Low Country

Anne Rivers Siddons, Author
Anne Rivers Siddons, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-017616-7
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
A Siddons heroine of a familiar stripe, Caroline Aubrey Venable battles adversity and despair to save her South Carolina island in a somewhat unwieldy novel that again shows us a woman maturing under pressure. The death of her daughter five years earlier still shadows Caroline's life, and her occasional overindulgence in alcohol is something neither she nor her husband of 25 years will discuss--so long as Caroline continues dutifully to play ""mother superior"" to the junior partners of her husband Clay's land-developing empire. When rumor comes to light that Clay's company plans to turn their low country home into a theme park--threatening the wild ponies that Caroline loves, not to mention the Gullahs who have lived there for centuries--Caroline is roused from her stupor. The leisurely pace and evocative atmospheric background of Siddons's fiction are in evidence here, and the confiding tone of this first-person narrative of betrayal and redemption offers few surprises. Some readers, however, may find Caroline annoyingly self-absorbed; may question why she doesn't object more strenuously when Luis Cassells--one of the islanders--characterizes Clay as ""Mengele""; may find Siddons's depiction of Luis as a Cuban-Jewish Don Quixote improbable; may take umbrage at Caroline's patronization of the Gullahs; and may agree that the climax, while surprising, makes for a pat denouement. $250,000 ad/promo; U.K. rights to Little, Brown; first serial and dramatic rights: Virginia Barber; audio rights: HarperAudio; translation rights: HarperCollins; author tour. (July)
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