“In 1899 15 year old Olympia lives a sheltered well-to-do life. As she vacations in her parent's seaside cottage in New Hampshire, she meets Dr. Haskell, his wife Catherine and his children. There is a moment in which Olympia realizes there is a spark between them and a relationship develops with expected consequences. For me - there was an ick factor here. Haskell is 41 years old, has a daughter just a couple of years younger than Olympia - and no matter how intelligent and learned the girl is, SHE'S 15!
There didn't seem to be an attempt to distance himself from the girl or much thought as to the ramifications of taking up this disturbing relationship on the part of this self-centered adult. Nor was the fact that in this day and age it would be considered statutory rape explored. There was an adult here, who acted with no self control and little concern for wife and children. he allowed a relationship which he knew would end badly, would have tragic ramifications, would hurt and betray those he loved. Olympia was just a star struck girl as far as I'm concerned - but Haskell was old enough and wise enough to exert self-control. Yet - Shreve manages to keep these characters real and she managed to keep me reading,and staying up way too late, to see how this would turn out.”