Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: Islands by Anne Rivers Siddons

Title: Islands
# pages: 374
Date published: 2004
Genre: women's fiction


First sentence:
Even in the middle of it, I knew that it was a dream, but that did not spoil the sweet reality of it.
What is it all about? Islands is about a group of longtime friends nicknamed the "Scrubs" because they all have connections to the medical community. Several members of the group grew up together in and around Charleston, South Carolina, and, as they got older and married, their spouses became part of the group, too. For many years, the Scrubs spend most of their spare time at a communal beach house where they vow to spend their older years living and taking care of one another. But when tragedy strikes, they must revise their plan. 
Random thoughts:
For the most part, I enjoyed reading Islands. The language was beautiful and conjured up some great childhood memories for me. But I really didn't care for the ending of the book. There was a very nice twist near the end. I thought that part was fantastic. But then Siddons continued with the story and what she ended up with seemed too easy, too all-wrapped-up-in-a-neat-little-bow, for me. Don't get me wrong, I love a good happily-ever-after ending as much as the next girl. My favorite genre is romance, for Pete's sake! But, in this case, it just seemed too tacked-on-to-the-end for me. I think if Siddons's had left well enough alone after "big surprise ending" I would have rated the book a lot higher. Still, overall, it was a good read.

Favorite quotes:
Anne Rivers Siddons evokes the American South like few other writers I've read. Her descriptions of nature in the southern states remind me of the sights, sounds, and smells of my childhood. I grew up on the coast of North Carolina. It's not all that different from coastal South Carolina described here:
The tide was full in, and the sun stood directly overhead, so the whole beach and sea were a sheet of blinding glitter. the light swallowed the world; it was as if I had been stricken sightless by light. It even sucked in sound. I could see groups of people down the beach, under umbrellas, and children whooping and splashing in the surf, and gulls wheeling overhead. But I could not her them, nor the soft hush of the surf as it ran far up the beach to lose itself in a smear of glass, edged with foam. I could smell, though: the primal, amniotic smell of the sea; the scent of hot sun on the sea grass, somehow like hay; even the ghost of someone's coconut sunscreen. And something else: under it all, the sick-sweet, acrid smell of the pluff mud from the marshes along the inland waterway, Charleston's official smell. (p. 60)
Fun tidbits:
About the Author: Anne Rivers Siddons is the author of more than a dozen bestselling novels, including Sweetwater CreekIslands;Nora, NoraHill TownsColonyOuter Banks; and Fox's Earth. She is also the author of a work of nonfiction, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry. Many of her books take place in and around Atlanta, Georgia, or explore characters from the south that are living elsewhere. Siddons and her husband, Heyward, spend their time in Charleston, South Carolina, and Brooklin, Maine.
Recommended for: Fans of Maeve Binchy, Pat Conroy, and Dorothea Benton Frank will likely enjoy Siddons's leisurely, descriptive prose.
This book was chosen to help me complete the following reading challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, 999 Challenge, the Read Your Own Books (RYOB) Challenge, and the 2009 Countdown Challenge.

No comments: