There was a time a decade or so back (maybe longer) when I was enamored of the novels of Atlanta-born Ann Rivers Siddons, particularly those that feature disgruntled middle-aged women in transition who affect a major change in their lives and discover their hidden strengths. I collected several of Ms. Siddons’ books and digested them with relish. My favorite, I think, is Up Island (1997). It struck a chord. I think it was the swans that won my heart.
The author has a melodramatic way of making you care about Southern women who have stumbled into marriage, given it their best shot, and gotten stuck between a rock and a hard place. After some painful soul-searching and interstate travel, these would-be heroines find a new place and new people who need them, who are more confused than they are. After their epiphany, they continue bravely onward to lead normal lives.
As a woman who grew up in a relatively stable California family, I feel fortunate that I have had considerably less drama in my life, although I have experienced my share. I recommend Up Island to anyone who has ever considered running away as an adult, and is also fascinated by swans. It is an intriguing tale, and will take your mind off whatever is bothering you.