Sweetwater Creek

Author: Anne Rivers Siddons

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: January 2007

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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At twelve, Emily Parmenter lives in a world of lonely isolation.  She barely remembers the mother who abandoned their family long ago.  Her father and twin brothers rarely notice her, and Emily’s uncanny resemblance to her mother further alienates her father.  The death of her beloved eldest sibling, Buddy, has shattered her, and left her feeling alone in a house full of people.  Frightened of growing up and being pushed into the debutant lifestyle, she has retreated into the safe haven provided by the Boykin spaniels her family breeds and trains.  Emily has a gift for training, and spends her free time with either the puppies or her own devoted Boykin, Elvis.

Emily’s father, Walter, dreams of making it big.  He knows that his Boykins are the best hunting dogs around, and looks to the day they’ll make his plantation, Sweetwater, and himself, known far and wide.  He envisions himself in the exclusive circle of the wealthy plantation families, coveted for his unsurpassed hunting dogs and supreme hunting lands.  His dreams for his only daughter include fine schools to teach her to be a lady who will one day marry into the world he longs to break into.


Early in the summer, a wealthy plantation family comes to Sweetwater to see the Boykins.  They’re all suitably impressed with the incredible dogs, but none more than Lulu.  Suffering from the pressures of college and a recent illness, Lulu sees Sweetwater as the perfect place to spend a quiet summer recuperating.  Walter, thinking he’s found his ticket to the big time, allows Lulu to stay and join Emily in training the puppies.


Lulu easily charms Walter and the twins, and proves to be a natural with the dogs.  Emily, whose only companions are Elvis and the ghost voice of Buddy, is reluctantly drawn to the captivating Lulu, and the two become unlikely friends despite their age difference.  But Lulu has secrets which haunt and consume her, and those secrets threaten to destroy the innocent and vulnerable Emily.


SWEETWATER CREEK is quite simply one of the best books I’ve read in ages.  From the first pages Siddons draws the reader into Emily’s world with vivid descriptions of the natural beauty of the Lowcountry.  The characters emotions are clearly felt without being overdramatic, and the unfolding story will keep you engrossed through the end.  Your heart will break for the whole Parmenter family, especially the scared and lonely little girl who has lost so much, and the secretive young woman looking for a place to hide.  Siddons proves that some of the best love stories aren’t about finding a romantic happily-ever-after, but about finding the love in your family and in yourself. 


By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Leigh

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