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I have read every one of Anne River Sidds novels. Some, especially her later ones, are better than her very earliest but I have enjoyed them all. This latest offering is very readable but I did start to hate the smug older women enjoying a holiday in a house belonging to the person they so enjoy being nasty to. The setting is always superb, especially as we have visited some of the eastern islands described in her novels. Edisto is our favourite,
The women had all met years before, in Nashville, and they had all married doctors: Teddy, Hugh, Mac, and Oliver. Their first August getaway had cemented their bonds, despite the fact that the first divorce among them took Teddy’s wife Cornelia shortly thereafter. They didn’t miss her, but they did love her summer house.
Teddy’s next wife, Melinda, was a favorite friend who was lost too soon in a terrible accident. After her death, and despite fifteen years of getaways, the August escapes ended. For a while.
Now, after three years, they are trying again. They escape to Tiger Island, Teddy’s summer house on the South Carolina coast, which he shares with his new “child bride,” LucyAnne, whom everyone calls Baby, and they try to form a new bond.
But Baby is hard to love, with her childish prattle and her propensity for stripping down and wandering in the ocean, stark naked. Could she be stupid, or is there more to her than her surface would suggest?
The Girls of August
was an enjoyable read, mostly because of the three older women, Rachel, Barbara, and our first person narrator, Madison (Maddy). Rachel’s biting wit, mostly directed toward Baby and her antics, and Barbara’s mysterious silences and excessive drinking…made me want to get to know them a bit more. I wanted to understand what was going on with them. And our narrator, Maddy, was someone who seemed compassionate, and like a friend anyone would want. And then there was Baby, who surprised me in the end, even though I still didn’t like her.
Some of their adventures made me long for a retreat like that one, but unexpected events bring the two-week getaway to a crashing end, jolting me a little. A four star read.
Funny, touching, dramatic, and enraging all at once. I read this with a girlfriend. As we saw the vacation roll out through Maddy's eyes, we found ourselves really liking her but not being too thrilled with her cohorts. But as the story and characters developed more, we couldn't help but understand them and feel their humanity. My only disappointment was that Siddons didn't send me running to the dictionary like I usually need to do when I read her novels...this was a little shallow.
I really liked this book. I thought the characters were funny with all their different personalities. I definitely felt bad for one of the characters because the other girls were mean to her. I did not like how most of the book was written in the present and then 2 chapters out of the book, one in the beginning and one at the end, just cut to the past and then one was talking about the past and future. To me it was kind of confusing and I thought it kind of lost momentum, but other than that I liked it. I also feel that the author left some details out. I wanted to learn more about Baby (the young 22 year old). This book is a good pick if you like seeing adventure and a bond of friendship that can never really be broken.
Most of what I've read of this book over the past two years holds true. I have been an avid Siddons fan since reading Sweetwater Creek after its release, followed quickly by Fox's Earth (my favorite). I have since read and fallen madly in love with Peachtree Road, Homeplace, and Colony. Others weren't always as good, but Burnt Mountain was a sore disappointment in my eyes, and what I thought must have signaled the end after reading so many terrible reviews of The Girls of August.
Siddons generally revels in character and plot development. It's what I have always loved about the books. They generally take more effort to read, so I stagger them (one or two a year). I love to read one and hold on to it for a while.
I went into this book open minded, and perhaps the negativity played in my favor, because I actually enjoyed it. The plot plays out rapidly (far more quickly than any of her other novels). You'd read nearly this many pages just to reach Tiger Island if it were like her others. More time could have been spent on the girls days before the Augusts began, but I don't really feel that this hindered the book. I knew the characters and learned about them throughout the story.
Do I wish it had been longer? Yes. Do I wish it had Siddons' older flare? Yes. Do I find the formula tired? No. It's still has a distinct feel to it that is all Siddons.
The resolution was rushed, and the end is abrupt, but I don't necessarily feel that any strings were left loose. I felt each character had a purpose and made progress throughout the novel. There was conflict, and it was all resolved. Despite what many have said, I don't think there is enough left to warrant another story or continuation. It's fine just as it is.
Anne Rivers Siddons is one of my favorite authors and I believe I have read each of her books. She came through again with The Girls of August. The tension between the main characters builds nicely as the four women go for a girls only vacation, rekindling an old tradition. A new, young, beautiful, trophy wife is new to the group, replacing a dear friend of the other women who was killed in a car accident. Although this all sounds pretty predictable and trite, it isn't and Siddons weaves character traits and flaws throughout.
Long time girlfriends get together each August for a vacation. Things change year to year but they still try to maintain this ritual. One of them dies & her husband remarries so they try to include the new wife into the group even though she is almost half their age. The difficulty they have accepting the new member with her own history puts a strain on everyone.
The bond between the Girls of August was a strong one, yet there seemed to be a slight disconnect. I have always loved Siddons' books. I just loved this one a bit less. I enjoyed the little bits of Gullah history and the setting in which the book took place. As a native of Charleston, SC, I appreciated the setting and the history. As a woman who still shares a long standing bond with SC friends, I also appreciate Siddons' ability to write soundly about long lasting friendships. You will definitely enjoy this book!
This book left me on the edge of a cliff with no idea if I survived or fell over the edge. The characters were interesting and I felt like I was getting to know them and then the story just ended. I don't know if the author reached her desired length or she plans a sequel. Feel like I invested my time and was not rewarded. Interesting location. Story could have been so much richer.