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3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  4,451 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
Anny Butler is a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changes when she meets and marries Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon fifteen years older than Anny. When they marry, she finds her family—not a traditional one, but a group of C ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by HarperTorch (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Gatlianne Gatlianne
Nov 30, 2013 Gatlianne Gatlianne rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
I finished this book because the cover said "National Best Seller" and I thought - there has to be a reason this book is a best seller so I'm going to finish it!

I closed the book when I was finished thinking - nope - there wasn't a reason. People must have bought it for the author's name.

This is the second Siddons book I've read. I wasn't pleased with the first either. When the story started out in "Islands" I thought it had potential. I was in the world of Charleston and I learned a few things
Aug 22, 2012 Tarah rated it really liked it

I have had this book for years now and kept reading the story synopsis then would put it back on the bookshelf, finally I was all out of other books so read this. Wow did I ever waste time waiting! This book was great, such a journey through life with all the characters. Never thought the ending would be so twisted but clever and it also answered questions u had throughout the story. What a wonderful book, tears and laughter, I really became invested in the characters! Loved it!
May 10, 2009 Mike rated it did not like it
So, how do you write a review for a book for whom you clearly weren’t the intended audience, but you read it anyway? I read it because I was curious about the genre, even though I can’t really say what the genre is. I’m not even sure I know what the theme of the book was. It seems, on the surface, to be about the very ordinary lives of members of Charleston’s privileged society. When I was growing up, one of the favorite jokes in my house was how unrealistic television families were. But, we’d a ...more
Jul 02, 2009 Dana rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I didn't care much for this book. I didn't feel she went into detail enough about any of the characters. I felt more like the places were the main characters instead of the people. I didn't like the characters, I found them to be weird. A group of successful people with lots of money, several homes and families but they were all obsessed with an old dilapidated beach house and the crazy possessive Camilla. None of them seemed to have a connection with or cared much for their children or grand ch ...more
Nov 26, 2009 Peg rated it it was ok
I'm not sure the review I wrote went through, so I thought I would try again. This book seemed to go on and on with little real purpose. It is a story about a group of people, several of whom have known each other since childhood, who own a beach house together on Sullivan Island near Charleston, SC. The setting was interesting to me because we visited that area earlier this year.

The group vows that they will love and care for each other forever. Through the various tragedies and stages of their
Jul 31, 2010 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fiction
Islands is the second title I have read by ARS (Sweetwater Creek being the first). I did not enjoy this storyline and was disappointed with the ending. Islands follows the lives of the "Scrubs", 4 Charleston couples who are close friends and in my opinion - way too needy of each other. They all own antiqudated old homes, as well as other assorted houses, but find they are most happy at the beach house. The story follows them through the times that they spend together at the beach house and the L ...more
Cynthia Thomason
Feb 27, 2012 Cynthia Thomason rated it liked it
I am a true Anne Rivers Siddons fan. I love most everything of hers I read. This book fell a little flat for me. It is written in the typical Siddons lyrical style with wonderful phrasing, elegant descriptions and her usual passion for her low country setting. My problem was with the plot which seemed to drag. I read to page 150 and stopped. I just wasn't engaged in what was going on with these characters. The initial romance was under developed. The group dynamics of the "Scrubs" was too narrow ...more
Dec 11, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
While reading this book I found myself longing for a group of friends that is displayed here. I was drawn into the relationships between them and the seemingly sustaining force between them. I enjoyed the dynamics between characters and the descriptions of the settings. The ending was surprising (which does not happen too often in books for me), and I enjoyed that. This book also displayes the goods and bads of deep relationships and the way the relationships develop and unfold.
Feb 08, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Anny Butler has always been a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as the director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a family of her own to care for. That all changes when she meets and marries Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon fifteen years Anny's senior.

When they marry, Anny finds her family - not a traditional one, but a group of childhood friends from Charleston who are inseparable; who are one another's surrogate fa
Jul 15, 2014 Kw rated it really liked it
I loved it. The prose is simply flawless as it soothes and sparkles and shines and just makes me feel good. I enjoyed the story, was astonished at the surprise ending, and feel as if I've OD'd on shellfish. The menus sound fattening, but the people never gain weight. And I really do hope that only imagined characters drink so much!
But still, its great. If you don't want to read it, at least read about Gladys' epiphany (page 233 in my copy) and the arrival of Gaynelle on the scene (p. 284). Wonde
Jul 31, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing
This is a book that is meant to be re-read, several times. It is a quiet, yet full read with unexpected turns. It is written with a love of land and architecture and explores themes of love, loss, friendship, masks, trust, aging... I think when I read it again, I will see new lessons and understand old ones more thoroughly. A gem!
Jan 21, 2015 Gina rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the book and what a wonderful surprise ending!
I would have given "Islands" 5 stars, but I don't like it when writers use God's name in vain. My goodness, I loss count of the times that I had to turn pages to avoid this profanity. It's not necessary to use these words in writing.
May 08, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it
This book was ridiculously well written! Wow! A bunch of friends, who call themselves the Scrubs due to all being in the medical field, make a promise to be there for each forever. They stay at the beach house each weekend and life happens all around them. Hurricanes, fires, deaths. Fabulously story of friendship and their chosen "family". But OMG, it has the surprise ending you will NOT see coming. Loved it, mixed feelings about the end but it reminded me of my friends and I since we always say ...more
Jul 09, 2016 Dee rated it it was ok
I used to consider myself an Anne Rivers Siddons fan, but this novel and the last one I read were merely okay, and I don't know if it's me changing or her.

This novel had lots of beautiful imagery in it. The downside was that the first 250 pages was basically backstory for the last 100 or so pages. I think she could have edited a lot more, retained the feeling of it, without having to tell us what happened over the past 20 years in slow progression. I kept waiting for "something" to happen, even
Claire Fullerton
Dec 20, 2015 Claire Fullerton rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, moving story of the bonds of friendship that change, adjust and accommodate the changing tides throughout decades, set in the low country in and around Charleston,South Carolina. Anny Butler is an outsider to a group of friends born to privilege. When she marries one of them, Lewis Aiken, her life shifts and her world opens up as she becomes one of them. Told in first person narrative through the scrim of an observer of Charleston's societal nuances, Anny catches everything, ...more
May 26, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio in the car and wonder if I'd have felt differently about it if I'd simply read it on my own. Kate Flemming with her southern drawl and inflections brings the scenes and characters of Charleston and its nearby islands to life in a way that might be missing if I myself were reading it. I very much enjoyed just being read to with this one.

That being said...this was my first experience with Anne Siddons and so I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed her descriptions of th
Bruce Smith
Aug 01, 2016 Bruce Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slice-of-life
Updated - Siddons does a great job of description. I've live along the coast in the south, and enjoy beach houses, salt marshes and swamps. I love them all. Her descriptions are spot on, and make me believe she has lived in these areas.

I wanted to like this book, but I had difficulty keeping interested in the middle. I almost stopped reading the story. I gave it another shot, and I'm glad I did. It all comes together at the end, and the second half turns it into a wonderful story.

The life she d
Sep 22, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
I enjoyed this. Some of the reviews said this was not Siddons best work. A story of long time friends enjoying their lives together and discovering one of them is a psychopath. The ending was and wasn't a surprise. Look forward to other works by Siddons.
A novel whose setting amid the swamps, on the beaches and in the historic, old city of Charleston entice and envelop the reader far more memorably than do the characters who people the novel. There's nothing really wrong with the characters, it's just the plot which they are given to act in is one tragic deus ex machina after another.
The characters are a very close knit group of four couples, most of whom are members of Charleston's social elite. The novel ends with a surprising revelation whic
Laura Hogensen
Nov 14, 2015 Laura Hogensen rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, audiobooks
Even though I've read so many of her books, that I've pretty much spotted ARS's formula and similar characterizations (wild women that don't seem to fit in that have a sexual awakening, not conventionally attractive yet magnetic and emotionally and sexually liberated men, complicated female characters with a damaging hidden darkness) this was still an enjoyable book. She really does have a gift for capturing the spirit of the south as a place as well as friendships between middle aged people. Al ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it
Touching, well written book about Charleston and its upper class. Anny, a nurturer, who raises her brothers and sisters because her single mother is a alcoholic at 35 meets Lewis, a doctor, divorced, rich, from the upper class and the man everyone wants to catch in Charleston. He loves Anny because she cares for others. Lewis belongs to a groups of friends who take Anny into their group. This group grew up together. They marry. Anny finds out how the rich live. Several surprised occur in the boo ...more
Jun 20, 2016 Pamela rated it it was ok
I have many books by this author and loved some of them. This was not one. The introduction is intriguing - who would not want to read about a group of privileged friends who share many years and memories? The setting is also appealing - as it is in the Low Country I thought it would be a perfect beach read while on vacation in Myrtle Beach. However, the story doesn't hold together and requires adding a colorful character late in the book to hold the reader's interest. Sadly, it's not too long b ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I read one of Siddons books. I liked the beginning and the main characters. But it involves so many characters that it took me a while to keep everyone straight. Maybe that would not be a problem with a print edition. I enjoyed the book along with the twists and turns that come along. It looks as though this is the first of a series and I'm not sure that I will read the others. However, I was in the Charleston area last year; so I have a good picture in my mind of the area- ...more
Jun 17, 2016 Debby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
WOW! Fantastic!! There's a mystery brewing throughout this story. The plot twist leading up to the end of this book was jaw-dropping. I didn't see it coming. I love when that happens.

If you are a fan of Lowcountry fiction, I HIGHLY recommend you read this book.
If you haven't read any Lowcountry fiction, but would like to start with a GREAT one, I HIGHLY recommend you read Islands.
Anne Rivers Siddons is a phenomenal storyteller; one of the best, in my opinion.
(Another great book by Siddons is
Dec 06, 2014 Janie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Oh. My. As I read this book, my first by Siddons, I kept thinking how I would scribble my thoughts about the book. At first, the book was okay and nicely written. Kind of hummmm. But then Siddons evidently was working her magic prose and pulled me in. I was so eager to finish tasks so I could grab a few extra minutes and pick the book up. Her character development is extraordinary. Her descriptions are realistic. Her vocabulary usage is smile-worthy; she's not a typical Southern fiction writer l ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
It takes a lot to ruffle Henry. She can do it, though. I always wondered, in a way, why he married her, aside from the fact that he’s crazy about her, of course. Henry needs a safe, sheltered harbor more than anybody else I know. He hasn’t had a whole lot of that with Fairlie. Of course, he’d never say so, but I’ve known him all my life. I know when he needs his home port.

And as the slow days burned toward October, Henry seemed to me to have achieved a fragile peace that I thought might
Leslie  Golden
Jul 07, 2013 Leslie Golden rated it really liked it
Some authors find a formula and stick to it come hell or high water. I think the publishing world encourages this. After all, if the first five books dealt with ABC culture and yielded a reasonable amount of sales, then five more books on the same culture should bring about the same amount of profit, right? Never mind that the formula stifles the author's creativity and muffles the reader's imagination, at least the book world isn't taking as big a risk. Well, for all of its flaws, I like Island ...more
Nov 07, 2013 Cathleen rated it liked it
I picked up "Islands' by Anne Rivers Siddons to try a new author unknown. While I enjoyed reading parts of "Islands" because it brought back memories of the time I lived in the Carolinas, the book was not that great of a read.

The main character, Anny Butler is the director of a Charleston children's welfare agency. While bringing a child to the clinic she meets her future husband. The author in introducing Lewis Aiken, described him as a womanizer. Anny and Lewis start dating and eventually get
Jan 14, 2012 Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Anny Butler is a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changes when she meets and marries Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon fifteen years older than Anny. When they marry, she finds her family-not a traditional one, but a group of Charleston childhood friends who are inseparable, who are one another's surrogate family. They are called the Scrubs, and they all ...more
Aug 23, 2008 Kellie rated it really liked it
Not the best but pretty good. There is always an interesting twist in her books. This is no exception. A bunch of friends all associated with medicine somehow, go thru the winter of their lives and try and help each other deal with aging and tragedy. The setting is the South Carolina coast. Anny Butler is a caretaker, a nurturer, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changes wh ...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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