Islands by Anne Rivers Siddons abounds with the rich culture of Charleston, South Carolina. From the first page, one feels drawn into the story of its narrator, Anny Butler. After meeting Lewis Aiken, Anny is quickly brought into the world of the Scrubs, a close knit group whose fondest memories are created at a beach house in Sullivan's Island. Readers get to see the progression of a tight bond get stronger over time. One also sees the effect of that time on the group of enduring characters. However, there is an undercurrent of uneasiness beneath this charming scene. From tragedy to more foreboding concerns, readers will want to read cover to cover just to see what happens next.
Siddons is to be commended for her strong portrayal of a lesser known southern town. Anyone who is fortunate enough to pick up this book will want to make plans to pack up the bags and fly down for a visit. This is a good example about writing based on one's own experience.
However, it is also a disturbing tale of just what can lie below the surface. One of the unlikeable characters actually tips off readers to the manipulation which lies ahead. Although Anny suspects trouble, she keeps it to herself. One can almost sense the final, heartstopping showdown between the past and the all too grim present.
If you enjoy reading Anne Rivers Siddons, you may also enjoy Isle of Palms by Dorthea Benton Frank, Whisker of Evil by Rita Mae Brown