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4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  8,169 Ratings  ·  267 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
Paperback, 640 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1992)
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Feb 16, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2015 D Thasfun rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 27, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
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
Madi J
Jul 02, 2013 Madi J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
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
Heather Gilbert
Apr 02, 2015 Heather Gilbert rated it it was amazing
Read this in college and honestly, the characters have stayed with me throughout my life. A bit graphic at times, but the plot is truly spellbinding and you can't stop till you reach the (bitter? happy? I won't tell!) end. Love the way Siddons throws in twists you can't see coming. This is one of the few books I re-read periodically.
Sep 21, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
My high school English teacher gave me this book to read - and I loved it. I think it is Anne Rivers Siddons masterpiece.
Jun 18, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I go back and read this every few years. I can just put myself there on the coast of Maine.
Jan 21, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
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
Feb 08, 2009 Sheri rated it liked it
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
Jul 19, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-reads
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
Jun 24, 2008 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Claire Fullerton
Aug 02, 2015 Claire Fullerton rated it it was amazing
Colony is another tightly crafted novel by the inimitable Anne Rivers Siddons, whose intimate narrative shines through in this expose on summer life in an insular, cloistered colony on the untamed coast of Maine. Maude Gascoigne is nineteen and fresh from the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina when her new husband, Peter Chambliss, takes her home for the summer to his family's vacation cottage in an exclusive enclave populated by the East Coast privileged. It is here she goes toe to toe wit ...more
Sep 01, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
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
Sep 09, 2014 Chelsey rated it it was amazing
Set in a small colony of cabins off the coast of (wild and beautiful) Maine, COLONY tracks the lives of a handful of families who have shared this hidden gem of a place for generations, returning every summer and leaving just after Labor Day. Four generations pass through the small retreat of cabins by the sea, and life, love, death and heartbreak follow them through it to no end. This book captures everything that defines a life, and makes you reevaluate how you see the world. In a time (and ge ...more
Jun 18, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Although this was heavy and dark at times, I really enjoyed reading this book. Siddons does a phenomenal job developing the characters and making me feel as if I had been plopped down right into the story along with them. She writes so beautifully. The words flow effortlessly across the page and I found myself completely lost within the story. My only complaint is that I wish there had been just a little more light in the story to help balance out the dark a bit. I felt overwhelmed by it at time ...more
May 06, 2012 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 500-plus-pages
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
Oct 19, 2014 Alisa rated it really liked it
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
Sep 23, 2014 Patsy rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2014 Barbara Prest rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 24, 2015 Furrawn rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books by this author. Family dynamics are dissected and put on display for all to see here. What happens when a child and mother don't bond. How do families encompass love and hate at the same time. How do they cope with tragedy? Joy? How do the generations intermingle and affect one another?

Perfectly wonderful book. Easy to fall into like a pool book except this is absolutely literature.
Mar 02, 2009 Tama rated it really liked it
Shelves: pleasure
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.
Carolyn F.

Thank goodness this was abridged! So melodramatic. And the granddaughter Darcy, why give it up when she knows what horrible things will happen? So therefore, I thought at the end of the book, "They're all screwed." Not a nice way to think of what is going to happen next. 2-1/2 stars
Jul 07, 2014 Dale rated it it was amazing
First read this in original first edition hardback. Remembered it fondly and pulled it off my shelf and re-read it a few years ago. Classic Anne Rivers Siddons, never fails to entertain and keep your interest!
May 20, 2016 Bibliophile rated it it was ok
I had to double check to make sure this really was written in 1992. It reads more like a product of the fifties with its stereotyping. Men are weak and can't help themselves (infidelity, attempted rape, domestic abuse), so the women must be strong and suffer stoically (their reward is to become queen bee of the sea resort and rule over seating arrangements). Also, they must fight the forces of evil Jezebels who try to steal their feckless husbands.

I knew this wasn't for me, but one becomes desp
Mar 10, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2008 Lorraine Monakey rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 09, 2009 UpstateNYgal rated it really liked it
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.
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Did anyone else think Maude was wrong to keep her family in Retreat? 2 18 Oct 19, 2014 08:08AM  
  • September
  • Starting Over
  • Plantation (Lowcountry Tales, #2)
  • Sweetgrass
  • Homecoming
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • The Copper Beech
  • Errands
  • A Summer in the Country
  • Evil Twins: Chilling True Stories of Twins, Killing and Insanity
  • A Little Death
  • His Other Wife
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...” 25 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.” 15 likes
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