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Body Surfing

(Fortune's Rocks #4)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  18,539 ratings  ·  1,811 reviews
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage.

But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2007)
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Pam I agree, they were not true friends. Her mother should have camped outside the bedroom door.…moreI agree, they were not true friends. Her mother should have camped outside the bedroom door. (less)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,539 ratings  ·  1,811 reviews

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Feb 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why do I keep reading Anita Shreve? I can't explain this strange relationship I have with her characters. They are my guilty pleasure. More than the love plots (which usually involve infidelity, hmmm) and more than the character development, or lack's her writing style. I love her cadence, her rythmn, and her emotional connections. One of my favorites is Fortune's Rock, which is a twisted sort of love story. But I couldn't put it down. Maybe because the book was set on the water, which ...more
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting much from this book, and was pleasantly surprised during the first third. Anita Shreve writes with skill, although I could have done without quite as much description of what people are wearing - especially since they change their clothes at least twice a day. But she captures the scene of a WASPy New England family summering on the coast of New Hampshire perfectly.[return]But by the last third, I started wondering whether she knew quite where she was trying to go with the ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Warning! Stay out of the water. It's not safe to go Body Surfing!

I've read several Anita Shreve books (Fortune's Rocks, Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met) none of which I call stellar but all much better than this one.

Sydner Sklar finds herself once widowed and once divorced in her late twenties. She drops out of grad school and takes a summer job as a live in tutor for the Edwards family who live on the idyllic New Hampshire shore. (And who live in the same house that pops up in many Shreve
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a book club read. While I have read The Pilots Wife, years ago, and, as I recall, enjoyed it, I wont be willingly reading any more Anita Shreve books after this one.
This book was fairly boring to say the least. The characters were shallow and not at all well developed. The plot was thin and equally poorly developed. Most of the main characters were not even very likable.
There was nothing unique about any part of the story. It was like the author started one story line, left it hanging
Aug 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poorly constructed, ridiculous story line and lame ending. Author seemed to make little to no effort...
Julie Britt
Jun 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert: I didn't like this book. I didn't care about the characters, which weren't well developed, and the main character keeps making the same mistakes again and again and doesn't seem all that smart. I had to force myself to finish it. The final section seemed to have promise because I expected to see the main character in a good light, but she just went back to where she started.

The passive voice is not avoided by Anita Shreve. I kept getting irritated at that, as well as her
Jan 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
After having been greatly disappointed by the last couple of Anita Shreve books I've read, I was relieved that this one didn't irritate me. On the other hand, though, it didn't give me the same pleasure as her earliest books did. But it wasn't bad.

The thing that interested me the most, almost, was figuring out that the beach house in this book is the same one in The Pilot's Wife, Fortune's Rock and Sea Glass. In fact, I think the folks in this story were the owners directly after the pilot's
I have been an Anita Shreve fan for several years well, okay, decades. I read her first novel, Eden Close back in the 70s when it first came out and remember really liking it. Her novel The Pilots Wife was an Oprah pick and, thus, huge. But Im partial to the quieter novels: Where or When, The Last Time They Met.

Body Surfing is the story of Sydney, a once-divorced, once-widowed woman who comes to live on the New Hampshire coast to tutor the beautiful but intellectually challenged Julie, youngest
Dec 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give 2.75 stars...... I'm going to give it 3 because I enjoy her style of writing. The book, well, it wasn't all it was hyped up to be. It kept me turning the pages even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. My mom told me there were some pretty big twists, all which I predicted (which is disappointing-I love to be surprised!).

She didn't develop the characters as well as I would have liked. Why did Mrs. Edwards hate her so much? You can read into the fact that she and
Barbara M
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is beautifully written. Anita Shreve chooses each word carefully and I was drawn into the world she created in this story.

The novel takes place in an oceanfront cottage in New Hampshire. A well to do family has gathered for their summer vacation and Sydney is hired as a tutor to their 18 year old daughter who has special needs. A love triangle emerges as two older brothers in the family compete for Sydney's love and attention. There are a number of twists and turns in the story which
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was hoping this book was going to be better. I did not like the writing style - the author seemed to go back and forth between narration and first person. While not unusual, it didnt feel very smooth to me. There were also many incomplete sentences and I found it ineffective. The central love story was not well developed enough to draw me into the relationship, so when it ended, it had no emotional impact. From the start you could tell there was something going on between the brothers and I ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, borrowed
Another stunner by Shreve dealing with raw human emotions and circumstances which make people behave the way they do. My favorite set up - seaside holiday house with lots of people with lots of idle time to ponder upon things and to enter into relationships. The main protagonist, a 29 year old widow is employed by a rich couple to teach their slightly retarded daughter. The book deals mainly with the interactions between the rich family and the 'governess'. I loved the book from cover to cover.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this one. I really like Shreve's writing style. I like the link of body surfing and rolling along in life. We can never be sure exactly what is going on beneath the surface, can we? We trust others and are sometimes deceived. But that doesn't mean we stop trusting anyone ever again, does it? I would hope the best for Sydney after one divorce, one spousal death, and one oops!! All before the age of 30.
✨ kathryn ✨
For something that cost me £0.50 at the local charity shop, Im pleasantly surprised. For something with real Marmite reviews here on Goodreads, Im pleasantly surprised. This is full of twists and turns that keep you on your toes, touches on some tender subjects in such a beautiful manner. Takes a solid 75 pages or so to get moving, but makes you think without even realizing. Not too shabby, friends.
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second Anita Shreve. Good stuff. Well written with an identifiable with lead character.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-a-copy
Despite reading criticisms, I still like the stories of Anita Shreve. A more thorough review coming up! Whew! If only I could write book reviews as fast as I can finish reading books.

I have read two of Anita Shreves novels, the first one was The Pilots Wife, the story of which I can vaguely remember except that the rating I gave it on Goodreads was 4 stars, which means that I might have fairly enjoyed it. Then I keep seeing some of her books on my favorite
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The setting is a beach house in New Hampshire, the summer home of the Edwards family. Sydney is hired to be the tutor for their "slow" daughter, Julie, while Mr. Edwards is an architect who enjoys his rose garden and collects historical documents on the house they're living in. It is the same house that was featured in several other Shreve novels, like "The Pilot's Wife". Mrs. Edwards strikes me as a snob and a bit of a racist with her remarks about Sydney being half-Jewish. The brothers, Ben ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Anita Shreve is the master of the subtle narrative. In Body Surfing, she gently draws you into the story; before you know it, you are completely engrossed.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sydney is trying to find her way through the turmoil of the past few years. She has been both divorced and widowed, and she doesnt exactly know what direction her life should take. She has put her graduate studies on hold for the time being and accepted a job as a tutor to Julie Edwards, a gorgeous but academically slow
May 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by Anita Shreve and I have to say I am very disappointed in this author. Some of the users of shelfari rated Shreve right up there with Jodi Picoult and that is why I borrowed this novel from a friend in the first place. Shreve doesn't compare at ALL to the likes of Picoult!!

First of all ,the writing style in this novel is extremely choppy and distracting. Second, the characters are never fully explained and or developed. I never really felt any emotion from
rating: 3.5
At first, this seemed like it merited a rating of 2.5 or 3, but by the end, it was up to a 3.5 or 4.

Reminiscent of Her Sister's Shadow by Katharine Britton, except this was about brothers, and the point-of-view is provided by someone who isn't a member of the family.

Shreve sets this story in the same house she created for Pilot's Wife, but there's no connection with the characters from that novel.
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Anita Shreve and this book is no exception. Her stories are true to life and her characters believable.
Henry Le Nav
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Weirdly excellent, as Shreve's novels often are.
Imagine being a twenty-nine year old woman, one divorced and then once widowed. It's not a very common occurrence, but it is the main character of this book - Sydney's reality. This is the stage of her life in which she finds herself when she goes to work for the Edwards family. Ostensibly to tutor their teenage daughter, Julie, so that she can pass and do well on her upcoming SAT's, Sydney goes to stay with the Edwards at their beach house in New Hampshire. There, she body surfs, meets the ...more
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america
I didn't warm to the main character, partly because I couldn't understand why she didn't work things out earlier - because I did. Stupidity never endears me to a character. Perhaps Sydney's attention was distracted by her manic vigilance - she notices clothes, how someone breathes, the details of a room and she even deduces what other characters are probably thinking. Whether she is right - another matter entirely. I'm inclined to think a character as naive as this one makes for a fairly ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summer on the New Hampshire coast.
I originally read this book back in 2010 and only gave it 3 stars. Then a friend recently gave me an abridged audio version and so I decided to give it another go. The shortened version was more enjoyable and I gave it 4 stars this time around, maybe I was just in the mood for it - or maybe the full version lost my attention somehow.

Sydney is only 29, but has already been divorced from one husband and bereaved from a second. While she reassess her life, she
Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one I wish that there was an option for a half star. Id give this book 3 ½ stars. This will be a brief review. This was an ok book. Anita Shreve is a talented descriptive writer. She paints a good picture of the atmosphere, the setting and the details of her characters. This is a kind of love story. A kind of story about family. I don't want to give much detail away because that's all there is. To be honest this review is hard for me because though the writing was good and once the story ...more
Diane Schrempf
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the perfect beach read. I had just read a heavy nonfiction book so this was the perfect book to read next. It is the story of Sydney who goes to live with a family whose child has some handicaps. Sydney becomes a part of this family and there is interest in her from the two older brothers. It is the story of how a young woman navigates her world among a family who may not be as normal as they appear. Sydney goes away for a while but something or someone brings her back to the shores of ...more
Overall, s decent story. Sometimes, there was more detail than needed to describe things and one time jump in storytelling didnt really make sense to me. The end was a little bit quick & wonky, too, but I did at least want to finish the story. ...more
Apr 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tried to listen to this book. So boring and couldn't find a plot. Don't know why I bothered.
Cynthia Sillitoe
This book surprised me. I couldn't stop reading it.
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Anita Shreve was an American writer, chiefly known for her novels. Shreve's novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. She attended Tufts University and began writing while working as a high school teacher. One of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting, (published in 1975) was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1976. Among other jobs, Shreve spent three years working as a journalist ...more

Other books in the series

Fortune's Rocks (5 books)
  • Fortune's Rocks
  • Sea Glass
  • The Pilot's Wife
  • The Fortune's Rocks Quartet

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