The novel takes its name from a fictional New Hampshire beach resort at the turn of the century. The strong-willed, fourteen year-old daughter of an upstanding New England couple brings disgrace on two families when she throws herself into an affair with an older married man. Once her secret is discovered, Olympia Biddeford must cope with the loss and grief of her predicament while withstanding public shame and recrimination. After several years of exile at boarding school, she returns to Fortunes’ Rocks and tries to refashion her life as an independent woman and reclaim her son.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
We had a lively discussion about this book. While several readers were captivated by the romance and drama of the story, others could not get past the image of the 14 year old with the 41 year old (ewwww). We wondered at the man’s total lack of self control and the author’s assumption that these two deserved ultimate happiness. However, we all admired Olympia’s sheer force of will as she battled to reshape her life. The book was extremely well written with sumptuous passages of descriptive prose. Recommended light reading if you can get past the pedophilia.