Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Book Giveaway: Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
Thanks to Valerie and Hatchett Books, I'm hosting another giveaway. Contest is open from June 24 to July 24. I have 5 copies of Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons to give away.
A Glimpse Into the Book...
There were seven of us at Edgewater that summer, if you count my brother Jeebs. None of us did, really. Jeebs was thirteen and gone into another orbit of his own; he entered ours only when he had nothing else to do, and then grudgingly.
That left Harriet Randall, aged eleven; Ben and Carolyn Forrest, who were twins, aged ten; Cecie Wentworth, aged eleven; Peter Cornish, aged twelve; and Joby Gardiner, eleven. And of course, me. Elizabeth Allen Constable but called, by my own creed, Lilly and nothing else. I was eleven that summer of 1962 and stonily determined not to be confused with my mother, who was Elizabeth, too.
My mother: Elizabeth Potter Constable; painter, activist (in her own words), great beauty. She was sporadic and only adequate at the first two, but at the third she was spectacularly successful. Turned heads followed Liz Constable wherever she went.
It was the apogee of the frenzied Jackie Kennedy mythology, and even up here in this rural saltmeadow world almost untouched by fashion for a century, women wore their hair in carefully tousled bouffants and put on crisp white sleeveless blouses and Bermuda shorts to go to the post office or general store (which were one and the same). The yacht club cocktail-and-chowder suppers looked like a Norman Rockwell magazine cover of an idyllic girls' camp. Into the middle of all the matched Lilly Pulitzer wrap skirts and T-shirts, the huge sunglasses pushed casually above foreheads to form chic headbands, my mother would drift barefoot like an idle racing sloop, her hair in its uncombed little Greek-boy tousle of curls, her white pants smeared with paint, the striped French matelot T-shirt she had affected since a trip to Cannes when she was sixteen daubed with it. There would not be a vestige of makeup on her pure medieval features, only a flush of sunburn on her high cheekbones and a slick of Chap Stick on her full, tender mouth—a Piero della Francesca mouth, according to Brooks Burns, two cottages down, who was a classical scholar and eighty years old, and had been in love with my mother, according to my father, since she came here as a bride.
"Eyes like summer rain on the ocean," he would say. "Eyes like clear pond ice."
"Eyes like a frozen February crust over Eggemoggin Reach," I might have added, "especially when those black brows come together over them."
But I doubted that anyone but my father and Jeebs and I had seen that. My mother's brows were two silky black slashes set straight over her eyes, which were clear, light-spilling gray and fringed with black lashes. With her sun-streaked copper curls they were striking; you expected slender sienna arches. I had those brows, I was often told, and the gray eyes, too, but even to me they often looked stormy and sulky instead of mythic. I had seen my mother, in her studio just before she came out to join us for an evening, slick her eyebrows with some sort of cream, and lightly redden her cheeks, and finger-tousle her hair before the old seashell mirror that hung beside the studio door. Once or twice I saw her daub a sunset smear on her cheek or forehead, or stain her shirt lightly with it. The result was a careless beauty seemingly preoccupied with things more important than her looks. It served her well.
I spied on my mother shamelessly during the summer. I'm still not quite sure why. I think I was looking for revelations, epiphanies, a map for knowing where the real woman and mother lay. It seemed that if I found it, I would have the map for myself, could chart a course by it. But I never did, and after that summer I did not spy on her again. Instead, I set about trying to become the direct antithesis of the woman in her mirror. It got me in endless trouble with her, though not so much with my father.
To read the remainder of the first chapter, click here.
To enter, respond with the story of where/how you met your significant other. If you don't have a significant other, tell me where you hope to meet him/her.
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The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at midnight EST on July 24, 2009. Only one title per winning household will be awarded.