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Downtown

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Set on the cusp of the country's great social movements - youth, women's, peace, and civil rights - in the year before the love turned to anger and the peace to militancy, Downtown is the story of Smoky O'Donnell, her career and her heart. When Smoky arrives in Atlanta in 1966, after an airless lifetime back in Savannah, she is at once thrilled and chastened by this dazzling, hectic young city on the move. Atlanta is one of the first cities to have its own magazine, called Downtown, for which Smoky has been specially chosen to work as a writer. In her heart she knows it is a job that will change her life. With breathtaking quickness it introduces her to many unforgettable people - not least among them the magazine's flamboyant and utterly charismatic editor, Matthew Comfort, who helps shape many careers, including hers. Smoky soon meets Bradley Hunt III, the charming and substantial scion of an aristocratic Southern family who invites her into a world more polished and remote than any she has known. As spring comes to Atlanta, she finds herself in the company of Lucas Geary, a gifted young photographer with a rebel's heart. Through the summer, their work takes them deep into the hot, restless streets, and he shows her another world she's never seen - a world populated by shuffling hopelessness, where she meets John Howard, an enigmatic young black man who is a lawyer, freedom fighter, and hero in the civil rights movement, standing at a great moral crossroads. The choices Smoky must face, and her ultimate decisions, create a tender, joyous, and powerful story of the end of innocence - both Smoky's and America's - at a time when traditional values are in question and the air is full ofpossibility. Full of the masterful characterizations, probing insight, and lyrical prose for which Anne Rivers Siddons is justly acclaimed, Downtown is another stunning achievement from an extraordinary writer.

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