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Summer on the New Hampshire coast.

Body Surfing - Anita Shreve

I originally read this book back in 2010 and only gave it 3 stars. Then a friend recently gave me an abridged audio version and so I decided to give it another go. The shortened version was more enjoyable and I gave it 4 stars this time around, maybe I was just in the mood for it - or maybe the full version lost my attention somehow.

 

Sydney is only 29, but has already been divorced from one husband and bereaved from a second. While she reassess her life, she takes on the job of coaching Julie, the not-so-academic daughter of Mark and Anna Edwards. They are spending their summer at the beach house - quite a mansion to be just a summer home - and Julie needs help to get her through her final year at school.

Everything seems fine until Julie's two older brothers, Ben and Jeff, join the family for their summer vacation. Jeff is involved with Victoria, a local girl he's known from childhood, and an announcement is expected. Ben is single. The presence of Sydney rather upturns the apple-cart and events proceed from there.

 

As others have commented, there was rather too much description of what characters are wearing, which doesn't really add anything for me and starts to irritate after a while. Otherwise, the characters were well drawn, even in the abridged version, and I'd completely forgotten the ending, which helped.

 

I didn't purposely set out to read all four books in the Fortune's Rocks quartet, in fact, I didn't originally realise that they were connected. I did, however, start to wonder whether the house on the New Hampshire coast that each of the novels revolved around was in some way connected; it seemed it was sharing its history with us through each of the novels. I love the reappearance of characters or features from previous works, so this was a bonus for me.

 

Fortunes Rocks Quartet (my ratings)

Fortune's Rocks (5 stars)

The Pilot's Wife (5 stars)

Sea Glass (5 stars)

Body Surfing (3, 4 stars)