Elegant Kate, walking a tightrope over an abyss of lies...sensitive, sensible, self-contained Cecie...Ginger, the heiress, sexy, vibrant, richer than sin...and poor, hopeless, brilliant Fig. They came together as sorority sisters on a Southern campus in the '60s. Four young women bound by rare, blinding early friendship, they spent two idyllic spring breaks at Nags Head, North Carolina, the isolated strip of barrier islands where grand old weather-beaten houses perch defiantly on the edge of a storm-tossed sea.
A single event in her childhood irrevocably marked Catherine Gaillard, and made it impossible for her to leave her cloistered mountaintop town in Tennessee for the next 30 years. But her devotion to her husband, Joe, and her desire to forever put the incident behind her propel Cat on a life-changing trip to Italy.
For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly - happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine.
"Nothing much happens"
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.
When Maude Chambliss first arrives at Retreat, the seasonal home of her husband's aristocratic family, she is a 19-year-old bride fresh from South Carolina's Low Country. Among the patrician men and women who reside in the summer colony on the coast of Maine, her gypsy-like beauty and impulsive behavior immediately brand her an outsider. She, as well as everyone else, is certain she will never fit in. And of course, she doesn't, at first.
"Abridged books should be outlawed"
Caroline Venable has everything her Southern heritage promised: money, prestige, a powerful husband - and a predictable routine of country-club luncheons, cocktail parties, and dinners hosting her husband's wealthy friends, clients, and associates in his successful land-developing conglomerate. To escape her stifling routine, Caro drinks a little too much. But her true solace is the Lowcountry island her beloved Granddaddy left her - an oasis of breathtaking beauty that is home to a band of wild ponies.
At 12, Emily Parmenter is left mostly to herself after her mother disappears and her beloved older brother dies. Emily has built a life around the faded plantation where her remote father and hunting-obsessed brothers raise hunting spaniels. It is a meager, masculine world, but to Emily it has magic. And then comes Lulu Foxworth, troubled daughter of a truly grand plantation, who has run away from her hectic Charleston debutante season.
"Good and disturbing"
Peyton is not ready to share her widowed father with anyone, let alone a barely remembered cousin who just rolled into town. However, her father seems to like Nora well enough, and prim Aunt Augusta hates her, which raises Nora slightly in Peyton's esteem. Maybe Nora is just what quiet Lytton, Georgia, needs this summer.
Anny Butler is a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changes when she meets and marries Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon 15 years older than Anny. When they marry, she finds her family: not a traditional one, but a group of Charleston childhood friends who are inseparable, who are one another's surrogate family. They are called the Scrubs.
After an airless childhood in Savannah, Smoky O'Donnell arrives in Atlanta, dazzled and chastened by this hectic young city on the rise. Her new job as a writer with the city's Downtown magazine introduces her to many unforgettable people and propels her into the center of momentous events that will irrevocably alter her heart, her career, and her world.
When beautiful, dirt-poor Ruth Yancey rises to become mistress of Sparta, Georgia's finest mansion, she reveals a heart of pure evil. For three generations, she rules the mansion through cruel manipulation and insinuation, breaking hearts and shattering souls - until one courageous woman decides to match her madness.
"Narrated litrature at its best"
Growing up, the only place tomboy Thayer Wentworth felt at home was at her summer camp - Camp Sherwood Forest in the North Carolina Mountains. It was there that she came alive and where she met Nick Abrams, her first love...and first heartbreak.
"Not so great"
Molly Bell Redwine was raised to believe that nothing is more important than "The Family". But everything Molly values is challenged when her domineering mother dies, her husband leaves her for a younger woman, and her Atlanta family scatters to the four winds. She takes refuge by visiting friends in Martha's Vineyard, a very different world that hastens her changing identity.
"Music was not necessary"
Caroline "Caro" Venable has everything her Southern heritage promised: money, prestige, a rich husband. So what if she drinks a little too much and has a less-than-perfect marriage? She's doing what she was born to do: be the chatelaine of a magnificent home and hostess to her husband's wealthy friends and clients.
Adventure and calamity strike when a model wife and mother takes an uncharacteristic risk. She joins her daughter and sister for a roadtrip along the San Andreas Fault, just as a major earthquake hits. The quake causes extensive damage and strands the women for days. Best-selling novelist Anne Rivers Siddons, author of Downtown and Colony, charts this remarkable trip that forever transforms these three strong women and their relationships to one another.
"They are love, those rare early friendships." As she travels to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a reunion with three of her college chums, Kate Abrams ponders the past. Had she ever known anyone as intimately as these three? There's smart, tough Cecie; foolish, lonely Fig; and pert, wealthy Ginger, who married young Kate's great love. Kate wonders whether such sublime bonds, and such deep betrayals, can survive the years. She is, after all, no stranger to life's ironies.
"One of my favorites by Anne Rivers Siddons."
"A wounderful Southern tale"
After her recent divorce, the last thing Diane "Andy" Calhoun wants is another relationship. But then she meets Tom Dabney, a strong and sensitive man who focuses on protecting the wilderness. Andy can't help falling in love with this committed environmentalist who lives alone in the woods. Their passionate affair inspires Andy, as does Tom's battle to stop the building of a nuclear arms plant, but as time marches on, she must decide whether to spend her life with the man she has come to love.
At 12, Peyton McKenzie isn't ready to share her widowed father with anyone, let alone Nora, her redheaded, cigarette-smoking cousin who just rolled into town behind the wheel of a pink Thunderbird. But her father seems to like Nora, and she does make for good conversation with her friends at the Losers Club, and prim Aunt Augusta hates her, which means she can't be all bad. In fact, maybe Nora is just what quiet Lytton, Georgia, needs this summer.