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Fortune’s Rocks Quartet Books In Order

Publication Order of Fortune’s Rocks Quartet Books

The Pilot's Wife (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fortune's Rocks (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sea Glass (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Body Surfing (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Fortune’s Rocks is a series of historical fiction novels written by Anita Shreve. The books feature a number of couples and characters all of whom are tied to the fortunes and misfortunes of Fortune’s Rocks.

+The Story
Fortune’s Rock is a place upon which a beautiful coastal New England home sits. It is within the confines of this home that the events of the Fortune’s Rocks series are explored.

Fortune’s Rocks is first introduced to readers in Fortune’s Rocks, the first novel in the series. There, readers meet Olympia Biddeford. Olympia was the precocious, educated daughter of a prominent couple.

Olympia was fifteen when she came to Fortune’s Rocks in 1899. She was supposed to spend the summer at her family’s vacation home and she expected a relatively uneventful few weeks.

Olympia wasn’t blind to all the lustful looks the grown men she met on the beach threw her way. But she never paid any of them any attention. All that changed when the Doctor came into the picture.

The Doctor was a friend of her father’s. He was 41-years-old and he had a wife with three children. His age alone should have made any notion of a relationship with the Doctor anathema to Olympia.

And yet she couldn’t take her eyes off him. The Doctor was no less besotted with the sensual girl and it wasn’t that long after that the pair gave in to their desires, pursuing a torrid love affair that brought ruin to both of their families.

The first novel in the Fortune’s Rocks series focuses on the steps Olympia takes to remedy the drastic turn her life has taken. It also gives readers a concrete history of Fortune’s Rocks and the Biddeford’s family vacation home.

Readers see the house next in ‘Sea Glass’, the sequel which goes back to New Hampshire in 1929. There, readers are introduced to Sexon Beecher, a shady fellow who uses suspicious methods to acquire a loan to pay for a house he cannot afford.

His wife, Honora, learns too late that her husband’s actions might have ruined their finances. During her exploration of their new house, she discovers a picture of Olympia, though the author doesn’t provide any further insight into who she might be or what became of her life.

For the most part, the only thread connecting these novels is the house in Fortune’s Rocks. For this reason, one doesn’t actually have to read these novels in the order they were published.

Each novel tells its own unique story. The characters don’t even cross over. Anita Shreve, the author, will mention protagonists from previous books or even later stories, but these references are so brief and inconsequential that they are unlikely to affect the reading experiences of audiences that are unfamiliar with the other books in this series.

The Fortune’s Rocks series is classified as romance. The protagonists are women in love. They are either already engaged in relationships or in the process of finding and courting a partner.

For a time, they are actually happy. Things are hardly perfect in their personal life. But they always take solace in the fact that they have a partner in whom they can completely trust.

But then an incident upends their lives and, even as they struggle to make sense of the drastic changes, they realize that everything they thought they knew about their significant other was a lie.

They spend the rest of their respective novels digging into their partner’s private life, finding clues, piecing the conspiracies together and finally unveiling the truth. Along the way, they find new love.

These Anita Shreve novels are not happy books. They are not tragic per se but the author’s characters struggle a lot. Bad things happen to them at every turn and they have to keep fighting to find any semblance of happiness.

Some people appreciate the author’s exploration of the historical aspects of her novels. They love the way she brings historical events into the plot. Other people do not believe that she goes deep enough.

They also complain a lot about the author’s signature happy endings which pervade each novel in this series despite the hardships that bombard her heroines.

+The Author
Anita Shreve was an American author who was born in 1946. She died in 2018 at the age of 71. The daughter of an airline pilot and a homemaker, Shreve was married three times. The author garnered a reputation for writing tragic stories. Her death was imputed to cancer.

+Fortune’s Rocks
Olympia Biddeford had more privileges than most women living in 1899. Her parents were a prominent wealthy couple from Boston and Olympia was afforded the best education money could buy.

When she went to the family’s summer home in Fortune’s Rocks, the Doctor was the last person she expected to encounter. Her father’s friend and three times her age, the Doctor was married. He also had children.

And yet that did not keep him from lusting after her. Olympia, for her part, couldn’t deny the desire she felt for him either. And neither of them gave much thought to the consequences that would descend upon their lives when they fell headlong into their passionate affair.

The results were quite cataclysmic. Olympia’s future, which once seemed so bright, began to dim. It will take incredible strength on her part to turn things around in an era that doesn’t look too kindly upon infidelity.

+Sea Glass
Honora and Sexton Beecher were quite happy when they purchased a home near the ocean. Like any other couple, they had problems. But Honora felt perfectly secure in her marriage.

And she was determined to make their new house a proper home. But then the economy collapsed and Honora realized that Sexton had kept a secret from her. More than the betrayal, though, one unscrupulous act on his part had placed their financial future in dire straits.

Now Honora is doing what she can to salvage their relationship. Sexton isn’t too worried, though, not when he is so busy organizing a strike against his place of work. Honora cannot help but worry that his decision to use their home as a base of operations for his rebellion will hurt them both.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Fortune’s Rocks Quartet