Fortune's Rocks

Fortune's Rocks

4.4 156

Audiobook(Other - Abridged, 3 cassettes, 5 hrs. 15 min.)

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Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve, Blair Brown

A stunning work from Anita Shreve, the author of the acclaimed bestsellers The Pilot's Wife and The Weight of Water, Fortune's Rocks is a profound and moving story about unwise love and the choices that transform a life.

On a beach in New Hampshire at the turn of the last century, a young woman is drawn into a rocky, disastrous passage to adulthood. Olympia Biddeford is the only child of a prominent Boston couple--a precocious and well-educated daughter, alive with ideas and flush with the first stirrings of maturity. Her summer at the family's vacation home in Fortune's Rocks is transformed by the arrival of a doctor, a friend of her father's, whose new book about mill-town laborers has caused a sensation. Olympia is captivated by his thinking, his stature, and his drive to do right--even as she is overwhelmed for the first time by irresistible sexual desire. She and the doctor--a married man, a father, and nearly three times her age--come together in an unthinkable, torturous, hopelessly passionate affair. Throwing aside propriety and self-preservation, Olympia plunges forward with cataclysmic results that are the price of straying in an unforgiving era. Olympia is cast out of the world she knows, and Fortune's Rocks is the story of her determination to reinvent her broken life--and claim the one thing she finds she cannot live without.

A meditation on the erotic life of women, an exploration of class prejudices, and most of all a portrayal of the thoughts and actions of an unforgettable young woman, Fortune's Rocks is a masterpiece of narrative drama, beautifully written by one of the most accomplished novelists of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375409486
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/29/2000
Edition description: Abridged, 3 cassettes, 5 hrs. 15 min.
Product dimensions: 4.54(w) x 7.12(h) x 1.36(d)

About the Author

Anita Shrere is the author of the acclaimed novels Eden Close, Strange Fits of Passion, Where or When, Resistance, The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife.  She teaches writing at Amherst College and divides her time between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.


New Hampshire; Massachusetts

Date of Birth:



B.A., Tufts University

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Fortune's Rocks 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 156 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many of Anita Shreve's books, and I like this one the most out of all of them. She writes so eloquently and descriptively (as always but especially in this book) that you feel like you are watching the whole scandal happen -almost like you're a bystander in the room. This novel is set in turn of the century New England. Shreve can write a beautiful novel in any era, but she really does an amazing job portraying the late 1800's and early 1900's. She writes so that you are able to really feel how each character feels. The story itself is scandalous, but full of love and passion. The novel has sad parts, however I think they make the novel more believable. I could not put the book down until the last page. I highly recommend this book. Note that Sea Glass is sort of a sequel to Fortune's Rocks -Sea Glass having the same setting in a later time period with different characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shreve's books draw me in with their deep rich characters. I could not put this book down- undoubtly, one of my favorites.
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
Great book. Emotionally intense all the way through. Suspenseful. My third Shreve book; now I want to get all the others!!
JuneandJune More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I could not put it down and stayed up late into the night to read it. The story hooks you and draws you in and you want to know what happens next. I would definitely recommend this book to family and friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I randomly picked this book up, and absolutely could not put it down once I started to read it. I think I might go back to the beginning and read it all over again!
clejtd More than 1 year ago
Despite any negative comments about the behavior of the characters in this book, I did really enjoy this read. I found it more captivating that Shreve’s The Pilot’s Wife. If I had to put a description to the type of captivation that was felt, I would say it was the train wreck sort. You see the tracks are damaged and you see the train coming at full speed, but you just can’t look away. Here comes Olympia and she’s going to crash hard. The book begins in 1900. I admire authors who can spin a story from an era in which they did not exist. Even though many things were perceived differently at that time (examples: when a girl becomes a woman, when a woman should marry, how much older can a gentleman be to still acceptably court a younger woman), you will find characters are still astonished about this relationship. After meeting the charming Dr. Haskell, the fifteen year old Olympia ‘falls madly in love’ with him as he does with her. The torrid love affair begins and before you know it they are copulating in his carriage, at his hotel room, in the marshes, in the unfinished cottage he is building for his wife and four children. Did I mention the good doctor is forty one years old? Yes, like most readers, this is where I found myself about to throw in the towel and say, “You have to be freaking kidding me.” And somehow these two are completely shocked about how hurt everyone (her parents, his wife, his in-laws, his children) is when they discover Haskell has been playing doctor with the teenager. Everyone packs their bags and leaves from what I’m sure would be the worst summer vacation in history. I admit that I held on because of the Train Wreck Scenario. You can’t look away when this is going down. I spent twenty minutes telling my cat, “I saw this coming.” As the book moves on from Olympia and Haskell’s affair, you follow as she tries to find some inner peace from her broken heart. At times, I wanted to high-five her and say, “Yeah, get your life back together!” Other times I wanted to jump in the pages and beat her with a frying pan because she was falling right back into a ridiculous rut. When I finished reading this book, I consulted with other reviews that have been posted. I have to disagree with readers who said the love affair was not plausible or “what man would cheat on his wife with a fifteen year old.” I’m sure it happens more than we would ever want to know about. Yes, I strongly disagree with infidelity and forty one year old men having intercourse with fifteen year old girls. And do I think the characters were truly in love? Probably not. To enjoy a book doesn’t mean that you have to agree with every circumstance of the plot. I don’t know about you, but I occasionally like a book that ruffles my feathers. An interesting fact I would like to mention before closing this review, Shreve has written four books that have taken place in the very same house. As I started reading Fortune’s Rocks, I noticed immediately that the summer cottage owned by Olympia’s family was the very same house that belonged to Kathryn in The Pilot’s Wife. They all take place at different periods in time. What an amazing idea! (Almost Stephen King-ish, dare I say?) I hope when I complete my You Bought It, You Read It Mission I can come back and read the other two books in that series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just re-read this book for the 4th time after first reading it about six years ago. This is on my keeper shelf along with Sea Glass, The Pilot's Wife, and Body Surfing  in which the same house is featured. I love how the house itself becomes a character in the story as you learn more about its history. Anita Shreve is such a gifted storyteller. I find myself reading a line or a paragraph two or three times just to savor the words. From a present-day perspective, the relationship between a 15 (almost 16) year old girl and a 41 year old man can be extremely shocking, but such age gaps weren't uncommon back in that era, probably more so in Europe than in America. This is set at the turn of the last century towards the end of the Gilded Age when British aristocrats (some very aged) in dire need of money married young American heiresses . While that isn’t the case in this story, I kept that in mind while reading of Olympia and Haskell’s developing relationship. Their love scenes are written in a tasteful, but still emotionally gripping way. You will put aside any squeamishness about the age difference and find yourself rooting for them, hoping that their real love for each other will keep them strong in the face of the tragedy and sorrow that results from their adultery.  
lv2readJT More than 1 year ago
One of Anita Shreve's best ever! Enjoyed it from beginning to end and didn't want it to end. Loved the era, storyline and everything about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I have to re read it over and over every year because it gives hope that a true love you have lost can come back someday....
LesiaFay More than 1 year ago
Make it into a movie. I pictured who would play the characters. Excellent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me think, made me cry, and entertained me. I suggested it to many. They all agree. I hope Ms. Shreve, writes many more future classics like this;it is destined to be a classic of our generation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest novels I have ever read. I recently read the Pilot's Wife and The Weight of Water, and I enjoyed them both very much. But, I'd have to say that Fortune's Rock's, which I've just finished, is my favorite Shreve novel thus far. Shreve's writing style is so sensually descriptive, in every sense (pun intended). Her writing in the present tense serves well as a means of allowing such descriptions and many moments to linger in the mind and senses, in a poetic way, often with vivid reality. A few pages into the book I was gripped with interest and I soon knew that this story would hold a special place in my heart. I never wanted to put it down. I felt that I really cared what happened to the protagonist characters. I found myself hungry to read this book in my leisure time, anxious to know the outcome of the child custody case, what had and would become of Haskell, and what would become of Olympia in the end. Yet as eager as I was to know the end, I wished not to be parted from the company of the characters (very tangible), their lives and the setting of the story. This is a story about love and desire (in many forms), secrets, pain, tragedy, forgiveness, morality, social and personal responsibility, triumph, and life purpose. I had borrowed this book from a library, but I plan to purchase it as well, to include it in my own personal library, as I consider it a literary journey to be treasured.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Olympia is the daughter of a book publisher and the story takes place at the turn of the last century about 1896. Olympia is well read, well bred and well mannered but just a little too precocious for the 15 year old she is. She has been home schooled by her father and is instructed to read the books of authors her father publishes. She entertains the authors children but is infatuated with the author and soon initiates and engages in a clandestine laison with him. The scandalous affair is exposed on her 16th birthday before her lovers wife and Olympia's family members and friends. She is exiled by her father to a home for troubled girls where her life becomes a drudgery and hardship. She is to give up the baby she has conceived while involved with this author. Needless to say, times haven't changed so much in the world except there is more acceptance and openess involving unwanted pregnancies at the turn of this century. Olympia wants to keep the child and is drugged during the delivery of the baby. The baby has been spirited away for adoption against Olympia's wishes. She is determined to find the child and reclaim her baby. She is at odds with her father and family and chooses to return to the summer home where it all began to begin a new life and search for the lost baby. The book reminds me of something Louisa May Alcott would write or a Jane Austin Novel. I enjoyed the book. What will the world be like in another 100 years?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will leave a piece of Fortune's Rock in your soul. Anita Shreve gives depth and understanding to what critics entitle 'May/December' romances. Such relationships, as Shreve as so wonderfully developed, are relationships of the soul and of irresistible fire. These characters are some of the most vivid characters in fiction today. A MUST READ!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the classic good read: a book you can't put down, but don't ever want to end. I was entranced with Olympia Biddeford and impressed by the author who produced her. I wouldn't change a word!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I found the 1st half to be a bit boring. Long details and descriptions that many times seemed meaningless. I almost gave up on it. But the around the 2nd half it became better, more interesting. A rather sad story, but a good if bittersweet ending. Am familiat with some of her other works and found to be better.
lefty68 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book as it was well written and the pot moved along quickly. I read it in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were many good points for my book club to discuss. I makes you stop to think about what you would do.
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