Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fortune's Rocks

I had three days break in between the children's visits. I read a book. I will now review that book, because I have not yet downloaded the pictures from the awesome past week with my parents and kids.

I read Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve. This is a very poignant book about love, love lost, and the sacrifices we make for those we love. The book's central character, Olympia, age fifteen, lives in the final days of the 19th century. One summer, when with her parents at their summer home in Fortune's Rocks, she begins an affair with her father's close friend and associate, a man who is almost three times her age and married with four children. Their relationship is a loving and passionate one. Unfortunately, they are caught red-handed, at her 16th birthday party, no less, by his wife. Several months later, Olympia discovers she is pregnant.

This first part of the book causes quite the moral quandary. He is married and she is still a child, yet the story is so well written that you can feel their love through the pages. It is not based on physical desire alone, in fact, their intense physical passion results from their intellectual understanding of one another (she is incredibly well educated for a woman). After their child is born, he is taken away, where, she has no clue. She doesn't know if her lover even knew of her pregnancy. She suffers this loss intensely and spends the next four years trying to make up for the intense disappointment she has become to her parents. But she never repents of her actions. She wishes she could undo the hurt caused to everyone, but she cannot convince herself that the love she felt was, or ever would be, wrong. After four years of exile, she feels that she has lost herself and returns to Fortune's Rocks, by herself, to heal.

While in Fortune's Rocks she discovers that her son is there, that her lover placed him in an orphanage and that he is in foster care. She follows the family and discovers that although the family is poor, they love her son very much. She must decide: does she try to remove her son from the only family he has ever known and loved because she wants him, or does she let him remain with them. The court scenes are wrenching, her longing for her son, palpable. I will not tell you what happens in the last part of the book. I will tell you it has a "happy" ending. Not a sitcom happy ending, but an, all things considered, happy ending. Overall, a great book. I couldn't put it down and Olympia was a wonderful character to watch mature and evolve. I would highly recommend this book.

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