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Off Season

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  4,287 ratings  ·  774 reviews



Acclaimed novelist Anne Rivers Siddons's new novel is a stunning tale of love and loss.


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 ro
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)
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Averill Summer I agree with your comments, Elaine Valente. I had to reread the last chapter and epilogue, but still found them both very confusing and not clear.…moreI agree with your comments, Elaine Valente. I had to reread the last chapter and epilogue, but still found them both very confusing and not clear. Glad I wasn't the only one!(less)
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Community Reviews

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Annie
I was breezing along with this book, thinking it was a light, fluffy, slightly overwrought novel until I got to the last thirty pages or so. Huh? What happened?! Why did it end so abruptly and strangely? Why were the loose ends not tied up (who was "D" from New Mexico?)?

I am literally going back today to read the final pages again to see if I missed something---and to see if I get what happened at the end.

Kellie
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Denise
The unusual ending - Seems to me there are some snafus there. David is Cam's son, lives in a double-wide trailer down the bay a bit, therefore making him known to the locals. If he looks exactly like Cam, they would have known whose son he was....so why does Laurie not prepare Lilly for that? Lilly could have run into him at any time during her rambles. Snafu 2: Why the letters to Cam from Santa Fe if David lives in Maine? Snafu 3: David obviously has a relationship with Cam, therefore he has to ...more
Khutala
I enjoyed reading the book all the way up until the last third when the novel started to go down-hill, then the clincher- the ending was horrible. The entire book is built on the development of various relationships between the main character, Lily, and other people in her life. Most of the relationships are clearly painted and the interactions between the characters helps the reader to bond. Despite the fact that Siddons sets up the relationship between Lily and her husband as being one of the ...more
Donna
I have read most of Siddon's novels -- I would put this one somewhere near the top. After the death of her husband, Lilly returns to the scene of her childhood summers on the coast of Maine. Well-developed characters, a story we can relate to, and Siddon's talent for creating a scene so vividly that it truly surrounds you. She brings childhood in the time of Kennedy's Camelot to life.......even tho I would have liked an ending that was less abrupt.
Rhonda
I toyed between giving this 2 starts or three stars. MOST of the book was really good, and then there was the ending. My mother-in-law was reading this same book at the same time, and neither one of us has any clue what the ending meant. We are confused.
Like I said, good book, bad ending.
Melissa Norton
I am a big fan of Ms Siddons, and this one of her stronger works, reminiscent of 'Colony' in setting and characterization but on a smaller scale, and with a bit of a polarizing twist at the end.
Lilly Constable McCall's beloved husband Cam has died unexpectedly, and Lilly journeys from their Tidewater Virginia home to her family's summer home, Edgewater, near Bar Harbor, Maine. As she comes to terms with the loss of Cam, flashbacks tell Lilly's story. The summer she was eleven, the tranquility an
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Laurel-Rain
Off Season is a beautiful rendering of one family, the connections between its members, and the flawed relationships created by secrets and betrayal.

When Lilly Constable McCall loses her husband Cam, to an untimely death, she escapes to the family’s summer home on the coast of Maine. It is here that all of her memories, both beautiful and painful, descend…

It all washes over her, just as the coastal tides sweep the shores---memories of beautiful family vacations, childhood friendships, first love
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Rachelle Ayala
Anne Rivers Siddons does it again. She spins a captivating tale of a young girl whose honeyed childhood ends in the tragic death of her first love, then cocoons her through years of protective denial, a fantasy like marriage to a Jamie Fraser lookalike, only to throw a shocker at the end with an ugly twist guaranteed to puncture the reader's sense of fairness.

I loved the descriptions of the Maine seashore, the breathing of the ocean, the wildlife, the ospreys, and the scents and taste of the sum
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Beth
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Bxrlover
Having recently finished " Sweetwater Creek", I was anxious to read another ARS novel, but cannot say that I am enjoying this one at all. Her writing style reminds me of Sue Monk Kidd, whom I adore, but this one is irritating me.

Like others have mentioned, I think talking animals are silly and better suited to stories aimed at an audience of 4-8 year olds, not adults.

The characters come off as contrived and although I loved the attention to atmospheric detail in "Sweetwater", it's wearing thin n
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Kim Justice
Ack! What happened here? Prior to this book, I've loved ARS's work. As a rule, I find them gripping, the setting pulls me in, and the characters force me to believe in them. However, Off Season was a great disappointment to me. It was slow going at first, but did get better. The first half seemed terribly disjointed from the second until about the last 30 or so pages, and then once the parts of Lily's life started getting entangled with each other, the story took an odd, almost paranormal sort o ...more
Becky
Wow, what a story!

There was a time very early in my marriage that I couldn't even fathom a world without Brad. He's my true North, and I would feel lost and anxious whenever separated too long. It has taken a lifetime of marriage to understand these deep, precious feelings. Some might call it love, but I think it is something so much deeper, a sentient far more complicated.

These feelings, the lifetime of Lilly Constable, that are explored by Siddons in this tender, passionate tale about growing
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Susan
The best of this book was the consistent need the protagonist has to be one with nature, whether it was air or water, she was bound to it inextricably. The love story was profound, the family story wry and moving, the drama a little slow at times, but the ending was a surprise, almost too much of one...I like the anticipation or at least the sense that there is a "mystery", this conclusion just appeared and left me unsettled.
But the settings in D.C. and Maine were very engaging and the cabin in
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Chris
I need to be knocked upside the head to remind myself that neither Anne Rivers Siddons nor Elizabeth Berg is worth reading anymore. I've taken to reading several random pages of a book in the store to get a feel for the writing and whether there's going to be objectionable content in the books - even by authors that I've previously really enjoyed. This book wasn't objectionable as much as it was just depressing. I hung in there 2/3 of the book just hoping that something positive or happy would h ...more
Margaret
Oct 11, 2008 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Anne River Siddons never disappoints with her books. though this one is set in Maine instead of the South you get a sense of how much she loves nature and how good her descriptions are. Her Characters are well developed also. it begins with Lily as a young girl and that first love. Remember that feeling? she goes on to marry and have a loving family but when her husband dies you get the feeling all was not as it appeared. she goes back to the childhood cabin to spread his ashes and come to grips ...more
Kelly Ohl
This book is about Lilly and going through her life journey with her from 11 until death. It is a hard read to get into at first, and until page 80 or so it's a struggle, at least for me, to really feel out the characters.

Some you really never do.

Lilly lost her first love, Jon, when she was 11 due to his drastic suicide when he found out through a girl jealous of Lilly and Jon's relationship what Jon's father had hid from him all these years, he was part Jewish decent, which back in those times
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Amy
Hmmm...I really really like her writing style...love her descriptions of life on the Maine coast (makes me want to vacation there), but the problem I have is that all of her books are so similar. This one is like Colony (one of my all time favs)...I knew about 1/3 through the book what was going to happen with some of the characters. I guess that is not a bad thing, but it really bothered me. It's the story of a woman, Lilly, whose husband Cam has just died. She drives up to their family home in ...more
Amanda
This is a book I would have never normally pick up and read but I thought, what the hey...it's summer, it's a summer book...why not. All in all, it's not my type of book. But it's not horrible and I did finish it.

Recently widowed, Lilly is going back (with her husband Cam's ashes) to their summer house on the coast of Maine. She needs some time alone, away from her daughters and grandchildren, to reminisce and remember.

Flashback to Lilly as an eleven year-old and all the events that happened in
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Anne
Aug 21, 2008 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to Anne by: Book Club
I loved this book. In the beginning of the book I was a little put off that Lilly and her dead husbands cat communicated but most of the story is in the past and it turns out to be such a nostalgic coming of age story in the kennedy era and the civil rights movement. Anne Rivers Siddons love of nature is evident through out the story. From Maine to Washington Lilly's earlier years are spent in coastal maine with her loving mother and father in the summer lilly explores the seaside with a gang of ...more
Diane Chamberlain
Well, I get the ending. At least, I get what it means to me, and it tied everything together for me. To me, this was a woman's journey through a deep, deep grief. The loss of her husband brought back her grief over losing her mother and her first young love, John. Grief can sometimes make you crazy, and I believe that's what we were seeing in Lily. The talking cat bugged me to pieces until I could attribute it to Lily's grief. Whether this is how Rivers Siddons intended her story to be interpret ...more
Elizabeth
This one wrung me out emotionally, but I couldn't put it down. Beautifully engaging with larger than life, yet flawed, characters who are, in many ways like parts of ourselves or people we've known. A love story in the tradition of The Titanic -- unrealistic, perhaps, but haunting nonetheless. Anne Rivers Siddons captures the imagery of place as beautifully as the best writers. In this case, it is coastal Maine, and her readers can feel the sting of the ocean spray, smell the ocean air, and expe ...more
Martha Newman
This was a magnificent and moving book and I loved it. Highly recommend it!

Here is the synopsis:

"Acclaimed novelist Anne Rivers Siddons's new novel is a stunning tale of love and loss.

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 fav
...more
Lynne Spreen
I was vacationing at Jekyll Island, Georgia. At the bookstore on the island, I asked for some Anne Rivers Siddons, knowing her books would be an awesome choice for my visit. I bought Off Season and my traveling buddy bought Burnt Mountain by the same author. We read them and at the end of our trip, switched. A fun way to immerse oneself in the Georgia low country.

I had read a bunch of ARS' books years ago and loved them, but after the first heady half-dozen, I felt disappointed. Her stories were
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Holli
I really enjoyed this novel about a woman and her life and how intertwined that was with the wonderful setting of coastal Maine. The author puts you right there with her in her summer home with the bay and the cliffs and the ospreys... you feel her joys and her pains and the loves she had in her lifetime. VERY good novel... fully enjoyed it.
Judy
SPOILER ALERT I thought the ending a bit of a reach. I have so man rambling thoughts. Are we to assume that Jon's "ghost" saved Lily twice from breathlessness? And she "gave back the breath" because she did not want to live any more? Or are we to believe she would be with her first love Jon? Or do I chalk her death up to shock? Most people have a soft spot for their first love ...but really Lily was just 11 and only knew Jon for a few weeks. Also 11 and 12 year old kids do not talk the way the a ...more
Kristy Trauzzi
I really really think I should start spending way more time reading the backs of books and going "What does this mean?" Cuz, I was reading this book and going ok. What is going on? I'm not hearing really anything about this long, loving marriage. And then I reread the back and it was like well, meh, kinda, ok. But I think you're misleading me. Either that or stop reading the back altogether and getting the story I get.

I loved Jon. He was just so cute. I would be ok with someone like him liking m
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Cheryl
OFF SEASON is a story about a woman's life from a young girl to adulthood, particularly relating to her time at the family's summer lake home throughout the years. There were moments of greatness in this book, but overall there were many holes and inconsistencies. The first segment relates the early life of Lilly and was, in my opinion, the least authentic in the book. In this section, the author had to lay out a lot of the background elements of the family, the community, and the cultural dynam ...more
Readingmom
Beautifully written, as I think all her books are. Thought provoking and time specific. The author's ability to really delve into the emotions and feelings of certain of the main characters is what I find facinating. I could really feel Lily's emotions as she traveled through childhood to adulthood. Can you imagine her shock at finding out her beloved husband was not in fact what she thought? I believe that was her demise! No, the book isn't confusing at all - of course David is Cam and Peaches ...more
~mad
Jul 29, 2011 ~mad rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah, Donna, Rise - other Southern Girls
Shelves: booksiveread
I read Burnt Mountain and then, Off Season back-to-back. I devoured both. If you read the reviews on Amazon.com, there is much complaining about characters undeveloped, too much mysticism and infidelity. I take note, but, still, I could not put either of these books down.
I have read all but one of ARS's books...just not her non-fiction, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry.

Some of her stories are just short of odd. She finds some storylines that just confound me. But fiction is just that - fiction. I r
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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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More about Anne Rivers Siddons...
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“Anyone who has lost a love to death can tell you about that fall. You wake from a hard-won sleep and be there warm and groggy and consider engaging the day. And then you remember. Half of you is not there, and never will be again. The person who focused all the disparate parts of you into a whole is gone. The agony is too much; you almost welcome the great slide ahead of you. But there is no oblivion in it. Only blackness and an endless well of red pain.” 5 likes
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