Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Beloved Author's Final Novel Not Up to Par

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Over the last fifteen years, four women have made it an annual tradition to gather at the beach for a week of R&R.  Dubbing themselves "The Girls of August," they have bonded over everything—from the woes of being doctors' wives to the trials of motherhood (and infertility) to the pains of aging.  When one of the women dies tragically, the group starts to drift apart, halting their cherished girls' weekends for years.  Then, the dead woman's widower remarries and his young bride insists on resurrecting the tradition in an attempt to become a "Girl" herself.  Reluctantly, the group gathers at a remote South Carolina island for a week's vacation.  Along with their beach umbrellas and bathing suits, the women have brought secrets, desperation, grief, and anger—ingredients that will make for a dramatic and unforgettable Girls of August reunion.

I've read and enjoyed a fair number of Anne Rivers Siddons books over the years and it makes me a little sad that the author will never write another (she died in 2019 at 83 years old).  So, when I saw Siddons' most recent book, The Girls of August (2014), in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble, I snatched it up.  Written when she was in her 70s, the tale is definitely not on par with those she penned in her earlier years.  Still, the novel bears evidence of Siddons' trademark warmth and wit.  The "Girls" are a likable lot, even if they're not fleshed out enough to feel like real people.  As far as plot goes, there's not much here, which makes the book a little dull.  In the past, I've found Siddons' novels sumptuous and immersive—this one isn't that way, although it worked for an easy, breezy summer read.  Although there's nothing memorable or outstanding about it, The Girls of August is an okay novel.  Far from Siddon's best, it is, sadly, her last.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of novels by Karen White, Dorothea Benton Frank, and Patti Callahan Henry)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Girls of August from Barnes & Noble with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

3 comments:

  1. Too bad this one didn't quite make it since she won't be writing any more.

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  2. Too bad this one didn't measure up to her earlier works. I didn't realize she had passed away. We lost a lot of authors I have enjoyed the last couple of years.

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  3. It's a shame when that happens. I remember a couple of my long-time favorite author's who probably should have put the cap tightly on the pen before they did. It's kind of like watching an old ballplayer who's lost a step but refuses to get off the playing field. It's both sad and kind of inspirational - if that's even possible.

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