Picks and Pans Review: Fortune's Rocks
Book of the week
In her seventh novel, Shreve returns to the craggy coastal landscape of her bestselling The Pilot's Wife to spin another powerful story of people driven to emotional extremes. This time, she chronicles a turn-of-the-century affair between a precocious 15-year-old girl and a married doctor nearly three times her age. Shreve signals her intent early on when she observes that authors go back to the past not only for "baroque Ianguage and richer color," but also because "the social mores of a previous era might better highlight certain moral dilemmas of one's own time."
Therein lie the book's sins and virtues. The liaison is so indulgently paced and lavishly detailed (every muddied hem is noted) that readers may grow impatient. But when Shreve turns to practical, emotional and moral consequences, Fortune's Rocks achieves a riveting force that reinforces her reputation as a master storyteller. (Little, Brown, $24.95)
Bottom Line: Another spellbinder from a mesmerizing author