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Off Season Hardcover – August 13, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 213 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Her family’s cottage on the coast of Maine is haunted, and that suits Lilly Constable just fine. Returning to Edgewater after the death of her beloved husband, Cam, Lilly takes comfort in carrying on detailed conversations with the spirit that she feels pervades the site of so much joy, and yet so much tragedy, in her life. Revisiting the happy times of her marriage and their unconventional courtship also propels Lilly further down memory lane, however, forcing her to recall the years spent living in isolation with her widowed father after her mother’s death from breast cancer, and the summer she turned 11 and her first love, Jon, died in a tragic boating accident. As Lilly works through her grief for her husband, mother, and old friend, she uncovers startling revelations about the very people she thought she knew best. With a powerhouse ending dazzling in its stealth and ambiguity, master storyteller Siddons delivers a dramatically evocative tale that magically summons a bygone time of innocence and intrigue. --Carol Haggas

From AudioFile

Mix the lyricism of Siddons's prose; the intense, yet restrained voice of Oscar-winning actress Jane Alexander; and the mysteries of the untamed Maine coastline--and you have the makings of a magical voyage. Widow Lily returns to the Maine island home she and her husband, Cam, loved to unlock answers to dark questions about her past. Jane Alexander's narration, especially as Lily and as the voices of Cam and Lily's deceased wisecracking cat, is flawless. And when the heartbreaking truths about Lily's life emerge, Alexander keeps the pathos under control. There is one big flaw, however. The unexpected ending to the story is disappointing. M.T.B. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (August 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446527874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446527873
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rita Warren on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While I have been a great fan of Anne Rivers Siddons since her first novel and have read everything, I found "Off Season" very disappointing. Her dialogue of children is so adultlike that I can't imagine any child under the age of 25 speaking those lines...or articulating the emotions. They were like miniature adults, not children, and therefore seemed ludicrous to me. There were story arcs I wanted finished that didn't get done and explanations for those innuendoes that blanketed the latter one quarter of the book. What exactly was the relationship with Peaches Davenport and Cam? And why in the world would Cam -- whom we are led to believe had impeccable taste, be drawn to the nasty, shrieking Peaches?

On the other hand, I read the book on my Kindle in two days, not able to put it down, which says something for Siddons and her compelling writing.
But this is no "Peachtree Road," which to me is by far her best work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I do not agree that "Off Season" is Ms. Siddons best book, I will say it is her best since "Colony". I was disappointed in her more recent novels and feel that she has certainly redeemed herself with this haunting story of a widow revisting her childhood and her summers spent on the Maine coast where she met her husband. In many ways it is a coming of age story and in others a love story. Her character development is excellent and one feels they are actually at Edgewater watching Lilly as a tomboy and then a developing young woman. The author brings alive Lily's parents, brother and those who make up her world.

I, personally, was not happy with the ending which I thought could have been developed better which is the reason I did not rate this novel 5 stars. However, all in all it is a fine novel and a credit to Ms. Siddons.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
SPOILER ALERT -- come on, folks! It's pretty plain what happened at the end of this book. Hubby had an ongoing affair with Wifey's spiteful girlhood Nemesis, whom he had met while alone -- off season -- at the couple's summer place in Maine. The sight of the lookalike son his mistress bore him so shocks Wifey when she meets him years later -- also off-season -- that she drops dead on the spot. She then wakes on the other side in the arms of her true love -- who is NOT her cheating dog of a husband but a boy who drowned when she eleven years old and has been her guardian spirit ever since. The end.

It's a nicely written book overall. But I agree with some reviewers that the kitty was a bit much.

Also, writerly tics are setting in -- why does every ARS book seem to have a white-blond dreamboat and scads of redheads? An irrepressibly, pointlessly evil woman? A supposedly loving but unfaithful husband? Blacks who talk like Mammy in "Gone With The Wind"? Down-Easters who sound as though they just crawled out of some Stephen King trailer park but nonetheless say "you-all" like Southerners? Endless references to BO and other malodorous emissions? And why does the present lead character have a name straight out of "Colony" but seems unrelated to those particular Potters and Constables?

These are the things that mystify me. Too bad because otherwise, the lady can certainly write!
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Format: Hardcover
I pre-ordered this book months ago and was so looking forward to receiving it. In the back of my mind I remembered the author's previous novel Islands, and I hoped that she would not finish with a similar ending, which I found jarring and out of place. While I consider this book light reading, I enjoyed reading about Lilly's childhood, her parents, and her first love. Also, the descriptions of Maine, the ocean, and the local wildlife were interesting and often lush. I felt the spiritual/mystical dimension worked well, at least until the end of the book when it became predominant and overbearing. When in the book Lilly leaped from age 13 to 18 and subseqently met Cam, the storyline did not work as well for me. I felt that the instantaneous adoration between Lilly and Cam was strained and unbelievable, as was their courtship. Lilly's father's character at this stage also became unrealistic to me. He too easily changed his positions on what Lilly's future should hold. This is not to say that his first position was correct; but I find it hard to believe that for someone so adamant, he gave way so easily. Then we leap to 20 years later, and even 40 years later. While I searched for connections between Lilly the girl to Lilly the young woman, and then middle-aged wife at the end, I could not find a common thread, or at least until her and Cam's separate secrets were discovered. Especially with Cam, I felt blindsided. Not knowing the fundmamental basis of his childhood, how could I know him at all, or understand how he thought about and felt things? Even knowing his secret at the end didn't help me understand how it played out and the repercussions it caused. There are just too many loose ends to understand cause and effect.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Two points:
If Mrs. Siddons had taken the time to develop the storyline and the rest of the characters as much as she did Lilly's in childhood, the book would have been excellent. Almost as though the author was rushed to print rather than finish the book properly.

Editing was abysmal! There are lots and lots and lots of mistakes. "She puts the cat and his sweater on the sofa. Then only 2 or 3 sentences later, the cat glares at her until she puts the sweater on the sofa. The urn looks well on the mantle. That urn should be looking good...All this on the first couple of pages - very distracting. Plot mistakes and character errors very evident throughout the book. Intro to Jon has him older than 12, but the ending has him 12.

Even through all that, my reaction to the book as a whole was the same as when I read As I Lay Dying at the age of 15. WHAT??? They went through all that for this ending??? Siddens is still a great read. And I am still thinking and talking about this book.
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