Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are ...
Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls 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 decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.
"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."
"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."
"One doesn't read Anne Rivers Siddons's books, one dwells in them."
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.
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 Hotelwas turned into the 1989 movie Heart of Dixie, starry Ally Sheedy, Virginia Madsen, and Phoebe Cates.