Summary and book reviews of Low Country by Anne River Siddons

Low Country

A Novel

By Anne River Siddons

Low Country
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1998,
    290 pages.
    Paperback: May 1999,
    480 pages.

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Book Summary

Caroline Venable has everything her Southern heritage promised: money, prestige, a rich husband--and a predictable routine of country-club luncheons and cocktail parties. Caroline is the chatelaine of a magnificent home, hostess to her husband's wealthy friends and prospective clients, and the official "one-woman welcome wagon" for young, eager talent that her husband, Clay, imports to their corner of South Carolina to work for the family company--a vastly successful land-developing conglomerate.

If Caro drinks a little too much for Clay's liking, he knows the reason why, and he takes comfort in the fact that she can escape to the island in the Lowcountry that her beloved Granddaddy left her. Wild and seemingly timeless, the island is a place of incomparable, breathtaking beauty--and it is the one place where Caroline can lose herself and simply forget.

Roaming the island is a band of wild ponies, whose freedom and spirit have captivated Caro since she was a child. When she learns that her husband must either develop the island or lose the company that he spent his whole life building, she is devastated. The Lowcountry is Caroline's heritage--the one constant she believed would never change. A resort would not only tame (and therefore destroy) the island she loves--but what will happen to the wild ponies?

Spurred to action and inspired with new purpose, Caroline must confront the part of herself that she has numbed with alcohol and careful avoidance, and she must reconsider her priorities--what is important that she would die for it? In fighting to save the island--her island--Caroline draws on an inner strength that forces her to reconsider her role in society, her marriage, and, ultimately, herself.

Low Country is a story of personal renewal and transformation --one woman's proper Old South upbringing and expectations colliding with the new South's runaway prosperity. It is magnificently told, and it is Anne Rivers Siddons at her absolute best.



I think I'll go over to the island for a few days," I said to my husband at breakfast, and then, when he did not respond, I said, "The light's beautiful. It can't last. I hate to waste it. We won't get this pure gold again until this time next year."

Clay smiled, but he did not put down his newspaper, and he did not speak. The smile made my stomach dip and rise again, as it has for the past twenty-five years. Clay's smile is wonderful, slow and unstinting and a bit crooked, and gains much of its power from the surrounding austerity of his sharp, thin face. Over the years I have seen it disarm a legion of people, from two-year-olds in mid-tantrum to Arab sheiks in same. Even though I knew that this smile was little more than a twitch, and with no more perception behind it, I felt my own mouth smiling back. I wondered, as I often do, how he could do that, smile as though you had absolutely delighted him when he had not heard a word you said.


"There is a rabid ...

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Plot Summary

Caroline Venable has everything her Southern heritage promised: money, prestige, a rich husband, and a predictable routine of country-club luncheons and cocktail parties. Caroline is the chatelaine of a magnificent home, hostess to her husband's wealthy friends and prospective clients, and the official "one woman welcome wagon" for the young, eager talent that her husband, Clay, imports to their corner of South Carolina to work for the family company, a vastly-successful land-development conglomerate, Peacock Island Plantation. But ever since her ten-year-old daughter, Kylie, drowned in the nearby ocean, Caro hasn't been able to fully cope with her hostess role, and she hasn't been able to stop drinking. ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Library Journal

Fans will find some familiar elements here: a sympathetic Southern heroine, an unlikely love interest, and a South Carolina low country setting fragrant with salt air.

Publishers Weekly

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 Cassellsone 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.

Kirkus Reviews

A delicate, compelling tale, full of real feeling and lush description. A treat for Siddons fans.

Reader Reviews
Frederick P. Van Winkle

I enjoyed reading Low Country because I have an intimate relationship with the area and can relate to all of the aspects in the book. I, however, found it to be crafted as a collage of segments of all of Pat Conroy's novels.
Anne Rivers ...   Read More

Anonymous
Maureen Smith
Just finished reading Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons and must comment on how disappointing I found this book to be. I have read all of Miss Siddons books and found them to be most enjoyable but this latest book read like it had been ...   Read More

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