August 22, 2008

Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve

I think I've read all of Anita Shreve's books now. Although this one was highly acclaimed as her best, I put it off because the synopsis was so depressing. And a lot of it was very very sad, but it was sad with a purpose.

At the turn of the century, Olympia (LOVE the name) is the 15 year old daughter of a wealthy publisher. She is his only child and is intelligent and mature beyond her years. The family has a summer home at Fortune's Rocks, which I believe is meant to be in the Hamptons.

Olympia forms a highly unorthodox relationship with one of her father's trusted friends. When they are discovered, both of their lives are destroyed.

But while the synopsis must end there, the story doesn't. Abandoned by her lover and cloistered by her parents, Olympia discovers new betrayals. Her parents, with the best of intentions, attempt to put her life into an order that they feel is the only path available to such a fallen soul, but this life they plan isn't adequate for someone like Olympia.

This book is about terrible betrayals, but it's also about the continuance of life afterward, and how even someone that has been so badly hurt can find room to make sacrifices. There's also an interesting bit about the clashing of cultures and classes.

This book was amazing, I wish I hadn't been too chicken to read it before. Definitely keep the tissues handy if you pick it up.


  1. The only book I've read by her is the Red Tent, a book I really enjoyed. Perhaps I'll check this out.

  2. Okay, you like Anita Shreve and you love psychological thrillers, so I can't resist suggesting that you might like my debut novel, STANDING STILL, about a woman with panic disorder who trades places with her daughter mid-kidnapping. It got great reviews, is being read by tons of books clubs, and I hope you'll give it a shot. Thanks for listening!


  3. I'm not a big reader...........but you have me intrigued

  4. Jacki- Anita Diamant wrote The Red Tent. Shreve seems to stick the the early 1900's for the most part.

  5. Anita Shreve is one of my favorite authors, and Fortune's Rocks ranks high among my favorite Shreve books. It was a depressing story, but her characters are so compelling it's hard to put her books down.

    --Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)


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