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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  6,523 ratings  ·  223 reviews
An unforgettable story of love, acceptance, and tradition. When Maude Chambliss first arrives at Retreat, the seasonal home of her husband's aristocratic family, she is a nineteen-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 immed ...more
ebook, 640 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1992)
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For me, this is without a doubt Siddons' best book . I have re-read it twice now, and still enjoy every page. Highly recommended for exquisite descriptions of the coastal area of Maine, for a detailing of the privileged lives of those summering in that area and their relationship to the people who live in the town all year, and mostly for the wonderful story of Maude Chambliss and her family.
D Thasfun
My all time favorite book! The author's writing resonates with me. I feel myself immersed in the stories and they become part of me. I think a small part of that is that Anne Rivers-Siddons is Southern, as am I. The writing just flows for me. I do not find that at all with British authors, for example.
I am a beach baby, having spent my first few years of life playing at the beach. I love the sea and she captures it so vividly - the smell, the quality of the light on the water, the sounds, and th
One of my favorite books ever. Details the lives of a Boston family through 3 generations, anchored around their summer home at The Colony, a tight knit retreat in Maine founded by their family and many of their upper-echelon peers. Maude, the central character, is a girl from Charleston, South Carolina who marries into the family and struggles to find her place in a vastly different environment and family dynamic.

Siddons has had many successes at writing the nuance of relationships, but for me
Hmmmm... Can't quite decide how I feel about this book. On one hand, I liked the descriptions and was really able to feel I was in Maine on a vacation. On the other hand, it was a place I'm not sure I wanted to be. This family and the others in the Colony looked so pretty and put together on the outside, but on the inside there is so much sin and consequence. I thought that it was good in that it didn't gloss over the terrible road bad choices can take someone on - but it also made me sad that t ...more
Ginny Guerry
The only book I've ever read that remotely reminded me of my summer compound - Camp Randolph - in Vt. The matriarchs rule and the sense of community endures at a time when we no longer live down the street from our grandparents. During our summer stays (my mother grew up here, I grew up here, my kids grew up here) in this magical place where you catch fireflies for fun and stay outdoors from sun up to the most beautiful sunsets on the planet.

This book is rich with memorable characters as they s
Maude Gascoigne from Charleston, SC marries Peter Chambliss, son of a Boston family who has always spent summers at Retreat, a wealthy summer colony in Maine. As a bride, Maude feels intimidated by her mother in law Hannah, and critical of the philosophy of life held by the women of Retreat, that all is done so that their husbands can come and enjoy the sailing, tennis, and relaxation. The wives enjoy their tea parties and have a social life of their own, but "what will other people think?" is t ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Siddons' fans.
Recommended to Linda by: A friend of my mother's.
This is definitely a "beach read"! If you're not reading it on a beach, you'll be on one, anyway, through the imagery presented in the book!

A very sheltered, naive-to-the-ways-of-the- world young bride of the South Carolina Low Country is brought home to her in-laws'family clan, near Boston. Soon after arriving, she finds out what she is "up against": This colony is a society unto itself; a family where rules are unspoken, and the roles clearly established through the matriarchs who are deferre
I have to be in the mood for a Rivers-Siddons book and can't read two in a row. Her writing is so dense it cannot be read quickly. The plot of the story becomes hidden in the rich descriptions. But, when I am in the mood, I love it. I can actually go to "Retreat" colony in my mind now, thanks to her - and it is a place of sanctuary.

The beginning of this 600 page book is hard to get into at first. The beginning doesn't even particularly make sense (and can't, really. Siddons is doing this on purp
I read this book while on vacation in Northern Michigan at my husband's family cottage on a small lake. His mother and grandmother were there for most of our vacations there and Colony immediately struck a nerve with me. Like Maude I often felt that I loved that cottage and it's history even more than my husband, who grew up there. The bonding with her mother-in-law and the other Retreat people, learning of tradition and love affair with the whole place helped me come to terms with my role as a ...more
All I've heard about this book is that it is Siddons' best book. I would still give that honor to Hill Towns, but this deserves all of these 4 stars. It's a love story that progresses over many decades while the main characters marry and try to raise a family, each summer being spent in the colony, a town in Maine aptly named Retreat. Retreat soothes those who come, but also has the gossipy old bitties found in most small towns. After a while the characters have endured such tragedies in their l ...more
The prose here can be dense, particularly at the beginning when Siddons spends a lot of time describing houses and streets and swamps and beaches and cliffs. She's not bad at description -- there's a solid late-twentieth-century occasionally-literary middlebrow quality to her writing -- but the first fifty or so pages felt like a slog.

Once it starts getting soapy, though, it's hard to put down; it's a nearly perfect beach read. So much drama for one family! Ultimately all those descriptions pai
This is a time when I wish I could give a book 3.5 stars. The majority of the book is 4 stars--the part narrated by Maude Gascoigne Chambliss. But when the narrator changes to Darcy Chambliss O'Ryan, the book dips to 3 stars, and the final chapter--back to Maude--was so disconcerting, I might even rate it at 2.5 stars.

Overall, Anne Rivers Siddons' Colony is a book I enjoyed. The colony of the title is a summer retreat for the rich, and we follow its history and its people from about 1920 to 1990
When Maude Chambliss first arrives at Retreat, the seasonal home of her husband's aristocratic family, she is a nineteen-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' first.

But over the many summers she spends there, Maude
Barbara Prest
Totally loved reading this book. Much to share with my reading club friends. I'm originally from New England and spent many summers at lakeside property in Maine, so I was familiar with all the places described in the book.
A great piece of small town literature that weaves through generations. The book shows the power of women in "the Colony" and how they retain it, even though it appears to be the men who are so important. Love and true love are woven throughout. The highs in the story were great and the lows were so low that I was actually sad. And typical Anne Rivers Siddons - there are a few surprises at the end.
Re-reading this for about the sixth time...definitely satisfying my need for the perfect summer read. I think Siddons is great--such a happy facade in her protagnoists, but there is always some intrigue and deception happening on the inside. Her books never get old and are favorites to re-read.
This is one of my favorite books. I spent a few summers in Maine near to where this book is set, but really, it makes me think of my own long family history in Cape Cod. It's a must-read!
Lorraine Monakey
I read the hardcover many years ago and it is a book I remember fondly. The main character reminded me of my mother in law and I loved viewing a way of life that has vanished.
The main character, Maude is a southerner enmeshed in her husband's summer home in Maine.
There is a lot of high drama, but it's an enjoyable read.
My high school English teacher gave me this book to read - and I loved it. I think it is Anne Rivers Siddons masterpiece.
I go back and read this every few years. I can just put myself there on the coast of Maine.
May 18, 2009 Sarah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Shannon B
I am intrigued that this book is on both "The worst books of all time" and "Best books ever" lists.
Siddons has a wonderful way of making a novel multigenerational and loving it !
Siddons is one of my favorite authors and this is one of her best.
My favorite book of all time. I reread it every few years.
Maude Chambliss comes to the Retreat, a family beach homestead used by the family for many years in South Carolina. Her mother in law does not like her, but leaves her the Retreat on her death. Maude and her family go through many summers when people gossip and tell past stories. Maude must pick the person to inherit the Retreat so it will stay in the family. This is not one of my favorite Siddons book. The characters are not as well drawn as her other book. It is hard to care what happens to th ...more
The ties of family
This is mainly a story of Maude and her family: husband Peter, mother-in-law Hannah, son Petie, daughter Happy and their grandkids and how the constant in Maude's life is Retreat, the summer home in Maine.

I can't figure out how I feel about this book. It was long, but I read the bulk of it in a day (home sick from work). I liked the twist at the end (it wasn't a huge change in the plot but it was rewarding enough). I liked that Darcy's voice sounded different from Maude's but wasn't entirely sur
Anne Rivers Siddons is an author that I’ve enjoyed over many years. That’s actually what motivated to select this audiobook on sale. Now before it was too late I noticed I purchased the abridged version. That was a huge mistake. The abridged version doesn’t do the story justice. I honestly felt I missed pieces of the story. This version missed depth. I hunkered for more nuance, introspection….. There was none (although I'm sure there was in the full version...). And what might have been a lovely ...more
Madi J
Loved it.

I've read on my Nook for years, but I have a hard cover copy of this book and I honestly think there is no better way to read Anne Rivers Siddons than an actual physical book with yellowed pages and a glass of Merlot.. or two.. or hell, an entire bottle... ;)

This is a long one, but definitely my favorite ARS to date, and I've read, and loved, quite a few.

I find it hard to articulate exactly what I like so much about Anne Rivers Siddons, and Colony in particular, but I do know it all ha
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Did anyone else think Maude was wrong to keep her family in Retreat? 2 16 Oct 19, 2014 08:08AM  
  • Isle of Palms (Lowcountry Tales #3)
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Born Sybil Anne Rivers in Atlanta, Georgia, she was raised in Fairburn, Georgia, and attended Auburn University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.
While at Auburn she wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, that favored integration. The university administration attempted to suppress the column, and ultimately fired her, and the column garnered natio
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“That sinuous southern life, that oblique and slow and complicated old beauty, that warm thick air and blood warm sea, that place of mists and languor and fragrant richness...” 20 likes
“I thought. I thought of the slow yellow autumn in the swamp and the high honey sun of spring and the eternal silence of the marshes, and the shivering light on them, and the whisper of the spartina and sweet grass in the wind and the little liquid splashes of who-knew-what secret creatures entering that strange old place of blood-warm half earth, half water. I thought of the song of all the birds that I knew, and the soft singsong of the coffee-skinned women who sold their coiled sweet-grass baskets in the market and on Meeting Street. I thought of the glittering sun on the morning harbor and the spicy, somehow oriental smells from the dark old shops, and the rioting flowers everywhere, heavy tropical and exotic. I thought of the clop of horses' feet on cobblestones and the soft, sulking, wallowing surf of Sullivan's Island in August, and the countless small vistas of grace and charm wherever the eye fell; a garden door, a peeling old wall, an entire symmetrical world caught in a windowpane. Charlestone simply could not manage to offend the eye. I thought of the candy colors of the old houses in the sunset, and the dark secret churchyards with their tumbled stones, and the puresweet bells of Saint Michael's in the Sunday morning stillness. I thought of my tottering piles of books in the study at Belleau and the nights before the fire when my father told me of stars and butterflies and voyages, and the silver music of mathematics. I thought of hot, milky sweet coffee in the mornings, and the old kitchen around me, and Aurelia's gold smile and quick hands and eyes rich with love for me.” 12 likes
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