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Fortune's Rocks

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  25,118 Ratings  ·  1,246 Reviews
Everywhere hailed for its emotional intensity and unflagging narrative momentum, this magnificent novel transports us to the turn of the twentieth century, to the world of a prominent Boston family summering on the New Hampshire coast, and to the social orbit of a spirited young woman who falls into a passionate, illicit affair with an older man, with cataclysmic results.
Paperback, 453 pages
Published January 2nd 2001 by Back Bay Books (first published November 21st 1999)
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May 23, 2008 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read and re-read this book literally dozens of times. Every time I take away from it something new. It's a coming-of-age story in the loosest sense of the word, because it's so much more than that.
Shreve's writing just sings in this book. The opening scene, in which the 15-year-old main character makes her way across a beach as men gawk at her, is simply stunning. I can hear lines from this book in my head, they're so well written. Perhaps this book resonates particularly strongly becaus
Jul 24, 2007 Forrest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for light reads that still contain impact.
Shelves: lightreading
I like to read Anita Shreve when I am tired out on "literary" novels but am not quite at the point where something by, say, Sophie Kinesella sounds appealing. Shreve's novels are usually romances of two kinds; ones that build to a tragic emotional climax, or ones that are centered around lost love or an event in the protagonist's past that gets revealed over the course of the novel. I like to call them "trashy reads," but in truth, I think Shreve usually brings quite a bit of quality to her work ...more
May 21, 2007 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok friends, I know Shreve's books can be a little questionable which is why I've only read one other, but this one is the winner. She got it together this time.
I love this book...a reluctant admittance. The story of forbidden love is wrong, right, sad, joyful, and just utterly romantic even in its sheer destruction. I think my feelings for this book may also be biased by things in my personal life around the time that really made me feel and understand all of the characters quite deeply. Anyway,
Nov 05, 2008 Misfit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: get it from the library if you must
I think I'm one of the ones in the minority here. I had a difficult time getting into the book at first -- perhaps if Olympia had been a couple of years older at least. A 40+ year old man and a 15 year old girl. Ew. That said, I just didn't see any real chemistry between the two, outside of the sexual attraction for this life long supposed great love. I almost gave up when they started writing those long letters to each other, then it picked up around page 200 into her exile and attempt to regai ...more
David Abrams
Sep 27, 2010 David Abrams rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Open the pages of Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve and you’ll think you’ve stepped into the world of Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin or any number of other turn-of-the-century women writers whose novels were set in refined, confining Victorian society.

Do not be fooled for an instant. Shreve’s novel is a pale imitation of those Grande Dames of Literature.

Oh sure, Fortune’s Rocks—much like Wharton’s The Age of Innocence—is filled with scenes that would startle modern readers with their conservatism. An
Aug 13, 2010 La rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guess what happens when a 15-year-old girl "falls in love" with a 41-year-old married man who can't keep his "passion" in his pants ? Hmmm. Basically, this is a nicely written Victorian-era romance novel, telling the age-old story of a grown man who can't control his impulses and desires, and a teenage girl who feels that she's a grown woman. Bad choices all around, but hey, I guess we've all either seen or heard it before, or done it ourselves. It's a good "beach book" with some troubling theme ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Ronni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anita Shreve is one of my favorite authors, and this is an older book of hers that I've just now gotten around to reading. I usually like her books because they are very romantic, but also very literate. FORTUNE'S ROCKS may be my absolute favorite. I LOVED it. I read it in less than two days. Of course, the whole idea of a 15 year old girl and a 40+ man is pretty repulsive, but Shreve somehow makes it all work. You end up rooting for Olympia and Haskell even though you know you shouldn't. Olympi ...more
Aug 18, 2007 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unbelievable tale of love and lose. I couldn't put this book down! I was up until 3am reading. My husband thought I was nuts. It is a tear jerker for any mother.
Célia Loureiro
Um dos melhores romances que alguma vez li. É imprevisível, historicamente fiel, sensível e um daqueles livros que parecem cheirar bem, sabem? Desde o primeiro capítulo, desde as primeiras linhas, quando a Olímpia caminha à beira mar, até ao derradeiro final, impensável até aí... Vão amá-lo se querem explorar a possibilidade real de um amor impossível...

Não sei se estão a ver... é que o John Haskell é um médico de 41 anos com 4 crianças e uma mulher simpática, e a privilegiada Olímpia Biddeford

That's an approximation of the sound effects I made in my car (on repeat) while listening to this book. The decisions made by Olympia Biddeford continually frustrated me to the point of audibly expressing myself in the car. I tried to get on board with the relationship between Olympia & Haskell. It was 1900! Women got married younger! This could be love? But then every bone in my body would be like: NO! She is 15! He is 41! I don't care what year it is - he
Kathleen Dixon
Jul 13, 2008 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't really say that I liked this book, but I was interested enough in what happens to Olympia to finish. The story seemed to spend to much time on one period in Olympias life and felt jumpy when it skipped to the next. The setting and storyline was intriging enough right off the bat but it soon began to feel like a dime store romance. Had I ever read a dime store romance, I would guess that the authors use of language was somewhat better, but the smutiness was the same. I think that Olympia ...more
Jun 16, 2009 ☮Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely the best Shreve book I've read so far. From the first page, writing in the literary style of the Victorians, you have no doubt that this story is not a modern one. In 1899, Olympia Biddeford is nearing 16 years of age and vacationing at the family cottage at Fortune's Rocks. She lives a privileged, educated existence; an only child who seems rather lonely but quite mature for her years. There she meets a married man with 4 children, a friend of her father's nearly 3 times her ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Tasha rated it really liked it
I started this book with trepidation. I had recently read Stella Bain which was a bust for me, I was not a fan. Having read a bunch of other Shreve books and enjoying most of them, I decided to give this one a try as it had been sitting on my shelf now for several years and it was time to move it along. What I didn't realize before starting this one was that the story involved a romance between a 15 yo girl and a 41 yo man! I reluctantly started. I am not a fan of romance and I was sure this lov ...more
Jun 21, 2009 Coco rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2009 JoLene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is on my list of top 3 hated books. It is about an affair between a 16 year old girl and a 40-something married man. Shreve tries to make this sound like a romance, but I just thought that this man was a child predator/molester/rapist and the whole thing turned my stomach. It is surprising that a woman would write this sort of garbage--it seems like some man writing his perverted fantasy.
May 26, 2012 Lorrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jasmine
Epic!! I thought this book was so very good!! The first half made my upper lip sweat and I was reminded what it was like to be young and in love for the first time. The author describes the feelings, the thought process, the intensity so well that you are really remembering it all. Shreve does not smut love up nor does she describe the sexual act. She hints at it thereby also keeping true to the time period...early 1900s. The entire book is a love story but one so layered, involved, and all enco ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Shanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-novels
I'm not sure how to review this book. First of all, I didn't like it being written from the third person view. The author missed an amazing opportunity to delve into the intense feelings that must have been going on inside or Olympia. Maybe she couldn't write about them because she's never experienced them to the level Olympia did. I have been there,so I know what the writer couldn't express.
Let's see, what else? Haskell and Olympia are two people who experience that "connection" so many people
Oct 10, 2007 Janet rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - definitely my favorite Shreve book to date. I loved the setting and the characters. It is a wonderful love story - maybe a bit over the edge romance novelish in the details but the story saved it. In today's world Olympia wouldn't be so believable but for a turn-of-the-century female, only child, raised in a world of wealth and educated by her adoring father, I believed her character and her actions. Olympia & Haskell understood the consequences & they truly loved the ...more
Christina Kirby
Sep 12, 2007 Christina Kirby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read this book, but I recall carrying it around constantly hoping for the chance to read a page or two. The characters are so well developed that you feel you are living their experiences, and the scandalous drama that occurs throughout the book makes it even harder to put down. This isn't any kind of literary masterpiece, but it's highly entertaining. Isn't that what books are supposed to be anyway :)
Nov 21, 2008 ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything written by Anita Shreve before 2004. Great relationship books, great mystery about them, complex characters, unpredictable....not necessarily happy.
Lori Earl
Jul 28, 2012 Lori Earl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
LOVED this book. Have been reading a bunch this summer, but not all of it has been well written like Fortune's Rocks. Highly recommend it!
Oct 29, 2009 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written. Kept me interested all the way to the end. If there were half stars I would give it 4.5.
Sep 27, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When a book keeps me up at night and I become obsessed with it and can't do anything else until I finish it, then I know it's a good one. This was a good one!
Nov 06, 2008 Florence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book done, it gripped me so thoroughly.
Kirsty Darbyshire

In the beginning this book is almost everything I least like reading. It's a historical love story set in 1899. If I hadn't read any of Shreve's books before I'd have given up then and there. I carried on reading about the affair between fifteen year old Olympia Biddeford and forty one year old married with four children John Haskell because I thought that Shreve must have something in mind other than a pure romance (or not-so-pure depending on which sense you apply pure in, I suppose).

And of c

Nov 10, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's probably not fair for me to rate this book since I am not a fan of bodice ripping romances and don't generally read them. But I read this for a book club so I am now qualified to comment. I had a really hard time getting through the first half of the book. I was bothered by the initial, overwrought paragraph about Olympia morphing from a child to an adult by a walk across the beach when she somehow realizes everyone is lusting after her - stupid. The the 15 to 41 ages aside - I get really i ...more
May 29, 2009 Tita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2010
Um romance passado na Nova Inglaterra, no final do século XIX e início do século XX, em que a autora foca quer a classe mais rica, como também a classe dos franco-americanos que trabalham nas industrias têxteis.
Como história principal, acompanhamos Olympia Biddeford, de 15 anos, que se apaixona por um amigo do seu pai, que tem 41 anos, á casado e pai de quatro filhos. Não posso dizer que esteja de acordo com o que Olympia e John fizeram, pois se há algo que não suporto é a traição, mas talvez na
Aug 07, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want a sensuous, romantic, bordering on erotic, book for light summer reading, forget about the many shades of grey and get this book by Anita Shreeve, famous for "The Pilot's Wife" and "Weight of Water".

Set in the summer of 1899 when Olympia is 15 years old, the story takes place at a wealthy beach community, in New Hampshire. I am not sure if it is a real place or a mythical one, but it definitely has a basis in historical fact and the setting is as much a character as any of the human
Sandra Keyser
15-year-old Olympia, at the cusp of womanhood, has an affair with a 41-year-old married man (who by the way already has 4 children) in the name of love.

This was the first Anita Shreve book I've read since "The Last Time They Met" from about 6 years ago which was gorgeously written, and I had hopes that despite my slight aversion to plots centered around affairs, this plot, if well-composed, could be acceptable...

...but by the end of the novel, I was still convinced that John Haskell, the marrie
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Historical Romance: Looking for great HR books! 3 48 Jan 14, 2017 07:37AM  
Tips on historical romance/forbidden love books? 1 3 Jan 11, 2017 10:47AM  
Re-release? 2 10 May 01, 2016 05:52PM  
Haskell's love for Olympia 3 52 Jul 30, 2013 11:46AM  
Fortune's Rocks 18 120 Oct 13, 2012 04:10PM  
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A ...more
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“Love is not simply the sum of sweet greetings and wrenching partings and kisses and embraces, but is made up more of the memory of what has happened and the imagining of what is to come.” 95 likes
“Later, when she sees the photographs for the first time, she will be surprised at how calm her face looks - how steady her gaze, how erect her posture. In the picture her eyes will be slightly closed, and there will be a shadow on her neck. The shawl will be draped around her shoulders, and her hands will rest in her lap. In this deceptive photograph, she will look a young woman who is not at all disturbed or embarrassed, but instead appears to be rather serious. And she wonders if, in its ability to deceive, photography is not unlike the sea, which may offer a benign surface to the observe even as it conceals depths and current below.” 25 likes
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