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Sea Glass

(Fortune's Rocks #2)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  24,771 ratings  ·  1,463 reviews
In the textile-manufacturing region of New Hampshire in 1929, newlyweds Honora and Sexton Beecher wrestle with all the wonders and challenges that young couples have always faced. They've just purchased a house near the ocean that needs a lot of work, but the couple is dedicated to making it a home. When the economy fails and a single unscrupulous act perpetrated by Sexton ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,771 ratings  ·  1,463 reviews

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I almost passed on this book when I found it at a thrift store. The book's plot looked promising and I wasn't disappointed.

My favorite quaote from the book:
"The only problem with looking for sea glass", Sexton says one day when he and Honora are walking along the beach, "is that you never look up. You never see the view. You never see the houses or the ocean because you're afraid you'll miss something in the sand."
Oct 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Love this line in the book when the main character Honora meets her prospective husband and is commenting on his less than perfect appearance...."Honora laid these flaws aside as one might overlook a small stain on a beautifully embroidered tablecloth one wanted to buy, only later to discover, when it was on the table and all the guests were seated around it, that the stain had become a beacon, while the beautiful embroidery lay hidden in everybody's laps." ...more
What I liked: The setting - Shreve does a great job evoking the atmosphere of the New England coast/mill town in the Depression era. I liked learning about the mill strikes & plight of the workers & those who led the strikes. I would have liked a lot more detail about that. I liked the interesting rhythm that Shreve has created with the story - a rhythm that echoes the sea itself - the story sort of surges forward & then backs off, surges & backs off. This was a little weird at first but then I ...more
I liked this book because it draws you in—you care about the characters. And it also gives insight into a tragic part of our country’s history—the Great Depression of the 1920’s. I liked that she used sea glass as a metaphor for the human spirit. No matter how much it is battered by the rough sea, it does not break; it becomes more beautiful. I loved the friendship between Honora and Vivian, women from two different worlds who are drawn together. I didn’t want the story to end. And, it got me i ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No, no, no... Though there were touching moments in this book that I enjoyed, I felt like the plot was SO boring for such an important issue. I really had a hard time finishing this book (which is extremely rare,) until it started picking up a little bit at the end.

I always love the way Anita Shreve writes about character interaction. Using her words, I can always picture exactly the way a person is moving, smiling, speaking, and how they are feeling. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted to her des
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Set in the early depression era somewhere on the East Coast, the novel follows Honora and Sexton Beecher from the beginning of their marriage. They moved into a large deserted old house on the beach and threw themselves into making it habitable with mostly sweat equity and little money. Sexton is away every week because of his job as travelling salesman and Honora lives a quiet but very structured life. She walks frequently on the lonely beach and collects colorful bits of sea glass.

When the ow
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book, and the ending would have had me bawling like a baby had I not been on a train ride surrounded by strangers. From the moment we meet Honora (on-NOR-a), to her marriage to the creepy Sexton, to her walks on the oceanfront looking for sea glass, meeting her vibrant and very wealthy neighbor Vivian, and then came the millworkers’ labor strike of 1929 just when everything else in the world (stock market crash) went to hell. Honora and Sexton are paying a mortgage on a house (which ...more
I didn't expect terribly much from this book, but I felt the need to read it because, well, someone gave me a copy and it's party about the labor movement during the Depression in a textile mill town. So I had no choice.

I wish it were a better book. It's nice summer reading, if you're not part of the "I only read happy books" crowd. It's not a happy book. But it never reaches tragedy, because, well, Shreve just can't get it there. She relies too much on archetypes to develop true characters for
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Morgan
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is the reason that whenever I walk on the beach, I am walking stooped along the shore, searching for little bits of beach glass in the sand. So far I have collected two bowlfuls. I don't have a big white platter like Honora does in this book, but a bowl full of beach glass is very satisfying to run your hands through (don't worry, it is so dulled by the sand and the waves that it's smooth and curved, not sharp anymore) . . . And although so far I've mostly found green, white, and brown ...more
Christina Kirby
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant gave me this book when she saw me reading another Shreve novel and said this was the author's best work yet. She was right!

Some Anita Shreve novels grab you from the start and don't let you go, while others are nearly impossible to get into. Sea Glass is the former.

The plot and the characters are captivating, and the book provides a great history lesson on the early years of the labor movement in New England. I must say, I didn't know much about that topic
Connie G
3.5 stars

Sexton, a fast-talking typewriter salesman, and Honora married after knowing each other for a short time. The newlyweds moved into a large neglected house along the New Hampshire shore in 1929. After the stock market crash, Honora found out her husband was not totally honest in obtaining a loan for the house. Sexton lost his job and his car, and could only find a new job at the mill.

The working conditions at the mill were terrible, and the mill owners decided to reduce the meager wages
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a fast and easy read set in 1929 New England during the start of the depression. Our characters include a young newlywed couple, an 11 year old boy, a young 20-something man who has worked in the mills all his life, a 30-something wealthy woman, and a few communists to round out the group. The very unlikely people come together and their lives change forever.

It was a bit confusing getting in to the book because each chapter (maybe only a page or two long) switches between characters and
Donna Johnson
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
This is one of my favorite books by Anita Shreve. The characters are wonderful, especially Honora. She shows such strength in the middle of the adversity that she faces. Every time I have read this book I find myself wondering how she managed to marry Sexton Beecher (why?) He is incredibly dishosnest and just downright shady. I wish Shreve had spent more time developing some of the other characters and the story about the mill strikes. I also hated the way it ended. I would have loved to know ho ...more
Amber Eats Books
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
** 3.5 stars **

I love Anita Shreve's writing as well as the characters she develops. I enjoyed the story quite a bit but I didn't love it as much as two other books I have read by her.
Kara Hansen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
3.75 stars. Sea Glass is the second book that Shreve wrote that takes place along the New Hampshire coast in the same house as Fortune's Rocks and The Pilot's Wife. I do love how each story is different, with only references to who lived in the house before and what life may have been like for the previous residents.
This story takes place in 1929, and the house occupants are Honora and Sexton Beecher, newly married, and set on carving out a life for themselves. In place of rent, they agree to fi
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Good beach read.
Kris Patrick
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Honora may be one of the most beautiful fictional characters I've ever met. Anita Shreve fans, should I read Fortune’s Rock or The Weight of Water next? ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was a huge disapppointment when it comes to an Anita Shreve book.
I always love the way Anita Shreve writes about character interaction. Using her words, I can always picture exactly the way a person is moving, smiling, speaking, and how they are feeling. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted to her despite the fact that half of her books are disappointing.
Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and eventually their lives begin to intersect. It begins in the su
Phyllis Sommers
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although I always find Anita Shreve's novels somewhat depressing, there's no denying that she produces extremely well-written and, in this and many other instances, mesmerizing stories. The year is 1929 as Honora and Sexton Beecher begin their life together as husband and wife. The home Sexton sets out to buy is somewhat beyond his means, but through a clever deception, he manages to secure a mortgage for the home, which is situated directly on the beach of a small New England town. In the town ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
As with "The Pilot's Wife" by Anita Shreve, "Sea Glass" really resonated with me since I grew up on the coast of Maine and experienced so much of what the protagonist, Honora, experiences. "Sea Glass" takes place in a New Hampshire beach town and actually travels to places familiar to me in Maine - particularly Sanford where I was born and spent my early years! Like Honora, I've walked the beaches and searched for sea glass.

"Sea Glass" takes place in the late 1920s/early 1930s so the characters
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, 2019
I loved that Honora loves sea glass, but her new husband thinks it is trash. To Honora they were broken shards of colored glass that were discarded but the sea had made it strong and beautiful.

Vivian, a friend that Honora met on the beach was smart, sassy and wise. Vivian can see a way to the future and she valued friendship as it should be.

Sexton sees everything as money or potential money. He is a typewriter salesman, smooth talker but not completely honest. Sexton does not how to adapt with
Dec 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: chicklit
Blah, another dated book that was just kind of lame. And dated. On all accounts. No only did it take place like 100 years ago, the writing style was dated too, which didn't help. But if you like that olde timey writing, then pick it up. Otherwise, I'll say right now, don't bother. So as you can tell, I didn't like that book all that much. In contained a cluster of characters that didn't do anything, but annoyed me. Took awhile to straighten everyone out. Typical, New England 1920's life. Some ri ...more
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read this as a part of a book club I am a member of. This was my second Anita Shreve read, the first being The Pilot's Wife. Perhaps the rating would be different if I had read these two books in reverse order, but I just found this book to be okay. It is quite slow in the beginning but I will say, I learned a lot about the Great Depression and that it was a timely read given then state of our economy! I felt the characters had depth and really enjoyed the sassy female character, Vivian as wel ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Weight of Water is still my favorite of Shreve's books, but she did 'Sea Glass' justice. I always admire her reverence/references to the horrendous Halifax disaster and how she incorporates it into her storylines. She took historical events of the early 20th century, such as the development of some of our first Unions and the cusp of the Great Depression, and wove realistic characters into these events; characters some may think not so original, but I feel appropriate and compelling given the mo ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The characters just came alive, and I wanted more, hard to put down. During 1929 and 1930 stock market crash and the onset of strikes and unions set the stage for this book. It is a look at a handful of people anyhow these events effected them. The mills were especially bad at conditions, pay, and child labor. Violence would break out against the strikers, as if starving and no place to live was not enough. Very well written and touching as well. It is set on the North coast, but it could have b ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
I had a hard time getting started on the first section of the book. Toward the end of the first section I was intrigued. By the second section I couldn't put the book down. And reading the third part broke my heart. What an amazing tale, marvelously told!! ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, e-book
With the background of '29 crisis Sexton & Honora, Vivian, McDermott and Alphonse's path come together.
Quite slow in the beginning - I thought about quitting! - but eventually it does catch up and I've finished it in a sitting.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
After the first few pages I really didn't expect much . . . and I was right. Found this book boring. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago; another beautifully written Anita Shreve novel. And that house again...!
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Husband selling typewriters [s] 4 196 Apr 20, 2017 06:30PM  
USA Geography Cha...: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve 1 6 Dec 29, 2014 06:25AM  
Anachronism? 2 24 Nov 01, 2013 03:41PM  
Sea Glass character and setting 7 36 May 28, 2012 02:02PM  
Andrea Murch (week 2) 2 12 Nov 21, 2011 08:37AM  
Amurch 1st blog 1 12 Sep 14, 2011 04:04PM  

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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
  • The Pilot's Wife
  • Body Surfing
  • The Fortune's Rocks Quartet

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