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Extended Audio Sample HILL TOWNS Audiobook, by Anne Rivers Siddons Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.15 out of 53.15 out of 53.15 out of 53.15 out of 53.15 out of 5 3.15 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anne Rivers Siddons Narrator: Marcia Gay Harden Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2005 ISBN: 9780060879235
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A single event in her childhood irrevocably marked Catherine Gaillard -- and made it impossible for her to leave her cloistered mountaintop town in Tennessee for the next thirty years. But her devotion to her husband, Joe, and her desire to forever put the incident behind her propel Cat on a life-changing trip to Italy.

Making their way across the countryside of Tuscany with two other couples, Cat and Joe soon feel themselves pulled in different directions, and the fabric of their marriage begins to unravel. Expanding beyond the bounds of a carefree trip, their journey takes them deep into the heart of their relationship...and becomes the ultimate test of their love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Stunning.”

    Washington Post

  • “All that intense sensuality in the intense Italian sun keeps you turning the pages and—as the last chapter looms—wishing you could go on and on from town to town with these charming, brilliant, out-of-control people.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • “Anne Rivers Siddons’ vibrant, compassionate tone captures Italy’s powerful effect on the timid, and even the frightened Catherine becomes compelling.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • Hill Towns is an exploration of a mature relationship, but it’s also an effective travelogue. Read it and see if you don’t start to crave caffé granita on the piazza.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Siddons artfully conjures a violently seductive, sensual world peopled by characters boiling with elemental emotions: fear, lust, aching love.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl | 2/19/2014

    " The older I get, the less tolerance I have for the overblown prose that Siddons sometimes gets caught up in while describing her characters. This one was definitely NOT among her best efforts; if you want to read vintage Siddons, I much preferred Colony. On the other hand, I must admit that if you would like to read some beautiful descriptions of Rome, Venice, Florence and Siena, it's clear that Siddons has not only visited these places, but has a true appreciation for them. For that, I'll give Hill Towns three stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/19/2014

    " A bit more sensual than I expected. Not bad, but more discussion of sex than I expected! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 S | 2/17/2014

    " I found this story very tedious and depressing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 2/11/2014

    " This book is infamous for being dropped in the tub (and borrowed from the UD library). Ended up having to pay for damages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy Mooney | 2/7/2014

    " Had a switch ending I didn't see coming. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joanne | 1/30/2014

    " I found myself speaking outloud to the characters (i.e. "Don't do it, Cat!") which means that the plot is certainly strong enough for me to really get into it. However, I too, was very unimpressed the language. There simply was no need for the foul words that Siddons appeared to enjoy throwing in seemingly on a whim. Also, I believe that I have a pretty broad vocabulary, but Siddons really stretched the limits of every day speech in this book! Words such as "fecundity", "scurrilious", "ennui", etc. There were MANY words in this book that I had to actually look up because I either hadn't heard them used in years or I wasn't familiar with them at all! It was almost like a course in College Vocab! Bottom line: Good read, poor choice of words! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marlene | 1/27/2014

    " Siddons puts you in Italy, which is wonderful. When the main character rounds a bend and comes upon a vista of sunflowers, as far and wide as the eye can see, you're there with her. The darker sides of her characters left me uneasy, but the armchair trip to Italy was great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dixie | 1/18/2014

    " This was the first of Anne Rivers Siddons' books I read. It helped me to believe that I could find my voice in writing someday. She inspired me to write and write with my own sweet language, to tell stories of women and the lives they lead. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 1/18/2014

    " Through much of the book I felt that I was reading a travelogue rather than a novel, and I often felt irritated with the main characters rather than identifying with them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Johnstone | 1/2/2014

    " I've read this book many times and will read it yet again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lori | 12/5/2013

    " I am not impressed with this book at all. Too much unnecessary bad lanquage. These people are supposed to be professors, etc. and the language they use sounds like gutter talk. Didn't even finish it "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marlyn | 12/5/2013

    " Did not like the unbelievable, slow story, and thought the author was too impressed with her own vocabulary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ~mad | 11/25/2013

    " Not the most favorite of her books - and I have read them ALL! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mkrinsky | 11/13/2013

    " she can paint a picture and really captures the angst of a relationship betrayed. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alicia | 7/28/2013

    " If you've never read any of Siddons books, skip this one and read one of her low-country books. They're much better. This missed the mark. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janice | 6/21/2013

    " Well read, but very racy. Not recommended by me. The more I read the worse it got. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 3/22/2013

    " This was the book that inspired Valerie and me to travel to Italy!!! The first Siddons book I read! LOVED it! I recommend it to anyone that is planning to visit Tuscany, or Italy in general. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 2/6/2013

    " Hills Towns was an enjoyable read. The book started in Tennessee and ended in Italy. Everyone seemed to change in Italy, and most of the characters would never be the same again. It has beautiful settings and vivid characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 1/17/2013

    " I love Siddons way of seeing in to family dynamics "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 11/15/2012

    " I went to Italy right after I read this! It was among my top three favourite books of all time! I had just graduated from University and was unsure of where to go from there. A trip around Europe was perfect... All through the Hill Towns! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 9/13/2012

    " I remember it which means it stands out in my mind, but it struck me as pretty mundane and ordinary fiction. Nothing to write home about. But it does take place in Italy.... which is always a plus in my memory banks! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Coffey | 7/10/2012

    " Great beach reading. Anne Rivers Siddons is good with relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jvickers51 | 3/29/2012

    " By far my favorite of Anne River Siddons yet. The descriptions are wonderful and you can picture yourself in Italy traveling through the hillsides as one of the people involved in the story. Suspenseful in a romantic sense and a telling story of a woman's life! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Bijas | 2/5/2012

    " Loved the descriptiveness of Italy. The characters seemed contrived though. You had one of every type. An easy read, particularly if on a trip. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mom Suzy | 1/30/2012

    " learned alot about Italy "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa Cavanaugh | 1/14/2012

    " I do enjoy her books. They're not terribly challenging, and most of her characters are a bit the same (a remarkable number of them look like medieval effigies) but she tells a good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie Myers | 12/11/2011

    " This is a re-read... I actually first read this book some years ago. I liked it but it's not Siddons' best, in my opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginnie Leiner | 11/25/2011

    " Been married long enough to relate to some of this plot. Does switching from wine to water really make you instantly thinner? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marlene | 5/17/2011

    " Siddons puts you in Italy, which is wonderful. When the main character rounds a bend and comes upon a vista of sunflowers, as far and wide as the eye can see, you're there with her. The darker sides of her characters left me uneasy, but the armchair trip to Italy was great. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janice | 12/30/2010

    " Well read, but very racy. Not recommended by me. The more I read the worse it got. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 4/19/2010

    " This was the book that inspired Valerie and me to travel to Italy!!! The first Siddons book I read! LOVED it! I recommend it to anyone that is planning to visit Tuscany, or Italy in general. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 3/20/2010

    " A bit more sensual than I expected. Not bad, but more discussion of sex than I expected! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 12/8/2009

    " I do enjoy her books. They're not terribly challenging, and most of her characters are a bit the same (a remarkable number of them look like medieval effigies) but she tells a good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 10/30/2009

    " Not my favorite of Siddons books but well written. Deals with
    agoraphobia brought on by a traumatic incidence in childhood.
    How it affects the married couple before the cure and after the
    cure.A study in human nature of people surrounding the couple. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 10/7/2009

    " I loved the beautiful descriptions of Italy. I felt like i was visiting the beautiful country. Good book! Do they really drink that much wine in Italy?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 9/1/2009

    " I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning, because I thought it started out really slow. But it picked up about a third of the way in the book and it turned out to be a really good book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginnie | 7/6/2009

    " Been married long enough to relate to some of this plot. Does switching from wine to water really make you instantly thinner? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 6/17/2009

    " I love the beach, sometimes I read about the beach. Anne Rivers Siddons writes about the beach a lot but this book was about a trip to Italy. I liked it more than I expected to. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 6/4/2009

    " Great beach reading. Anne Rivers Siddons is good with relationships. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 4/18/2009

    " I remember it which means it stands out in my mind, but it struck me as pretty mundane and ordinary fiction. Nothing to write home about. But it does take place in Italy.... which is always a plus in my memory banks! "

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About the Author
Author Anne Rivers Siddons

Anne Rivers Siddons is a New York Times bestselling author who she has written works such as Sweetwater Creek, Islands, Nora Nora, Low Country, Up Island, Fault Lines, Downtown, Hill Towns, Colony, Outer Banks, King’s Oak, Peachtree Road, Homeplace, Fox’s Earth, and Heartbreak Hotel. Her novel The House Next Door was made into a made-for-television movie starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Colin Ferguson, and Lara Flynn Boyle. She and her husband, Heyward, split their time between their homes in South Carolina and Maine.

About the Narrator

Marcia Gay Harden is an Academy Award–winning film and theater actress. Her first role in a mainstream film was as a femme fatale in the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing. She went on to play roles in such films as Pollock, Mystic River, Mona Lisa Smile, and Meet Joe Black, among many others.