Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

Hi all,

I love books by Anne Rivers Siddons. I've read every book she's ever written, so when an opportunity to read her latest novel, The Girls of August, came up, I grabbed it. I was not disappointed. Unfortunately, many readers have left negative reviews about this novel. Maybe it's because they are no longer accustomed to the style of writing that Ms. Siddons uses. Maybe they need every detail spelled out for them. I don't know. For me, Ms. Siddons creates stories and characters that draw you in and keep you reading. You learn about the characters as you go, instead of having it all told to you at the very start. I enjoy that style of writing, and I enjoyed this latest novel by her immensely. Here is more about the novel and my review.


The Girls of August
Anne Rivers Siddons

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.

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My Five Star Review:

Anne Rivers Siddons is one of my favorite authors. She writes stories that dig deeply into the emotions of the characters and touch on topics that women can relate to. I love her subtle way of describing characters by interlacing it throughout conversations and in her prose. She doesn't tell you the story, she shows it, like a talented author should, and you are immersed in the story immediately. I found all this to be true with her latest novel, The Girls of Summer.

Four women have spent one week in August each year together since their twenties in beach houses at different locations. They were drawn together years ago through their husbands who are all in the medical field. But after one of the women dies, the other three drift apart and the summer vacations are abandoned. Years later, a new wife is brought into the midst and the four women go on their beach vacation once more, even though they are wary of the newest member who is young and seems to them, silly. As the group spends time together, they reminisce, they tend to gang up on the youngest member, and they soon find out the secrets each one is keeping.

The Girls of August is a bittersweet, yet heartwarming story of four women who are trying to connect despite their differences. Even though three of them have known each other for years, they seem to hold back while they each determine just how much they can share with each other. The writing is fluid and lovely. You don't read an Anne Rivers Siddons novel, you experience it. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a well-written story with heart and soul.

(I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in return for my honest review.)


About the Author:

Born Sybil Anne Rivers in Atlanta, Georgia, she was raised in Fairburn, Georgia, and attended Auburn University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. While at Auburn she wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, that favored integration. The university administration attempted to suppress the column, and ultimately fired her, and the column garnered national attention. She later became a senior editor for Atlanta magazine. At the age of thirty she married Heyward Siddons, and she and her husband now live in Charleston, South Carolina, and spend summers in Maine.


My all-time favorite novel by Anne Rivers Siddons is Downtown. If you've never read a novel by this lovely lady, I'd suggest trying Downtown first to get the true flavor of her writing. It's amazing!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review: Lilac Lane (Stutter Creek Book Two) by Ann Swann

Hi all,

There are a handful of authors whose books I just have to read the moment they come out, and Ann Swann is one of them. Ann's writing style is smooth and lovely, and her stories are always entertaining. Ann's latest novel is Lilac Lane, and is the second book in the Stutter Creek Series. These are stand-alone books as well, so if you haven't read Stutter Creek yet, you can still read this one and not be lost. Lilac Lane is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Here is more about the novel and my review.


Lilac Lane
Stutter Creek Book Two

Ann Swann

Book Description:

Ella and her son survived her ex-husband's drunken wrath. They are starting a new life in a new town, Stutter Creek. She's even met a real man. A gentle wild life biologist named Chet Boone. But now, her ex has been released from prison early. Is that him driving past their new house late at night? Is he the one causing the strange sounds and flickering lights? Can they survive a second round with a madman?

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My 5 Star Review:

Ella's life hasn't been easy. She recently left her ex-husband who had been both verbally and physically abusive to her and her young son, Nick. Wanting a fresh start, she moves to the small town of Stutter Creek and buys the local restaurant. She and her son are renting a house outside of town. She's hoping to put the past behind her and begin a new life. But the past won't leave her alone. The first night at the house, Ella and Nick experience strange noises in the attic and are afraid of an intruder. Even when the problem is resolved, strange noises and occurrences continue to haunt the house, leaving Ella to wonder if her ex is playing a cat and mouse game with her or one of the new people in her life isn't as trustworthy as she first believed.

In Lilac Lane, author Ann Swann weaves a tale of suspense that will make you jump in your seat along with Ella at every bump in the night. The characters are rich and true-to-life and you soon find yourself immersed in the little town of Stutter Creek and its delightful residents. And on top of it all, a lovely romance begins to bloom for Ella. Ann is truly a talented writer who knows how to keep you wondering until the very end. I highly recommend Lilac Lane to readers who enjoy romantic suspense. Be sure to keep a light on while you read it!
More reviews of novels by Ann Swann: