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Fortune's Rocks [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Anita Shreve , Blair Brown
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Feb 2002
It is the summer of 1899, and Olympia Biddeford and her parents have retired from the heat of Boston to the coastal resort of Fortune's Rocks. When the celebrated essayist John Haskell is invited to stay, no one foresees the affair that is to follow between a 15-year-old girl and a man three times her age. With no regard for propriety or self-preservation, Olympia plunges forward with catastrophic results into a relationship that is both passionate and destructive, as these six short weeks shape the rest of her life.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841974722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752851525
  • ASIN: 0752851527
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 10.5 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,997,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Hester Prynne never had it so good! The year is 1899, and Olympia Biddeford, the headstrong daughter of a Boston Brahmin family, has decided to test the limits of her cloistered world. Spending the summer at her father's New Hampshire estate, the teenage heroine of Fortune's Rocks is entranced with the visiting salon of artists, writers and lawyers. She's especially captivated, however, by John Haskell, a charismatic physician who ministers to the blue-collar community in the nearby mill towns. This middle-aged Good Samaritan hires Olympia to assist him as a nurse and their collaboration soon evolves into a fiery love affair. Alas, it's only a matter of weeks before this passionate exercise in managed care is exposed--with disastrous consequences for the young, impregnated heroine. Even her adoring father now considers her "an over-plump, 16-year-old girl whose judgement can no longer be trusted" and insists that she break off her relationship:

"There is nothing more to be said on this subject", he says. She bites her lip to keep from crying out further. She holds the arms of her chair so tightly she later will have cramps in her fingers. She will refuse to obey him, she thinks. She will accept his implied challenge and set off on her own. But in the next moment, she asks herself: How will she be able to do that?

Without her father's support, she cannot hope to survive. And if she herself does not survive, then a child cannot live."

In the end, Anita Shreve's seventh novel is a polished, supremely entertaining variation on Wuthering Heights, with Olympia and Haskell sitting in for Catherine and Heathcliff. The author did some meticulous research for her New England background, which gives this study of one particular wayward woman some extra historical heft. Some readers may find the plot twists a bit pat. And despite Olympia's efforts to be an independent woman, she overcomes her trials largely as a result of her family's wealth and station, which takes the edge off Shreve's feminist message. Still, Fortune's Rocks is a romance in the classic sense of the word and should be enjoyed as such, unless the reader is absolutely allergic to happy endings. --Ted Leventhal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Exceptionally fine . . . Shreve writes with power and passion (DAILY EXPRESS)

A powerful portrait of that dangerous limbo of a girl's adolescence when she is no longer a child but not yet a woman (LITERARY REVIEW)

A quiet but highly charged novel in which intense emotion is counterpointed with an evocation of landscape (Elizabeth Buchan, THE TIMES)

It seems like a mighty poem. FORTUNE'S ROCKS, you know, will prove much more than a place name (OBSERVER) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVOCATIVE AND PROVOCATIVE... 30 Dec 2002
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
This is a well crafted and lyrically written narrative, evocative of an era gone by. It tells the story of Olympia Biddleford, the unusually erudite and well educated fifteen year old daughter of a Boston Brahmin. One hot and steamy summer in turn of the century New Hampshire, she falls passionately and utterly in love with her father's friend, forty one year old John Haskell, a physician and man of letters, who has a wife and four children. Captivated by his intelligence and crusade on behalf of exploited mill workers, she and he, drawn to her youth, intelligence and beauty, leave all thought of propriety behind and, breaking every moral and social taboo of the time, enter into a forbidden, illicit love affair, that is ultimately doomed, with cataclysmic ramifications for all whom the affair touches.
The book explores how this young woman copes with the loss of her life in a larger social milieu, once the affair enters into the public domain through the machinations of another. She, the doctor, and their respective families are tainted with scandal and presented with the fruit of that illicit love. The book explores how Olympia must reconstruct the tatters of her life into one in which she is finally able to expiate her youthful indiscretion within the context of the mores of the time. In doing so, she goes on a voyage of self discovery. Yet, through it all, she never once renounces her devotion to the man who introduced her to the throes of a passion so deep and profound that she gave herself over to it, body and soul. How these star crossed lovers finally come to terms with their grand passion is a story which the author seamlessly weaves into a book that will hold the reader in its thrall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down 6 Jun 2005
By Amanda
Format:Hardcover
I found the book "Fortunes Rock" completely absorbing... once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I read it all through math, social studies, English and Spanish! Olympia's and Haskell's love for each other is captivating. It's the kind of love everyone longs for. Though society and age threatens to keep them apart they will do anything for the love they have... all this mixed in with a girls coming of age and a mothers fight for her son....its a must read! I am now working my way through all of Anita Shreve's books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books ever! 15 Dec 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was the first Anita Shreve book that I read and have since read all the others and bought Fortune's Rocks for all of my friends. It's fantastic in every way - from the wonderfully descriptive style of her writing to the great characters and content, the book contains real passion and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it - as did all my friends. Took me a little while to get into it, but was really glad that I did as I got completely absorbed and was sad to finish it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVOCATIVE AND PROVOCATIVE... 8 Mar 2003
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is a well-crafted and lyrically written narrative, evocative of an era gone by. It tells the story of Olympia Biddleford, the unusually erudite and well educated fifteen year old daughter of a Boston Brahmin. One hot and steamy summer in turn of the century New Hampshire, she falls passionately and utterly in love with her father's friend, forty one year old John Haskell, a physician and man of letters, who has a wife and four children. Captivated by his intelligence and crusade on behalf of exploited mill workers, she and he, drawn to her youth, intelligence and beauty, leave all thought of propriety behind. Breaking every moral and social taboo of the time, they enter into a forbidden, illicit love affair, which is ultimately doomed, with cataclysmic ramifications for all whom the affair touches.
The book explores how this young woman copes with the loss of her life in a larger social milieu, once the affair enters into the public domain, through the machinations of another. She and the doctor, as well as their respective families, are tainted with scandal and presented with the fruit of that illicit love. The book explores how Olympia must reconstruct the tatters of her life into one in which she is finally able to expiate her youthful indiscretion within the context of the mores of the time. In doing so, she goes on a voyage of
self-discovery. Yet, through it all, she never once renounces her devotion to the man who introduced her to the throes of a passion so deep and profound that she gave herself over to it, body and soul. How these star-crossed lovers finally come to terms with their grand passion is a story that the author seamlessly weaves into a book that will hold the reader in its thrall.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner 23 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have to say, I just loved this. I never read anything by Shreve before, but after finishing Fortune's Rocks, I went out and bought another few titles by her.
On saying that, one of the main reasons I loved Fortune's Rocks was its splendid turn-of-the-century setting, so it remains to be seen if her more contemporary novels prove as alluring.
There's no point dressing it up as high literature FR is a very well-written bodice ripper, and the best form of escapism. The constraints of the social mores of that time, only serve to heighten the tension and passion that Olympia and Haskell share.
Admittedly, the novel changes tack about halfway through, and moves on to the aftermath and consequences of their forbidden affair, and I was unsure if I'd find the rest of the novel as compelling. But I did. Olympia's exile is a compulsive and heartbreaking tale, but there is redemption and a (too-convenient, i wonder?) happy ending.
Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable novels I've read in recent years.
I withold the fifth star, because I thought that, as a literary hero, Haskell was somewhat wet!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating character
I've enjoyed the quality of writing in other novels of Anita Shreve's, so didn't even bother to read the blurb when I saw this on the library shelves. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rosalind Minett
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and re-read a hundred times!
I read this about 15 years ago for the first time and each time I re-read it I love the story all over again! Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ms. Claire E. Janssen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Another winner from this author who sometimes disappoints but not in this case. The story is well told and unusual and keeps you reading to the end.
Published 22 months ago by Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
A real piece of escapism in as the romance begins and you see the coming of age of a young girl as she learns about life and love. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Ladyg
4.0 out of 5 stars A Believable and Moving Romance
'Fortune's Rocks' was Anita Shreve's first novel not set in the 20th century. It tells the story of an unconventional but utterly believable romance between the 15-year-old Olympia... Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2012 by Kate Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book
I would say its in the top 5 of my favorit books. makes you feel the salty summer night on your skin, while your reading you can feel the heat on your cheeks as if you've had a... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2011 by heidi
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I was introduced to Anita Shreve and Fortune's Rocks by my grandaughter in Australia who said it was one of the best books she had read. Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2011 by jonjo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Book arrived in really good condition (as described) and the price was brilliant. Why pay full price when you can get fantastic quality used books like this.
Published on 3 May 2011 by Mrs. V. A. Lambourne
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I wasn't sure what to expect when I began this book, having never read anything by Anita Shreve previously. Read more
Published on 23 April 2011 by WindsorMummy
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read
This is one of my top ten books ever! I did not think so when I first started reading it, but once I had got into it, couldn't put it down. FANTASTIC!!
Published on 17 Mar 2011 by robanddeb
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