To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Is it summer? Yes! Then it's the best time of year to read an Anne Rivers Siddons book, almost all of which are perfect summer ChickLit. But unlike many other authors whose books fit this genre, Siddons's novels are intelligent and well-written with a depth of plot and truly engaging characters that make her stories a pleasure to read.
This multigenerational saga begins in the early 1920s on an old plantation-type home outside of Charleston. When Maude is 17, her brother, who goes to Princeton, comes home with his friend, Peter Chambliss for Maude's debut at the St. Cecilia dance—and before you know it, Maude and Peter are married. She is of French descent, genteelly poor, and deeply Southern. He is a New Englander, wallowing in money with a deeply disapproving mother.
The Chambliss family spends every summer in their Maine house at Retreat Colony, and life there is a combination of splendor and delight and tragedy and horror. Maude narrates the book as an old woman looking back on her many summers at Retreat Colony, recounting the joys, sorrows (and some devastating secrets) of family, friends, and tradition that is as rock-solid as Maine itself.
But when Maude's story seemingly runs out, the first-person narration shifts to Darcy, Maude's troubled granddaughter. It's an interesting structural ruse, since it's done without warning; the reader just has to figure out that it's now Darcy narrating the novel.
Bonus: There is a plot bombshell at the very end—and it really makes total sense. I'm kicking myself I didn't figure it out, but I'll bet few do.
While this really is an escapist novel that is ideal for hot summer days, it is not frivolous as it tackles some pretty tough emotional topics.
Colony is another tightly crafted novel by the inimitable Anne Rivers Siddons, whose intimate narrative shines through in this expose on summer life in an insular, cloistered colony on the untamed coast of Maine. Maude Gascoigne is nineteen and fresh from the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina when her new husband, Peter Chambliss, takes her home for the summer to his family's vacation cottage in an exclusive enclave populated by the East Coast privileged. It is here she goes toe to toe with her indomitable Chambliss mother in law, who is an implacable keeper of tradition and fiercely protective of her only son. There are tacit rules of decorum in Retreat; it is a place that holds fast to understated social mores that disapprove of anything beyond the standard set and adhered to from previous generations. In this monochromatic, yacht club society of starched linen and screened porches by the sea, a hierarchy of tenure exists amongst the old families' women: they are supercilious and set in their ways; they rule the roost from sea-side rocking chairs and know everyone in Retreat's business, while they cater to their men and uphold with steel spines the rhythm of colony life. Colony is a generational saga of players who return year after year to a setting that aspires to remain unchanged. The reader rides the coattails of Maude Chambliss as she finds her footing in Retreat and grows into a woman who is chatelaine of her own branch of the Chambliss family, much to her mother in law's chagrin. But time and tide ebbs and flows and much is mellowed through the passing years by births and the raising of children, deaths and the keeping of secrets within the confines of this unchangeable sequestration by the sea. The closer Maude comes to evolving into doyenne of Retreat, the more she realizes that her love for the area has its own tenacious version of loyalty, and one she plots to pass down to her unwilling grand daughter, whose past is damaged and riddled by her own connections with Retreat. Populated with characters as salty and constant as the sea, Colony is a roaring, undulating tide with an undercurrent of cause and effect set unwittingly in motion by players who revere discretion before confession. Its voice is searching and nostalgic, and its theme answers the question of what ends one will go to for love.
I love Anne Rivers Siddons' books! With each one I read [always with a dictionary at hand], I learn so much from her laser focus in each one. This particular book, Colony, was riveting. It was one I shouldn't have put down, because it went through enough generations that each time I picked it up, I had to go back and review. Honestly, her preparation for each novel must have taken her over a year to pull together! My favorite book of hers is "King's Oak", which I am reading for the third time. Colony is worth at least a second read. I wasn't really satisfied with the way Siddons dealt with the women in the book until I got near the end. Then I understood! Her fiction women are always SO STRONG!
I fell in love with this book as I love Maine. I could relate to the summer people as I was one for many years. I could relate to the broad description of the Maine coastline, the Maine weather, the traditions seeped deep within the natives, the lobster, the chowder, and the social rituals of the summer season. I adored the characters while the names have been changed - they fit perfectly into the characteristics of laminate residents. Bravo for taking me back to a place I have known for over sixty years.
First, let me say how much I loved this book. So much so, that after reading it the first time I actually went back and read most of it again! I did this partially because, after reading the ending (which, of course, I will not divulge!) I felt I had missed some information that was threaded throughout the book. (I did this second reading on my I pad instead of my Kindle, as it was faster to browse). The main characters in the book are so vivid, I still visualize and think about them. The descriptions of Maine were lush and beautiful; I was able to escape the cold of winter and be in this wonderful place! My only complaint was that some minor characters that were introduced seemed unessential and their narratives not followed through satisfactorily . But that is only a small issue in a book that was, on the whole, well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended!
This is the best of Anne Rivers Siddons' books, and they're all good. This story begins in Charleston in 1923, and sweeps readers through the history of our nation, as well as that of the wealthy families populating a beloved summer retreat in Maine. Siddons is a masterful storyteller and creates vivid and memorable characters. This novel is compelling, and you won't want to put it down.
Colony drew me in from page 1, when the narrator, Maude, paints an eerie picture of sitting alone on a porch in a deserted summer colony on Penobscot Bay, Maine, as the fog rolls in. From there, I couldn't put it down. Colony is mesmerizing. The love story, the sharp, cold beauty of Maine, the weird way in which the story interacts with time. And, of course, the should-have-seen-it-coming-from-the-prologue shocker that probably very few readers actually see coming, that makes you reevaluate the view you've had of the Peter/Maude love story for 600 pages. This book is tragic and beautiful, and the atmosphere created by Anne Rivers Siddons keeps you turning the pages, unable to tear yourself away, just like Maude is unable to tear herself away from those summers in Maine. It's like the fog has surrounded you and won't lift until you finish the book. :)
At first I was bored with the droning on descriptive style the book started with, however once the characters appeared it was a different story, literally. I loved the character development all through the book. I could again do without the long descriptions of scenery that droned on too long for me.