June 30, 2007

Up Island

Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons
Contemporary Fiction
Finished on 6/26/07
Rating: 3/5
TBR Challenge #5
Southern Reading Challenge #2

It's been almost six years since I discovered Anne Rivers Siddons and her remarkable saga, Colony. I loved that book and felt as though I'd found another Rosamunde Pilcher in Siddons. I went on to read Islands and Sweetwater Creek, but neither impressed me nearly as much as Colony (Islands earned a 3/5 rating; Sweetwater a 2/5). The House Next Door was quite good, but more of a horror story than Siddons' typical works.

And now I've read Up Island. It wasn't a bad read, but it certainly wasn't another Colony. I enjoyed it for the most part (although toward the end, I found myself getting impatient, wanting to be finished and on to something else). Siddons is quite a descriptive writer, but I wouldn't go so far to say she's a lyrical author (Pat Conroy and Rosamunde Pilcher are two who do excel at painting a vivid picture in my mind's eye).

Only one favorite passage to share (and only because it speaks to the reader in me):

After that I went over to the Black Dog and bought bread and sweet rolls and had a bowl of Quahog chowder for lunch, then treated myself to a couple of sturdy Black Dog sweatshirts. The air, even at noon, had a pinch to it. They would feel good on chilly mornings. Walking back to the Ford I passed the Bunch of Grapes bookstore and, on impulse went in. I had planned to find a library for my reading material; books were one expense I thought I could forego. But I came out laden with both paperbacks and hardbacks, thinking with delight of the moment when I slipped between my silky old sheets and turned on my new reading lamp and opened a new novel. Home: leisurely reading in bed would always be, for me, one of its cornerstones.

I still have several other books by Siddons to read, but this one is off to the used bookstore. If I'm going to re-read any of hers, Colony is at the top of the list.


  1. It's so funny; I feel exactly as you do about Colony. It was my first Siddons' book, I've read almost everything else she wrote, and nothing compares to that. I like your comparison of her and Rosamund Pilcher, that's so true. I think one of the things that surprises me most about Siddons is her endings. They almost always surprise me, or at least I remember them so very clearly. That happened with Saltwater Creek and Islands.

  2. Oops! Did you forget to add your rating or was that purposeful? :)

    I only read about 1/3 of one of her books and I was bored. ? Could have just been me. :) I think I will try The House Next Door (I remember you really liked that one) before I ever attempt going back to the one I started. Thanks for the reminder!

    Oh yes. I responded to you on my Shadow Man post. Check it out. :)

  3. Anonymous5:43 PM

    I wonder if you would like her books better if you listened to them. I have not read in book form any of her books, but have listened to several of them (including Colony which I love dearly as well). I think it's the cadence of the language that I appreciate and it seems to make it OK that they are a little slow. I think the weather in the areas she talks about is so languid and sultry, slow is good. Actually, my favorite book of her is "The House Next Door", which I consider one of creepiest books I've ever read (and that includes Stephen King).

  4. I believe I will add "Colony" to my TBR list and skip the rest.

  5. Oh! I just remembered this...I had jury duty last week and there was a man in front of me reading the newspaper, so I could actually read the articles (talk about reading over someone's shoulder!). Anyway, there was a huge article in the Outdoors section on ... kayaking! It indicated how popular it's becoming, etc. My point? I thought about you! :) You are on the leading edge my book-loving, kayaking, online friend. LOL You go, girl! :)

  6. Anonymous5:12 AM

    I read Up Island while sitting on the beach in Martha's Vineyard a few years back and enjoyed reading about a place where I was vacationing. I read Hill Towns by Siddons and really liked it, although my Mom did not enjoy it at all. I think I might have a copy of Colony around here - I will definately have to check it out!

  7. Bellezza - I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you feel the same as I about Siddons and Colony! Hmmm, if nothing compares, maybe I shouldn't waste my time on all her others.

    Joy - Thank you!! No, I didn't mean to omit the rating. Good eye!

    If you're going to read any of Siddons' books, I suggest The House Next Door and Colony. They're very different from each other, but both are very good, imho.

    Nice update on your Shadow Man post! I enjoyed reading all of it.

    Kay - Now there's a thought. I'll have to track down some of her titles at our library and give on a go next time I'm out walking. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Yep, The House Next Door is very, very creepy. Such a surprise since I didn't expect that sort of book from her.

    Framed - Sounds like a good idea to me. :)

    Joy - LOL! You crack me up!

    Stephanie - I think Hill Towns is one of the books I have in my stacks. I must've snagged a bunch of Siddons' books at a library sale, as I have quite a few in my TBR stacks. Definitely read Colony. You won't be disappointed!

  8. her earlier books are far and away her best - King's Oak, Peachtree Road, Fox's Earth. After Downtown, they started going downhill.

  9. Babelbabe - I'll keep that in mind next time I peruse my shelves for another Siddons' book. Thanks for visiting!


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