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4.07 / 5

"Colony" Summary

By Anne Rivers Siddons

fiction | 640 pages | Published in NaN

"An outstanding multigenerational novel...We are hooked from the moment we meet Maude."  --New York TimesAn unforgettable story of love, acceptance, and tradition from New York Times bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons.When Maude Chambliss first arrives at Retreat, the seasonal home of her husband's aristocratic family, she is a nineteen-year-old bride fresh from South Carolina's Low Country. Among the patrician men and women who reside in the summer colony on the coast of Maine, her gypsy-like beauty and impulsive behavior immediately brand her an outsider. She, as well as everyone else, is certain she will never fit in. And of course, she doesn' first.But over the many summers she spends there, Maude comes to cherish life in the colony, as she does the people who share it with her. There is her husband Peter, consumed with a darkness of spirit; her adored but dangerously fragile children; her domineering mother-in-law, who teaches her that it is the women who possess the strength to keep the colony intact; and Maine native Micah Willis, who is ultimately Maude's truest friend.This brilliant novel, rich with emotion, is filled with appealing, intense, and indomitable characters. Anne Rivers Siddons paints a portrait of a woman determined to preserve the spirit of past generations—and the future of a place where she became who she is...a place called Colony.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A woman's life is transformed when she moves to a small southern town and discovers a mysterious and haunting past.


In the gripping novel "Colony" by Anne Rivers Siddons, readers are transported to the picturesque setting of the South Carolina Lowcountry. With her signature storytelling prowess, Siddons weaves a tale of family secrets, deep-rooted traditions, and the power of love and redemption. As the story unfolds, readers are drawn into the lives of the eccentric members of the Colleton family and the captivating world they inhabit.

Brief Synopsis

"Colony" is set in the fictional town of Colony, located in the heart of the Lowcountry. The Colleton family, the town's founding family, is known for their wealth, influence, and long-held traditions. When Maude, the matriarch of the family, passes away, her daughter, Dabney, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the weight of her family's legacy.

Dabney is torn between her loyalty to the Colletons and her desire for freedom and independence. As she navigates the intricacies of her family's expectations, she discovers shocking secrets that challenge everything she thought she knew about her loved ones and herself.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Dabney ColletonThe protagonist of the story, Dabney is a complex and introspective woman who grapples with her family's expectations and her own desires.
Maude ColletonThe matriarch of the Colleton family, Maude's death sets the events of the story in motion.
Owen ColletonDabney's brother, Owen is a troubled and enigmatic character who is haunted by his past.
Carson BennettA charismatic and captivating artist, Carson becomes an unexpected love interest for Dabney.

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1-5: Introduction and Setting

The story opens with the death of Maude Colleton, which brings the extended Colleton family together in Colony. The town itself is described as a picturesque coastal community with sprawling mansions, ancient live oak trees, and a rich history. Dabney, who has always felt suffocated by her family's expectations, begins to question her place in the world.

Chapter 6-10: Family Secrets Unveiled

As Dabney delves deeper into her mother's belongings, she discovers a hidden diary that reveals shocking secrets about her family's past. These revelations unsettle her and force her to confront the truths that have been buried for years. She begins to question the legacy of the Colleton family and her own role within it.

Chapter 11-15: A Forbidden Love

Dabney forms an unexpected connection with Carson Bennett, a talented artist who is not from the wealthy world of the Colletons. Their relationship sparks controversy and threatens to disrupt the carefully constructed image of the family. Dabney must decide whether to follow her heart or adhere to the expectations placed upon her.

Chapter 16-20: Redemption and Forgiveness

As tensions rise within the Colleton family, Dabney realizes that true redemption lies in forgiveness and acceptance. She confronts the past and confronts her own mistakes and shortcomings. Through her journey, she learns the importance of embracing change and finding her own path in life.

Main Events

  1. The death of Maude Colleton and the gathering of the family in Colony.
  2. Dabney's discovery of her mother's hidden diary and the shocking secrets it reveals.
  3. Dabney's growing relationship with Carson Bennett, a man outside of her social circle.
  4. The conflict and controversy that arises within the Colleton family due to Dabney's choices.
  5. Dabney's journey of self-discovery, redemption, and forgiveness.

Themes and Insights

  • The weight of tradition: Siddons explores the impact of long-held family traditions and the pressure they can place on individuals to conform.
  • Secrets and their consequences: The novel delves into the power of secrets and the ripple effects they can have on individuals and families.
  • The search for identity: Dabney's journey reflects the universal quest to find one's true self and break free from societal expectations.
  • Redemption and forgiveness: The story showcases the transformative power of forgiveness and the opportunity for redemption, even in the face of past mistakes.

Reader's Takeaway

"Colony" is a captivating and emotionally resonant novel that delves into the complexities of family, tradition, and self-discovery. Siddons' vivid descriptions bring the charming Lowcountry setting to life, while her well-drawn characters and intricate plot keep readers engrossed from beginning to end. This compelling story reminds us of the importance of embracing our true selves and finding forgiveness in order to move forward.


With "Colony," Anne Rivers Siddons has crafted a masterful tale of love, loss, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the South Carolina Lowcountry, this novel explores the intricacies of family dynamics, the power of secrets, and the enduring quest for identity. Siddons' evocative writing and compelling characters make "Colony" a must-read for fans of Southern literature and anyone seeking a thought-provoking and emotionally satisfying story.

Colony FAQ

  1. What is the genre of the book Colony?

    Colony is a fiction novel.

  2. Who is the author of Colony?

    Colony is written by Anne Rivers Siddons.

  3. What is the main theme of Colony?

    The main theme of Colony revolves around a woman's journey to find her true self and escape societal expectations.

  4. What is the setting of Colony?

    Colony is set in the coastal town of Colony, Georgia.

  5. Can you provide a brief overview of the plot?

    Colony follows Maude Chambliss, a young woman who breaks free from her suffocating Southern upbringing and finds herself in the vibrant artist community of Colony, where she discovers her passion for painting and explores her own identity.

  6. Is Colony a standalone novel or part of a series?

    Colony is a standalone novel.

  7. What are some other notable works by Anne Rivers Siddons?

    Some other notable works by Anne Rivers Siddons include Peachtree Road, The House Next Door, and Outer Banks.

  8. Is Colony suitable for young adults?

    Colony is primarily targeted towards adult readers and may contain themes and content more suitable for mature audiences.

  9. Where can I purchase a copy of Colony?

    You can purchase a copy of Colony from various online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher's website.

  10. Is there a movie adaptation of Colony?

    As of now, there is no movie adaptation of Colony.