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Fortune's Rocks
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Fortune's Rocks

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  19,855 ratings  ·  1,017 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, 528 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Little, Brown and Company (first published November 21st 1999)
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Best Historical Fiction
421st out of 4,516 books — 18,018 voters
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Younger Woman/Older Man
29th out of 274 books — 305 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 4 of 5 stars
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
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,
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
Nov 05, 2008 Misfit rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Kathleen Dixon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Abrams
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
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.
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
Morticia Adams
I'm still not quite sure what to make of this novel. I found it extremely hard to buy into the relationship between a teenage girl and a married man in his 40s, and disliked the apparent assumption by the author that readers wouldn't find this to be at all disturbing or unhealthy. But the second half, where the girl goes to court to regain custody of her child who was taken from her, was interesting and she was revealed as a more admirable character than she had been earlier in the novel.

I just
Liz Dubin
Disliked how the relationship between a 15 year old and a 40 year old was treated as healthy and normal, rather than clearly exploitative. Nor the resolution at the end.
Christina Kirby
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 :)
I love everything written by Anita Shreve before 2004. Great relationship books, great mystery about them, complex characters, unpredictable....not necessarily happy.
I associate Anita Shreve's books - deservedly or not - with dowdy true story TV movies. However, turning down a present would be a bit too snobbish.
I must admit that I really felt for Olympia, a girl struggling with the strict rules of her era, the 19th century (Shreve did a nice job researching and bringing this period alive). Her wealthy family hovers over her protectively, but ironically enough they are the ones inviting danger into their house. Presenting itself in the form of charming docto
Yvann S
I had to give this two ratings – one for each half! I had no patience whatsoever with the first half, which is the tale of how an affair develops between a fifteen-year-old girl and a married forty-one-year-old doctor/political author, at the exclusive summer resort of wealthy families around the turn of the twentieth century. The second half, in which Olivia deals with the aftermath of the affair, is much more interesting and also has a high quality of writing.

Everything I read at the moment se
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

Patricia Rodrigues
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
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
Ilyhana Kennedy
Fortune's Rocks is a historical romance set at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Whilst the tale is told in the stilted language of the privileged of that era, there is a heightened sensuousness delivered from tension and undercurrent. The writing is skilful.
The central character Olympia undergoes a massive transition as she matures and recognises the consequences of her actions.
It was somewhat disappointing to me that at no stage did the author approach the issue of obsession, even though a
Ana Filipa
Foi-me um pouco difícil entrar na história, pois soa-me estranho a relação de uma menor com um homem mais velho.

No entanto foi demasiado fácil compreender o papel de Olympia, a sua angústia, o seu sofrimento...todos os momentos pelos quais passou, pelos quais, chega a pensar, que não deveria ter passado.
Sendo uma jovem de 15 anos, Olympia sabe pensar, sabe agir. Não se deixa levar pelas opiniões, tem capacidade para levar avante os seus pensamentos, as suas acções, o que o coração lhe dita.

Uma h
15 year old Olympia Biddeford falls in love with 41 year old John Haskell, and after a 2 week torrid love affair, they are discovered. John is a prominent physician, husband, and father to 4 children. Hustled off to her home in Boston, her father puts her in confinement so that she can atone for her sins. When she finds out she is pregnant, her parents are further infuriated. After giving birth, olympia's father takes the baby boy and has him placed in a orphanage.

How olympia deals with the lov
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Haskell's love for Olympia 3 33 Jul 30, 2013 11:46AM  
Fortune's Rocks 18 109 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.” 90 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.” 21 likes
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