Smoky O’Donnell, a bright young woman, arrives in Atlanta in 1966 in search of an exciting beginning to a new life. A nostalgic love note to the innocence and promise of Atlanta in the 1960s, Downtown is also a tender account of one woman’s difficult choices and personal triumphs. A vibrant and fast-paced city on the move and on the make, Atlanta is one of the first cities to have its own magazine, called Downtown, and it’s where Smoky sets out to make her mark as a writer. Though Smoky has to literally earn her wings as a female reporter for the male-dominated magazine, she gains membership into an intimate family of dedicated staff members headed by Matt Comfort, a flamboyant and charismatic editor who is known everywhere in the city.
More than any previous novel, the details of Downtown mirror the facts of Anne Rivers Siddons’ own life. Siddons got her start as a staff writer for Atlanta magazine, one of America’s first city magazines. Founded by Jim Townsend, a revered mentor to a whole generation of Atlanta writers, the magazine came to life in the exciting decade of the 1960s, when the city was emerging as a political center for the civil rights movement and redefining itself as the South’s metropolis of the future. Downtown captures the energy of the city at this turning point.
Borrowing its title from the Petula Clark song as well as the name of the city magazine where Smoky works, Downtown weaves in the sights and sounds of a generation redefining itself. Far from her Irish Catholic family in Savannah and outside the stately Tudor mansions of Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead community, Smoky discovers a world of shiny vinyl, Motown, and the birth-control pill. Download and start listening now!