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Fortune's Rocks
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In a summer community on the coast of New Hampshire at the turn of the last century, a girl is drawn into a passionate affair with a married man nearly three times her age. Olympia Biddeford is privileged, well educated, and mature beyond her years--and her affair is with John Haskell, a physician, essayist, and champion of mill workers. Drawn inexorably together on the night of the summer solstice, the pair set in motion a series of events with far-reaching consequences for all involved.
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The time is the turn of the last century, the setting a rocky New Hampshire coastline resort area nicknamed "Fortune's Rocks." Olympia Biddeford, age 15, is walking the beach, feeling the first stirrings of her womanhood. The strong-willed daughter of an upstanding Boston couple, she soon "learns of desire" as she begins a passionate affair with a married writer, John Haskell, three times her age. From the moment they meet (he is a visiting friend of her father's), they experience a sexual sparkÄOlympia feels "liquid" in his presence. Soon, they fall into sinful trysting. Shreve (The Pilot's Wife) serves up these opening events with breathless immediacy. Once the plot gets a chance to developÄOlympia gets pregnant, gives up child, fights to get child backÄit settles down considerably, turning into a modernized The Scarlet Letter, a tale of a woman attaining feminist independence by living outside her period's societal mores. Reading, Brown (of TV's The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) clearly has the most fun at the beginning, where the story's real heat and flushed excitement pours out. Listeners, too, may grow colder as the plot loses its torrid, forbidden edge. Based on the 1999 Little, Brown hardcover. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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