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Up Island

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  5,078 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews

From childhood, Molly Bell Redwine was taught by her charismatic, domineering mother that "family is everything." But no one warned Molly that family can change unexpectedly. In rapid succession, her husband of more than twenty years abandons her for a younger woman, her mother dies, and her Atlanta clan scatters to the four winds. Molly is set adrift in a heartbeat.


Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30)
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Russell Sanders
Apr 29, 2014 Russell Sanders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beware of preconceived notions. When I pulled the battered copy of Up Island from a box of discarded books a friend had asked me to disperse, I saw the author’s name. Anne Rivers Siddons? Isn’t she a romance writer? Or does she do quick-read shallow best sellers? But reading the jacket flap, I saw the novel was set in Atlanta (I love anything set in the South) and in Martha’s Vineyard (a place that is as exotic to me as Afghanistan.) So I pulled the book and placed it on my “to-read” shelf. Some ...more
Edith Le sann
Nov 17, 2012 Edith Le sann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never read A.R. Siddons' books before. In fact, I don't have much experience with this type of fiction at all.

I am SO GLAD I found this book. It is so beautiful. It's also sometimes very ugly, very human. It is complex and emotional.

The main character is an early middle-age housewife and socialite from upper-middle class Atlanta, Georgia, whose comfortable life goes into a tailspin after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. The only aspect of her that I could possibly relate to is t
Oct 16, 2009 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I started out really liking this book, but in the end it was just kind of meh. I felt like it went on FOREVER. How long does it take to get to the inevitable conclusion, the one you knew it was going to get to from page 1? Sheesh.

Also, I thought the dream sequences with her dead mother were a really bizarre thing to focus on. And the romance that developed in the book was a real head scratcher (although I could see it coming from a mile away and kept thinking, "please don't get these people toge
Jul 21, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a rather dark story. I struggled to keep reading, but in the end finished the book, and I'm glad I did.
Nov 03, 2007 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2014 Hilary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a charity shop and reckon I got the book deal of the year. It was one of 'two for £1.25' and I don't remember better value for money. I loved it and as a bonus it was in great condition!

An author new to me, Anne Rivers Siddons told the story beautifully. I love words and phrases in their own right not just as part of a story, as I guess most readers do and there was so much here in which to delight. The characters were real, flaws and all. From the discovery and shock of inf
Nov 15, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Molly Bell Redwine has had the mantra 'family means everything' instilled in her from early childhood by her charismatic, demanding mother. But in what seems like a single instant, Molly's world is tilted on its axis and she is shaken to her very core by the aftermath. When her husband of more than twenty years leaves her for a much younger woman, Molly's world crumbles around her. She is devastated to learn that the "Other Woman" has stepped in to Molly's life and essentially replaced her - mov ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were parts of this book that I hated, and parts that I loved. Up Island doesn’t leave me unmoved, that’s for sure! I thank the author for bringing to life such genuine characters. Honestly, almost everyone in this story is either irritating or selfish, naïve, mean, sad, depressing, spiteful – and I can go on and on.. Except at the end, those few Ponders who come to Molly's aid, finally to assist her in caring for their own estranged relatives – a bit late, but nevertheless – they felt more ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written and moving tale about a woman whose husband leaves her for someone else. Then her mother dies.

The thing is, I don't think this book is so much about divorce as it is about identity. Not just the way people identify you, but, more importantly, the way you identify yourself and what roles you play with the people around you. When something happens and you lose some of these labels and roles, it can be quite a struggle to define yourself to yourself and learn to live with your change
Summer read with a predictable plot about a southern woman whose husband leaves her for a younger version. She spends the summer recovering and rebuilding her life on Martha's Vineyard with many references to a thinly disguised Chappy Beach Club, Edgartown and Vineyard life in general. Siddons is a good writer and her prose and plot lines are engaging.
My favorite part of the book was the reference to the swans Up Island near Chilmark where she spends the winter. Swans mate for life. The female
Cat Treadwell
May 07, 2012 Cat Treadwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book does indeed stay with you. At first, it seems like a standard tale of a woman’s failed marriage and her quest for meaning… but then it quickly moves deeper, following that quest, but proving how each and every character is hiding something from themselves, for various reasons.

Depression, pain and love are all major themes covered in depth, and it has made me think about all three, a fact which alone makes it more than worth reading. The beautiful Southern style of realism versus romanc
Jun 23, 2014 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about the re-defining of family, from one extreme to another.
Jul 21, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading Anne Rivers Siddons stories. I love the world she takes me to. This is the second book of hers I've read and I plan to read a lot more. I like the way she contrasts the development of the seasons and nature with her story and characters.

The main character, Molly, was entirely believable to me. I've known women like her - the author's description of her denial behavior in coping with the difficulties she encounters is so real. Molly drove me crazy in places because it was obvious
Starts out as the typical blue-print for a contemporary novel; Suburban wife is left by husband, runs off to vineyard to lick her wounds and find inner healing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the uniqueness and depth of this book, despite the cliches.
At first, I was slightly disappointed by the initial shallowness of the plot and characters...
but the more the story developed, the more human it became. Although this is marketed as a beach read, and follows many of those tropes, it tackles a lot o
Colleen Lahey
Jul 14, 2012 Colleen Lahey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anne Siddons does an excellent job exploring complex, relationships in this book. Molly finds out that her husband is cheating on her and he effectively pushes her out of her own home in Atlanta so his new fiance can move in. Molly finds temporary housing in Martha's Vineyard up island. There she agrees to help care for two elederly ladies, their son who has cancer and has lost a leg and two swans. In the meantime, her mother dies and her father and her dog, Lazurus join her on the island. This ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Lynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just did not like this book in the least! I am stubborn so when I start something I want to finish it but I thought about giving up on this book more than once! The author uses pompous language like "He obviously was not in immediate extremis" and several reference to flotsam and jetsam to describe the debris of the main character's life but this main character was anything but pompous. She was almost cowardly and childlike. An ostrich wanting to bury her head in the sand. The ending provided ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Barner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novel, published in 1997. The plot is one that is not surprising, some of the characters are rather grotesque on first meeting, but the general idea of putting aside one's pain (loss of spouse, divorce, illness) by thinking of others is a good one. The dreams Molly has about her dead mother did not strike me as real at all, but the other configurations I could believe. The swans are important: they mate for life and bring such joy to the characters, giving them release just by the ...more
Jul 16, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. An easy summer read. I could identify with the main character in that I've never felt complete unless I was caring for someone else and taking care of their needs. The book brought the main character through betrayal and pain, and their immediate consequences, to eventual healing.
Feb 04, 2011 Jeri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeri by: bridge group
Shelves: f-women
middle aged woman in Atlanta torn apart when her husband, a coca cola executive announces he wants to marry a younger woman. Fleeing to Martha's Vineyards at the suggestion of a friend just for the summer, she remains there and finds herself and others....a book to make you laugh and cry and laugh some more.
Jun 27, 2007 ~mad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksiveread
7.8.16 - reading this again after finishing PEACHTREE ROAD earlier in the day.

Love her words. Must finish to see why I gave it only three stars previously in 2008!

Finished 7.10.16 - just a great read - why do good uthor hav to age and/or die? ARS, Pat Conroy...
Aug 12, 2011 Ginger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I read anything by this author. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy her books. Wonderful story about healing, making unlikely friends and finding yourself after life throws you so many unexpected things.
Sep 12, 2009 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written story that includes swans, Portugese women, a one-legged schoolteacher and the backdrop of Martha's Vineyard. I've never been there, but I could almost believe I had after reading this.
Apr 05, 2011 Crestina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly good read. I did not expect to read it in just three days considering that the author is not familiar to me. I like the dialogue and the flow of the story.
B. Lynn
Sep 04, 2010 B. Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siddons' descriptions are exquisite.
Carolyn Bowen
Mar 09, 2017 Carolyn Bowen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Southern tale that asks the question "How do you cope with life events that throw you for a loop?" You will love the Southern drawl and the vivid imagery of places the main character visited. There are some interesting plot twists that keep the mystery alive and enjoyable to read.
Linda K. Melzer
Dec 26, 2016 Linda K. Melzer rated it it was amazing
Second time around and it's still a favorite.

The first part of the book seems to drag along a bit (after all it is the second reading) and not to lay blame on Ms Siddons. Then it speeds up after Molly arrives on the island. It is quirky, sad and funny. I was disappointed that Molly wasn't able to follow up on her love affair with Dennis. I definitely wasn't ready to end. I definitely will be ready to read it again in another few years!
Feb 21, 2017 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After being maybe halfway through the book I started to think this was not an Anne Rivers Siddons novel, but it was. Different region, characters, and life issues were captured in this book. I enjoyed it and loved that it ended as a true Anne Rivers Siddons novel - feeling good
Apr 22, 2007 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I go to the library with my long list of books to read, and my tiny-town library has not a single title in evidence, I usually browse the shelves and pick up things randomly. This was one of those books.

I do have a process (shocking, I'm sure). It's not totally random. I look for authors by whom the library has a stocked a lot of books. This means people like this author. They want to read more. I discovered Elizabeth Berg this way, and the delightful Miss Julia series. Yes, I said delightf
Claire Fullerton
Once again, Anne River Siddons delivers a novel of insight and personal evolution, wherein there is little action but much discovery. The plot can be summed up by saying a Southern woman, set in the predictable rhythm of a life defined by those around her (parents, husband, children) has her life upturned when her husband strays, and goes to visit a friend in Martha's Vineyard. Fearful, awkward, and unused to change, Molly Redwine fends for herself for the first time in her life. This book reads ...more
Michele Grant
Aug 15, 2016 Michele Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this novel is almost twenty years old it is insightful as to the makeup of most women. A caretaker is a person who "takes care of a vulnerable person, often times a relative." Molly Redwine is a caretaker. She has adopted this persona at a young age and continues this behaviour into midlife, where the story begins.

Molly is a Atlanta native living the quintessential upper class life. She volunteers for many charitable organizations, is a dutiful wife and daughter, loyal friend and ideal
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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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“You never, never ask a young man to take you anywhere, Molly. It’s cheap. It sounds desperate. It sounds like you can’t get a date any other way. With your height and those big breasts, you’re always going to have to be careful not to look desperate. A real beauty can get away with it, maybe, but the rest of us ordinary girls have to be very, very careful not to look desperate.” 1 likes
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