by Anne Rivers Siddons

If some books are speedboats while others are tugs, ISLANDS
definitely tends toward the latter. It's as if the author was
suffering from a bad case of writer's block but kept putting words
to paper until she could break through it. This technique may be
therapeutic for the writer, but it can be tedious for the

Anne Rivers Siddons, author of 14 popular novels, has every right
to meander through 200 pages of prose and poetry extolling the
lifestyle of a group of old friends known as the Scrubs. Although
most of them are in helping professions, the Scrubs carry with them
an air of conceit and deceit that would not entice me to join

Woven into Anny Butler's memoir --- which recounts the
relationships among these old line Charlestonians and the
"outsiders" who married in --- are haunting legends, hints of
adultery, and mysterious fires and deaths that take their toll on
the group, both physically and emotionally. Yet through it all, the
love that they purportedly feel for one another helps them to heal
their wounds and keep their traditions alive.

The action and interest pick up near the end when Gaynelle Toomer
comes on the scene. She is described as a "Harley-riding librarian
with boobs like the front of a '53 Studebaker." And she can cook.
She answers an ad for a caregiver when Camilla, the one constant
strength of the Scrubs, finally succumbs to her osteoporosis and
can no longer walk or take care of her daily needs. Gaynelle also
sees things about the group that those in it are oblivious to and
she eventually reveals a plot twist that will surprise many and
send the reader flipping back through the book for missed

ISLANDS is strictly for die-hard fans of Siddons and for those who
share her nostalgia for island life in South Carolina. This is not
to say that mining through this mountain of verbiage won't yield a
few nuggets. However, if the book had started near the middle, it
would have yielded them a lot sooner.

by Anne Rivers Siddons

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2004
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0066211115
  • ISBN-13: 9780066211114