Siddons' depiction of South Carolina's low country is both lyrical and magical in this story of the relationship between Anny Butler and Dr. Lewis Aiken. Though Anny is well into her 30s, she has never married, preferring to devote herself to the welfare of Charleston's children. Through her job, Anny meets Lewis, a physician who cares for indigent children.

Although Lewis is 15 years older than Anny, the two are drawn together and marry, despite Lewis being wealthy and having a Charleston pedigree much higher than Anny's. Lewis owns several homes, including an island beach house off the coast of South Carolina that he shares with a group of lifelong friends, known as the Scrubs.

As years pass, Anny is accepted into the lives of the Scrubs, and together they share life's joys and sorrows. Then the seeming normalcy of Anny's life is shattered with the novel's stunning conclusion, revealing a startling truth about one of the Scrubs.

Siddons' writing is both riveting and creative, introducing readers to the colorful lifestyle of South Carolina's low-country residents. Readers will laugh and cry along with the believable characters of this one-of-a-kind keeper. (Dec. '04, 384 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick