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Search tags: Anne-Rivers-Siddons
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review 2018-03-06 20:08
The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons

When compiling a list of vintage horror books to read and review this month, my first and best source was Stephen King’s Danse Macabre. Invaluable was it in determining which novels I wanted to take a chance on it. In Danse King spends three or four pages dissecting this — Anne Siddons’s 1978 release, The House Next Door, one of the smartest and most atmospheric haunted house tales I’ve read yet.


Told from the point of view of Colquitt Kennedy, an upper-middle class woman living in an upscale Atlanta suburb with her husband, Walter, this unfolding of the mysterious and macabre does not happen quickly; this author deals in dread, letting her readers squirm. I love that quality in horror from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it’s something that seems to have been lost sometime in the ‘80s. Quiet terror with a focus on the psychological is much more effective, to me, than buckets of guts and blood and dismembered bodies.


Not only does The House Next Door work as a horror show, but is also works — at times — as a satire. Siddons gleefully mocks the foibles of suburban life: the block parties, the whispering neighbors, the hypocrisy — all unfolding in houses with freshly manicured lawns and evenly painted shutters. Because of that, this story feels authentically American. The author’s sense of setting, locale, is impeccable.


This is one of the finest haunted house stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. While not as explosive as The Shining or as iconic as The Haunting of Hill House, this very much deserves to get a look from horror fans.

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review 2016-10-15 00:00
The House Next Door
The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons Gosh, where do I start?

The Bad
1. The book starts incredibly slow. The first half of the book is rich woman sitting on a patio drinking and gossiping. Most of the characters in this book or snobs, horrible friends, horrible people, and generally annoying and very hard to relate to.
2. The ending is incredibly unsatisfying.
3. The main characters Walter and Colquitt are described to be in their Mid 30's but are referred to as middle aged and frequently talk as if they are in their 50's or 60's and have people treat them as if they are around that age too.
4. A lot of the people in this neighborhood act as though they've led such perfect happy lives, in their perfect happy bubbles that they don't know what REAL LIFE DRAMA looks like because they treat every single "tragedy" the same. They are complete Drama queens about the smallest things.
5. Claire. She's such an awful character, I think she's the real villain of this story, not the house. She is incredibly pretentious and snobby, she is such a gossip. Actually, most of the characters in this book are the real villains of the story. But this quote from claire just haunts me.
“Because I went back over there when I got home and threw a load of sand over…everything,”
Yeah, she's referring to the neighbors miscarried baby. 7 months gestation. That's 3rd Trimester. Far enough along that if a baby is born at that point It could live outside the womb with medical help.
She doesn't ask "Hey would you like to bury your child? Maybe have a funeral?" nope. Let's just kick some dirt over it, it'll be alright.
I dislike her so much.
6. One of the houses terrible acts was to turn a couple of straight men gay. Oh, the horror. I almost wet myself right then and there.

The Good
It was a little creepy in places
It's over
Stephen King thinks it's great. I have no idea why....
This isn't a good thing but more a "To be fair" thing. This book was written in the 70's. I just believe the world is too different for this book to hold the same meaning and value today as it did then. It's too dated. The change in the world makes this book more intolerable than enjoyable or scary.
The idea that a house could make you "catch" gay might have been terrifying in the 70's but today it's just offensive.
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review 2015-09-07 00:00
The Girls of August
The Girls of August - Anne Rivers Siddons This is a beach read, and was a library book club selection. It was refreshing to read, especially in the heat of summer, more so, since it is a story buoyed by friendship and sisterhood. It's not all smooth sailing though, as the years meander along. After a few years of separation following the death of one them, they come together again, this time, with a new candidate. This is the story of how they find each other anew, and forge stronger ties.

While reading this, I thought of all my girl friends, dear sisters to me, and of all the thick and thin we've been through, and for being there for each other. Life and the years have led us all in different directions, but the cord that binds us all remains strong. I like how this story celebrates that. A 3½-star read.
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review 2014-12-18 00:38
Nora, Nora - Anne Rivers Siddons


I've found a new author! I absolutely loved this book. Debra Monk did a wonderful job with the narration. The story was a coming of age for a young misfit girl and a visit from a cousin who shakes everything up. The ending was wonderful. I wish we got to see what happens next. I'm definitely going to read more from this author.

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text 2014-10-16 03:57
Islands - Anne Rivers Siddons

Too many other things to read!!

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