable track record, bestselling Siddons returns to her signature Southern setting in her newest blend of emotional realism and a sliver of magic."
Chicago Tribune
"One doesn't read Anne Rivers Siddons's books, one dwells in them."
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-05
Three old friends and one newbie try to revive a vacation tradition, with mixed results.The self-styled Girls of August are an intrepid band of doctors’ wives who have gotten together for annual summer sprees ever since Cornelia—the rich, blonde consort of party-animal physician Teddy—invited them to share her beach retreat. None of the other “girls”—Rachel, Barbara and narrator Maddy—actually liked Cornelia, but no matter; Teddy soon replaced her with the more copacetic Melinda. For the past three years, ever since Melinda’s tragic accidental death—Teddy was drunk at the wheel—the girls have stayed home, but then this summer, Baby, Teddy’s 20-something third wife, entices them to familiar Siddons territory, the South Carolina barrier islands. Baby’s opulent home is located on the deserted and fictional Tiger Island, virtually unpopulated except for a resident enclave of Gullah people. Gloriously incommunicado (the only cellphone having met its demise), the women drink, cook delicious meals and swim. But problems soon surface: Maddy suffers from intermittent nausea, Rachel almost drowns, and Barbara seems to be sliding into serious alcoholism. Baby is the source of much humor and rue among the 40-ish women: Not only is she blonde and independently wealthy like her predecessor, Cornelia, she enjoys flaunting her nubile figure by skinny-dipping. Perhaps to escape all the perimenopausal sarcasm, Baby disappears for long stretches. Is she having an affair with handsome Gullah fisherman Earl or merely plotting revenge? Someone removes the screen from Barbara’s window, letting in stinging bugs, and Maddy’s bed collapses one night. Has it all devolved into the middle-aged Southern version of summer camp farce? Nothing unpredictable or challenging can survive the many clichés—the wise and vaguely mystical Gullahs, the stereotypically airheaded trophy wife and the other characters who somehow lack the mettle of Steel Magnolias but who might qualify as copper or tin.A slight bagatelle in which even the weightiest topics are sloughed off like suntan lotion in a tropical rainstorm.
From the Publisher
"One doesn't read Anne Rivers Siddons's books, one dwells in them."—Chicago Tribune

Bravura writing...This is Siddons's best, maybe the book she was born to write."—Stephen King (on Off Season)

"Anne Rivers Siddons's body of work is one of the most impressive in contemporary fiction. And, in her beautifully crafted and dazzling new novel OFF SEASON, Ms. Siddons delivers the goods more powerfully than ever. All her books are terrific, but this one is the best yet."—Pat Conroy

"The lyrical beauty of Siddons's writing shines...an elegant portrait of love, loss, longing; memories and mystery line the path to self-discovery in OFF SEASON....Siddons's fans will savor the story long after the last page has turned."—Charlotte Observer

"Siddons masterfully portrays growing up in a small town outside Atlanta...Even as they age, Siddons' characters focus on their sensations and needs and aspirations, but that single-mindedness coaxes readers to side with her central character. Anyone who appreciates the instant gratification of romance novels - 'Burnt Mountain' seems designed for a few days of beach reading - will be quickly taken in by the quiet and beautiful tomboy...When Thayer Wentworth figures out young that life's nastiest snarls may not all be loosened and smoothed and retied in neat bows, we fret with her. And when everything inevitably does start to work out, we are as relieved as she is."—The Associated Press (on BURNT MOUNTAIN)

"Siddons mixes in a touch of the supernatural to bring the novel to an exciting climax, but what's most appealing here is the layered family drama and the lush world Thayer inhabits...A master storyteller with a remarkable track record, bestselling Siddons returns to her signature Southern setting in her newest blend of emotional realism and a sliver of magic."—Booklist (on BURNT MOUNTAIN)

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Each summer four women gather for their ritual week of relaxation at a beach house, every year choosing a new location. All are wives of medical students when they begin vacationing together. The annual trip is suspended when one of the friends dies in a tragic accident. Stunned, the group slowly drifts apart, allowing time and their differences to create a rift. When plucky "Baby," who is half the age of the other ladies, marries into the crew, she attempts to reestablish the August ritual. A remote beach house on a barrier island off South Carolina's coast brings adventures of all sorts, and fresh emotions surface. The friends must come to terms with their differences and find a sense of unity in the midst of health issues, marital conflict, and infertility. VERDICT Southern fiction fans who love a solid beach read will find much to enjoy in Siddons's latest, which mixes a fun vacation tale with well-drawn characters and emotional depth. [See Prepub Alert, 1/26/14.]—Julia M. Reffner, Fairport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446527958
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 16,646
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Rivers Siddons
THE GIRLS OF AUGUST is Anne Rivers Siddons's 19th novel. Her previous bestselling novels include Burnt Mountain, Off Season, 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
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(23)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2014

    This is a novel about women. How women interact and react. This

    This is a novel about women. How women interact and react. This is a novel about loss, about family and about friends.

    I enjoyed many parts of this story. The characters are very strong and suit each other well. The strong feelings each one experience due to issues in their lives really keep you enthralled.

    I love the setting of the remote island and the Gullah people. I wish the author had offered more details about the island. I would’ve loved to hear more about the wildlife and the surroundings.

    This is a very enjoyable read.

    I received this novel for an honest review from Netgalley

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 8, 2014

    It was more like a charming short story. Characters were were tr

    It was more like a charming short story. Characters were were trite and not developed. Not up to her usual standards.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Actually, I want my money back! This was formula, trite, and fel

    Actually, I want my money back! This was formula, trite, and felt like little or no effort was put into it. Seriously, what do I do to get a refund. 

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Very disappointed

    Don't waste your money.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 12, 2014

    I was excited about this new book, but after the first chapter,

    I was excited about this new book, but after the first chapter, I thought this was a joke! I wonder if Anne Rivers Siddons is ill, and perhaps had someone else ghostwrite this? The writing is poor, the story is formulaic, and the characters have about as much dimension as a piece of cardboard!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 11, 2014

    This book reads more like a bad short story; superficial stereot

    This book reads more like a bad short story; superficial stereotypical characters, very weak plot and no resolution at the end. I have read all of Ms. Siddon's previous books and loved them. No love for this one. I feel cheated having paid for this.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    What a disappointment!! Do not waste your money on this . I give

    What a disappointment!! Do not waste your money on this . I give it 0 stars

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Too short

    Liked the book, but wanted to read more. It was like the author wanted to end the story so stopped writing. The characters needed more development & the story ended too soon. Is part 2 coming next? It coukd be The Girls of September.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    Not up to her usual wonderful writing.  Predictable plot. Very d

    Not up to her usual wonderful writing.  Predictable plot. Very disappointed 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Greatly disappointing! Longtime Siddons fan- read all her work,

    Greatly disappointing! Longtime Siddons fan- read all her work, and greatly anticipated for years her next new publication, and this was sadly
    disappointing. 160 pgs not worthy of a short story. Sad

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 27, 2014

    Anonymous

    I should have known this was going to be a stinker when they pushed the publication date back. A true waste of time and money ....and Iam a fan. Releasing this was a disservice to her readers. No stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Incomplete

    This was just a long story. The story lines were not finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book was really good. I don't know what else to say except

    This book was really good. I don't know what else to say except to read it. It was very entertaining. Great Read.

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

    Posted October 6, 2014

    Dont spend money on this

    I LOVE her books but this one was a huge disappointment !! It was a year late and was just a complete mess. i wonder if they just fluffed up the outline and published it . There was really no point to it . I'm going to check on a refund, but not holding my breath.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    Disappointing

    It has been several years since I have read a book by Anne Rivers Siddons. When I first discovered her, I went to the library and read everything she had written and loved them all. Then I forgot about her and came across this book and realized she had written several more since the last time I had read any of her books. I looked forward to reading this book. Either I have changed in my reading taste or her writing has changed. I didn't like the way it was written, (whatever that means) or the way the characters came across. I just could not get connected to any of them. I could not feel anything for them or about them. I thought about stopping to read the book but I kept hoping it would get better but it didn't. I was hoping I would have a whole bunch more of her books to read but I don't think I will waste my time there are just too many good authors out there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    Actually I like Anne's books.  I am highly disgusted with her us

    Actually I like Anne's books.  I am highly disgusted with her use of taking God's name in vain in the novel, The Girls of August.  It was not needed.  At least I didn't see the F word.  But I fail to see why GD this and GD that has got to be included in books and movies and on TV.  Evil has a hold on everyone.  I just don't know why  author use this language.  Do they think it will sell more books.  Damming God will get you no where in the end.  I'm sick of it all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2014

    Sabrina to Rocky

    Meet me at res five

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2014

    Carrie

    Read what I said at me

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

    Posted September 4, 2014

    Julia

    Hey

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

    Posted September 4, 2014

    To hulia

    Wanna fu..ck

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews

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