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Hill Towns

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  2,659 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A single traumatic event in her childhood irrevocably marked Catherine Gaillard, leaving her stranded in her cloistered mountaintop Tennessee town for thirty years. But now she is embarking upon a life-changing trip to Italy with her husband, Joe, hoping to put the incident behind her forever. As they make their way across the breathtaking countryside of Tuscany with two o ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 1993)
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The older I get, the less tolerance I have for the overblown prose that Siddons sometimes gets caught up in while describing her characters. This one was definitely NOT among her best efforts; if you want to read vintage Siddons, I much preferred Colony. On the other hand, I must admit that if you would like to read some beautiful descriptions of Rome, Venice, Florence and Siena, it's clear that Siddons has not only visited these places, but has a true appreciation for them. For that, I'll give ...more
I found myself speaking outloud to the characters (i.e. "Don't do it, Cat!") which means that the plot is certainly strong enough for me to really get into it. However, I too, was very unimpressed the language. There simply was no need for the foul words that Siddons appeared to enjoy throwing in seemingly on a whim. Also, I believe that I have a pretty broad vocabulary, but Siddons really stretched the limits of every day speech in this book! Words such as "fecundity", "scurrilious", "ennui", e ...more
I really like Anne Rivers Siddons, and this is my favorite. This is another novel I read over and over. It's funny, heartbreaking, and most importantly, fabulously romantic without being cliche or fluffy. The author draws you so much into the setting, Italy in this case, that you'll feel like your sitting at a table on the Roman terrace watching the characters interact and you'll swear you can smell the garlic and the sweat. I liked this even more the Eat, Love, Pray.
If you ever wanted to, have already, or want to relive a trip to Italy, especially Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena, and Tuscany then this is the book for you. The descriptions are vivid, detailed, and picturesque of the people, places, the hot sensual scorching weather, and the emotions generated by being there. This is also a book where it is handy to have a dictionary nearby because the prose is overblown with words not in everyday use.

As a five year old child Cat Gaillard was traumatized by the
I thought this book was absolutely amazing and enthralling. Cat, the main character, has never once left her home town on The Mountain in TN, until she and her husband decide to take a life-changing trip to Italy. Siddons' descriptions of the people and places encountered along the way are so vivid that I could "see" very detailed pictures of them all in my mind. Now I not only want to learn to speak Italian, I want to go there too.
I'm glad this was audio because I'd not gotten through the roller coaster ride of relationships and the unnecessary bad lanquage. The characters were professors and other professionals-so didn't expect the gutter mouths. The story seemed very tedious and depressing. I'm going between murders gore and now downer relationships. I'm in need of a funny light easy read.
Hills Towns was an enjoyable read. The book started in Tennessee and ended in Italy. Everyone seemed to change in Italy, and most of the characters would never be the same again. It has beautiful settings and vivid characters.
This was the book that inspired Valerie and me to travel to Italy!!! The first Siddons book I read! LOVED it! I recommend it to anyone that is planning to visit Tuscany, or Italy in general.
Enjoyed the descriptions of Italy. Would like to have finished the journey with just Cat and Joe.
she can paint a picture and really captures the angst of a relationship betrayed.
Catherine (Cat) Gaillard was so deeply traumatized as a child when her parents were killed that she refused to leave the Tennessee mountain she called home. Years later when her adult daughter wanted them to see Europe with her, Cat finally went for therapy. A couple years later, when she's finally able to leave the mountain, an opportunity comes along to go to Italy. Cat's husband is a Professor and his graduate assistant is getting married. Cat and Joe go along to attend the wedding and then ...more
Kathryn Yaste
I cannot make up my mind about this book. I was very much sucked into it, captivated really, despite the fact that the entire plot of the novel is the characters driving through Italy, behaving like asses, and fighting with each other the whole way. At times the prose was so overblown it pulled me right out of the story. I remember thinking that no matter how well-educated a woman is, I do not believe she would casually toss the word "fecund" around like she did. But at other points in the book, ...more
Catherine Gaillard lost her parents when she was five, and even as an adult, can't make herself leave the mountaintop college town in Tennessee where she had always lived. She and her professor husband Joe are invited to Italy to attend the wedding of another college faculty member, and then to tour Italy with them on their honeymoon. Catherine, with the help of a therapist, decides that they should make this trip. Quite an entourage develops on the trip, which includes their hosts for the weddi ...more
Barbara Mitchell
This novel is a book sale find from several years ago. I finished reading it yesterday and still cannot really make up my mind about it.

My main problem with it is that I didn't like one single character in the book. The protagonist, Catherine (Cat) Compton Gaillard, lives on a mountain in Tennessee near famed Trinity College. Her father is a teacher there and her mother is from a poor family, and they are killed in a grotesque accident on a bridge down off the mountain. Five-year-old Cat is slee
Jan 18, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
A single traumatic event from her childhood has irrevocably marked Catherine Gaillard's adulthood, striking her with an almost unconquerable fear of leaving her cloistered mountaintop home in Tennessee for thirty years. But now, in an effort to shake her fears and put the incident behind her, Catherine is embarking on a life-changing vacation to Italy with her husband Joe. As they make their way across the beautiful countryside of Tuscany with two other couples, Cat and Joe soon find themselves ...more
Woman with agoraphobia lives in one college town. Finally gets therapy. She and husband travel to Italy.
Anxiety, portrait painted, relationship strains.
Ends abruptly.
Jean Pilutti
A single traumatic event in her childhood irrevocably marked Catherine Guillard, leaving her stranded in her cloistered mountaintop Tennessee town for 30 years. But now she is embarking upon a life-changing trip to Italy with her husband, Joe, hoping to put the incident behind her forever.
So I'm a little suprised at how much I adored this book. It's not what I think of as "high fiction" which (I think is my own made up word, but might be real. Who knows).

Anyway, I am becoming quite taken with the south, despite the fact that I abhor its politics and don't ever really want to live there. Books about the south have cropped up several times for me this year.

This book is more about Southerners than the south. I loved the main character, and in a rare turn of events was really rooting
Not Siddons best work. Overstretched believability.
Kathy Cherney
Tough read, wordy as is Siddons' style, but worth reading.
Joan Horkey
I liked it enough to finish it but overall, disappointing.
Just love Siddons writings. You came meres yourself
James R.
This was almost a 1 star. It reminded me of "The Great Gatsby" in the way the story was told.
Charlene Gordon
I liked this very much. Read this in 1999.
Samm Seals
I don't know why I continue to read Ms Siddons. Verbose is an understatement, imagining every detail in every "scene" is disconcerting. It's easy to lose track of the story. I do like her look inside of people at various times of their lives and also the age range and type of people she examines. the language is presented as being natural to the character but I feel exaggeration in the southern demeanor. (personal experiences)and I don't like her use of specific swear works. we don't talk like t ...more
This book is NOT about hill towns!
I read this book probably in 1999 or 2000, before going to Italy. I was in the mood to read a story located in Italy, so picked this up again. I did not remember much about it at all and felt like I was reading it for the first time. I am now ready to go back to Italy. Could not believe how little I remembered about this story.

Good story telling by Siddons as usual; I enjoy the setting of her stories as much as the flow of the story, sometimes even more.
Read a few years ago and reread in July 2008. Story of the emotional rollerdoaster of love and relationships as seen through the prism of Catherine Gaillard's life--from her cloistered mountaintop home in Tennessee to a life-changing trip to Italy where she becomes the model for the famous artist Sam Forrest's next portrait. Touring Rome, Venice, Florence, and the countryside of Tuscany evolves from a carefree trip into the ultimate test of her marriage.
Another book where the review sounded great but it seemed to take forever to get to the "story" - I only read the first 25% of this book. Couldn't finish it...
About Cat and Joe who are married and live in the hills of TN - due to an unfortunate accident early in her life, Cat will not leavae the safety of her mountain...until they take a trip to Italy for a friend's wedding.
Zoe Jussel
Anything having to do with Italy is worth at least three stars in my mind, as it is one of my favorite countries in the world and calls me back at least one a week. Too bad I can't answer. Not a great book but an interesting character development between the heretofore joined at the hip couple, and how a change in altitude and situation can alter was used to be perfect.
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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
More about Anne Rivers Siddons...
Low Country Peachtree Road Colony Sweetwater Creek Outer Banks

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