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Peachtree Road

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,134 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Headstrong, independent, and devastatingly beautiful Lucy Bondurant Chastain Venable will never become the demure Southern lady her family requires—while her older cousin, Sheppard Gibbs Bondurant III, is too shy and bookish, a far cry from the suave, gregarious Southern gentleman he's expected to be. In the Bondurants' sprawling home on Atlanta's Peachtree Road, these two ...more
Paperback, 816 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published November 13th 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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For anyone who lives or has ever lived in Atlanta, this book is fascinating for its historical references alone. It describes what people tend to refer to as the "old money" in Atlanta, although Shep, the main character, is quick to note that no money in Atlanta is truly "old".

When evaluating a book I like to think about what my biggest take away is... what did I learn? This book made me, a fiscal conservative and lifelong Republican, realize that estate taxes are absolutely necessary to ensure
Jul 11, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Peachtree Road is a sweeping Southern magnum opus, centering around Old Atlanta and Buckhead. It follows the lives of Lucy and Shep Bondurant, first cousins with an incredibly close bond. The synopsis on the back may lead you to believe that it’s about Lucy (even though the narration is done entirely by Shep), but in a sense it is really about neither; it’s about a time and place and a generation disintegrated by its own weight and glittering “perfection.” Ms. Siddons’ prose is rambling and exce ...more
Nov 13, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was horribly disappointing, mostly because I thought it was going to be wonderful. I began reading it with the idea that it would be similar to Gone with the Wind, and of course, it was not at all. The plot was interesting at times, but the book was just too long, too drawn out; the last 200 hundred pages were not much more than painful. And unfortunately, by the end of the story I found myself hating (and despising in some cases) every single one of the characters. My other major comp ...more
The first time I picked up this book, I put it down after about 20 pages because I just couldn't get into it. Some months later, I picked it up again, started reading it and was so sucked into the story that I was sad to see the book end. I absolutely loved this book.
Jan 16, 2009 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for Atlantans. I read it after I had moved here and it got me interested in Atlanta's rich and colorful history. Everytime I drive Peachtree Road in Buckhead I glance over at the last mansion and think about this great book.
Sep 20, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fried, owned
I first read this book when it was released in 1989. I have re-read it many times over the years, and just finished reading it again. Those first two hundred pages are just so redolent of a lost era; one that happened before I was born, but I heard about from my parents who grew up in the same time, just considerably further north. Siddons telling of Shep Bondurant's childhood is so nostalgic and evocative; I just love the first 200 pages of this book.

So it isn't really like Gone With the Wind a
Minty McBunny
Sep 11, 2014 Minty McBunny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, september-2014
Oh my gosh y'all, I am so sorry to everyone who has ever tried to get me to read this author, but I can't, I just can't. This is my second attempt, I tried to read Low Country about 10 years ago and it just did me in with the verbal diarrhea. Still, people whose literary opinions I like and tend to agree kept telling me how great she is and how I should really read her novels. So I made a valiant effort, but oh my Lord have mercy, why use one word when 2000 will do? The first 150 pages could hav ...more
Oct 01, 2009 Rudi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is a bit slow. Forget the first 150 pages, that could have been told in 15 pages....after that it is slowly becoming interesting. But it probably would help if you have an interest in Atlanta (which I don't). Alas, later it dies down again. The ending is mildly surprising, but all in all this book would have been better if it had only 20% of the pages. Too slow.
Aug 26, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Writing this long after reading the book. I mainly recall it being too wordy. The plot was interesting, but it was a challenge to get through this book and quite depressing at times.
Yes, I have to agree with The Baltimore Sun's report that Peachtree Road was a love story, a historical novel, a mystery, and a tragedy all wrapped into one. The love/hate relationship which existed between the two main characters, Shep and Lucy, can be compared to a plot found in a Shakespearean tragedy, because in the end they not only destroy themselves but almost everyone else who knew them. However, I do not agree that the book could be seen as another Gone With the Wind!
The love/hate rel
Dick Edwards
Jan 27, 2011 Dick Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is largely set in Buckhead, where I used to live (1948-1956) and went to school (North Fulton HS 1948-1950). She defines (p.23) Buckhead as stretching from Peachtree Creek on the south to West Paces Ferry Road on the north, from Northside Drive on the west to Peachtree Road on the east. My sense was that it went further east than just Peachtree Road. She gives it an area of some 4 square miles. She mentions Crawford-Long Hospital, where my first child was born. In 1907 the first trolle ...more
Tara Hall
Nov 12, 2012 Tara Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having come off another Siddons book just previous to this one, I had very high expectations. Peachtree Road satisfied most of them. I loved the main characters of Shep and Lucy from the first, and their glittering world of privilege—Shep’s without lifting a finger, and Lucy’s only through sheer determination. I loved the main supporting characters of Sarah, Charlie, Ben, Jack, Little Lady and even Jack’s forbidding parents and Lucy’s social climbing trash mother. There are at least 50 additiona ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Told (not entirely successfully) from a male point of view, Sheppard Gibbs Bondurant, aka Gibby, recounts his relationship with his cousin Lucy. Lucy came to live in Atlanta with her mother and baby brother when she was 5 and Gibby was 7; even then Lucy was haunted by nightmares and was a demanding and clinging child. They grew up in Atlanta society through the 50's and 60's Shep graduated from Princeton and got a job in New York City, vowing he would never return to live in Atlanta in spite of ...more
Jul 21, 2008 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing up in Atlanta off of Peachtree Road, a daughter of the book's generation of Southerners, I found this book compelling reading. Again and again it triggered stories about my grandfather. Although he came from the wrong side of the tracks and far too poor to be one of the "Buckhead boys" of the book, he pulled himself up by "his own bootstraps" to join the ranks of the powerful city aristocracy, especially in the political arena. The book helped me understand my own heritage in new ways, e ...more
Stacy Genobles
There's lots to dislike about this book. Main characters Shep (male cousin, narrator) and Lucy (repeatedly stated to be 2 years younger than Shep, moves in with Shep's wealthy family when her shiftless dad runs away)are selfish, incestuous, callous, co-dependent snobs. Lucy in particular is a delinquent.

Because Shep wuvs her so, he repeatedly defends Lucy's decisions. He describes Lucy as NEVER deliberately cruel, on a day when pre-teen Lucy sneers that their friend with a leg brace* (from chil
Pattye Meagher
I can generally count on enjoying every ARS novel I encounter but must admit that this one took some time. It was slow developing from the start and took me a while to find a cadence to story that I could follow. The relationship between Shep and Lucy was disturbing on more levels than I can possibly count and the way her level of disfunction clashes with that of Shep's Mother are the dark cloud that will forever cast the shadow over his already doomed life. I had difficulty imagining how a five ...more
Natasja Holben Handy
I reserve 5 stars only for my absolute all-time favorites, so 4 stars is still pretty great. This is nuanced classic southern literature, a la Pat Conroy and it both troubled and captivated me. It felt unusual that Rivers' narrator was male, and perhaps why the book is so compelling. It delves deep into his psyche and pulls things out that are unfamiliar though a females voice and downright unexpected by a man. I really appreciate what this book brought to the table.
Apr 19, 2008 Johanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Johanna by: Vicki Frantz
This is one I plan to read again. It's another of those grand southerns stories in the tradition of Pat Conroy or even Margaret Mitchell. The backdrop is beautiful and the story interesting (and just scandalous enough to be fun...but not to much!) It definitely reinforces the stereotype that those genteel southerners have a lot of skeletons in the closet.

My favorite of her books.
Jun 24, 2009 Tori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
one of my alltime favorite books; written from the point of view of a man (unusual for this author), Shep, growing up in Buckhead in the 50's and 60's - follows his life and the life of his cousin, Lucy - really interesting since I live in Atlanta - one of my favorite authors and this is my favorite books of hers
Claire Fullerton
Jun 18, 2015 Claire Fullerton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
There's no other way to say it,"Peachtree Road" is the written word at its finest; 797 pages of evocative, soul-stirring wonder written in a first person voice that laughs in the face of lesser writers adhering to the widely, overemphasized and uninspired writing rule of "show, don't tell." This book tells, and it does so fearlessly in a voice that could only come from a blue-blooded insider coming of age in 1960's Atlanta. Without judgment or condescension, and more in the vein of an objective ...more
Feb 20, 2010 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley by:
I love this author, but this was the first book of her's that I could not finish. The main character's long trains of thought and observations were so mind-numbingly dull and tedious that I had to put the book down. A big disappointment from an otherwise great author.
Mary Jo
Nov 30, 2008 Mary Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a big fan of Siddons for many years. Peachtree Road is the first book of hers that I read, and I absolutely loved it. Maybe it's because most of her stories center around the Atlanta area and I love Atlanta. Who knows? Peachtree Road is a GREAT read!
Apr 16, 2007 Julz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
This was her best novel, in my opinion. Richly drawn characters, and a setting that not only impacts, but drives the plot. It makes me want to visit Atlanta and see the homes, but I have a feeling they've probably all been razed to build office buildings by now!
Jessica McArthur
I gave this book 2 stars only because it read well. It was the most horrible story line I have ever read. Depressing morbid lack of hope. Good characters that should have a lot going for them and the author just spins out nothing. It was sad on so many levels. I love Southern literature. The good old southern towns that speak of the old elegance and grace and etiquette and this book had all the ingredients for that but somehow came out with terrible tasting disturbing grossness instead. It start ...more
Kitty Tomlinson
Dec 30, 2008 Kitty Tomlinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haunting tale of first cousins Shep Bondurant and Lucy Bondurant Venable told against the backdrop of coming-of-age Atlanta. Excellent read.
Jul 14, 2008 Higgins148 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best first line I've ever read--"The south started killing Lucy Bondurant the day she was born. It does that to all it's women>"
Jan 09, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't stop reading this book. I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning to finish it. It's great! Heart-wrenching but great!
Jan 08, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an Atlanta resident, I enjoyed this beautifully written book full of vivid depictions of old Buckhead money and the gentrification of the area. The story of Shep and Lucy and the aging of the young Buckhead crowd takes place alongside the changing Atlanta landscape. The lush and secluded mansions are soon surrounded by towering skyscrapers and foreigners and outsiders take over Buckhead's upper crust. Lucy is a character I wanted to hate but she seems so tortured inside that I can't help pity ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Southern novel in the vein of Pat Conroy. It was full of secrets - I liked it.
Jul 19, 2015 JanieceK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love history, geneology, background descriptions and Atlanta BUT the first hundred pages of this book was just a little bit too much. I had to force myself to press on. I'm glad I did because I could relate to some of it. What I have learned from personal experience is that a person cannot use another person unless that person allows it. Lucy was a user of the first order. The title of the book could have been "The Enabling of Lucy." I liked the book and the way it ended so I'm glad I finished ...more
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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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