Low Country
by Anne Rivers Siddons
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Meet Carolyn Venable. She was born and raised in South Carolina. She is married to Clay Venable, who owns and operates a successful resort development company. While Clay travels around the country, creating these fabulous vacation spots, Carolyn spends time on the island that was passed down to her from her grandfather.

Carolyn has battled some demons in her life. Her daughter, Kylie died when she was just ten years old. Carolyn still has trouble coming to grips with the sailboat accident, and she drinks sometimes to numb her pain. She also spends a lot of time on her island. It is where she feels Kylie's presence. She also has a lot of love for the land where she grew up.

To Carolyn, this island is very special. There are fragile coastal marshes, wild ponies, and a Gullah community that has gone virtually unchanged for 100 years.

While she has hidden in the safety of her "good wife" fog for several years, Carolyn suddenly finds her island in jeopardy. It is in danger of being mowed down as a tribute to "progress." Knowing that her livelihood depends on Clay's resort developments, Carolyn attempts to understand that her island, as well as her heritage may be vanishing right before her eyes.

Low Country is the story of Carolyn Venable and her attempt to find the meaning of her life. She confronts her drinking habit. She also confronts her inability to let her dead daughter go. Lastly, she confronts her husband Clay. Would he really develop this beautiful Southern island and render the Gullah culture extinct?

In my opinion, this was quite a moving story. There are so many emotional elements. Being a mother myself, I can't imagine losing a child.

I also related to the impending destruction of nature's beauty for the sake of vacation properties. Hell, I live in Southern California. Here, residential developments are named for the very elements their construction destroys.

Low Country is different from Ms. Siddons other books. This one just seemed very emotional to me. I have a feeling Ms. Siddons is witnessing the destruction in the name of progress. In an attempt to preserve all that is Southern and adored, Ms. Siddons wrote this book.

Each reader will perceive the story differently. Your impression will be based on your own experiences in life. How do you feel about the area in which you live? Is there ongoing construction there and does it bother you? How is your marriage? Your job? Your family? You see, we all have different lives. Therefore, we will react to the character of Carolyn Venable differently.

I have read many of Ms. Siddons earlier books. The last one I read, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry was rather boring, in my opinion. I enjoyed Hill Towns, Fault Lines and Up Island. I thought Colony was too depressing and didn't finish it.

I would have to say Low Country is one of Ms. Siddons better books. It is nice to know that her work improves with time. I look forward to reading any novels she writes in the future.



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If you like Siddons' work, you might want to read:
Captain Saturday
Captain Saturday
by Robert Inman