BY: Anita Shreve
By way of an introduction. I’ll admit that I had a bit of trouble getting “into” this book. (Actually an understatement.) In fact, I started another book but have always finished the books I start. So, I went back to Fortune’s Rocks and I’m really glad I did. You’ll need to be patient with what the author calls “nineteenth century language”. I was thankful I read on a Kindle with a dictionary available with just a touch. Some examples would be: accretion, dismasted barque, unprepossessing, pinched torpor, etc.
The story begins with Olympia a beautiful, fifteen year-old girl arriving at the beach on Fortune’s Rocks on the New England coast with her family for the summer at the turn of the 20th century. Olympia is a privileged and very well-educated young girl on the brink of becoming a young woman.
Everything changes for Olympia when she meets John Haskell a friend of her father.
Though Haskell (as she thinks of him) is a 41 year-old, married man with children, they cannot resist the passion they feel. So,they start an illicit affair which they cannot resist in spite of all moral codes both then and now..
As you can imagine, this liaison comes to a catastrophic end with many people deeply hurt and even damaged. The author beautifully tells how Olympia also suffers and is an outcast for many years to come. The journey of her life from this point is far from the pampered existence she was used to, which she accepts as her penance.
I hope you’ll enjoy this passionate, beautifully written historical novel as I did. It not only reveals a disastrous love story but, the huge class differences during this era. Young immigrant children working in textile mills beginning at 10 years of age for example with little to no health care for anyone.
I hope you’ll enjoy this story of love, loss, and ultimately redemption.