The Rocks: A Novel (Paperback)
June 2015 Indie Next List
“This enchanting tale set against the backdrop of the beautiful Mediterranean is a bittersweet double love story told in reverse. The Rocks begins with a dramatic, shocking event and then moves backward in time to reveal the 60-year-old secret that caused the unraveling of a marriage and forever altered the lives of the two families involved. A page-turning family saga with a mystery at its core, this is the perfect book to usher in a summer of great reading!”
— Adrian Newell, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA
“Irresistibly sunny… Set in the brightly lit Mediterranean amid old olive trees and sexual intrigue, music and wine and beautiful women... Propulsive.” –The New York Times Book Review
“The perfect book for pretending it's already beach season.” –O, The Oprah Magazine
A romantic page-turner propelled by the sixty-year secret that has shaped two families, four lovers, and one seaside resort community.
Set against dramatic Mediterranean Sea views and lush olive groves, The Rocks opens with a confrontation and a secret: What was the mysterious, catastrophic event that drove two honeymooners apart so suddenly and absolutely in 1948 that they never spoke again despite living on the same island for sixty more years? And how did their history shape the Romeo and Juliet–like romance of their (unrelated) children decades later? Centered around a popular seaside resort club and its community, The Rocks is a double love story that begins with a mystery, then moves backward in time, era by era, to unravel what really happened decades earlier.
Peter Nichols writes with a pervading, soulful wisdom and self-knowing humor, and captures perfectly this world of glamorous, complicated, misbehaving types with all their sophisticated flaws and genuine longing. The result is a bittersweet, intelligent, and romantic novel about how powerful the perceived truth can be—as a bond, and as a barrier—even if it’s not really the whole story; and how one misunderstanding can echo irreparably through decades.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Peter Nichols has worked in advertising and as a screenwriter, and a shepherd in Wales, and he has sailed alone across the Atlantic. He divides his time between Europe and the United States.
“If you can’t summer in sunbaked Mallorca, console yourself with this irresistible tale that moves back in time through 50-odd years and three generations of gorgeous, gifted expatriates and bohemians. . . You’ll feel transported.” —People
“The Rocks seems on the face of things to be an irresistibly sunny beach book. Most of it is set in the brightly lit Mediterranean, amid old olive groves and sexual intrigue, music and wine and beautiful women. But this sparkling surface glides and washes over. . . a tragic double romance, told in reverse. . . Nichols has a firm grasp of the chronology and a clear sense of control over the novel's trajectory and purpose: to illuminate the wreckage of romantic love and the end of a marriage, and, finally, to reveal the mystery at the heart of its death. . . Propulsive.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[What] smart, sexy summer lit is invariably made of. . . The Rocks has all the requisite romance and intrigue of good melodrama— and its settings are so postcard-gorgeous you can almost taste the sea spray and cold horchata— but there’s real wit and substance in his storytelling. Think of it as a beach read you’ll respect in the morning.” —Entertainment Weekly
“This page-turner will transport readers to the sunny community of expats at a glamorous seaside resort, where mystery, love, and family legacy are all fiercely intertwined.” —Harper's Bazaar
“Mr. Nichols takes the reader on a 400-page odyssey that includes a crooked real-estate deal, a hair-raising drug run in Morocco and enough sexual encounters to keep the summer beach reader breathlessly turning the page. Throughout it all, Mr. Nichols’s writing is witty and erudite.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A Mediterranean escape in the form of a novel, [prepare to] get swept away.” —Cosmopolitan
“[The Rocks is a book] to pack no matter where you’re going.” —Marie Claire
“[The Rocks is] constructed to keep the reader guessing. . . So we keep turning the pages not to discover what will happen, but to find out what has already occurred. Along the way, there are sumptuous lunches served on yachts, exotic couples met while traveling in Morocco, older women seducing much younger men. . . In other words, this is the perfect book for pretending it’s already beach season.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A sexy saga set in the Mediterranean.” —Good Housekeeping
“We hear the rueful hum of real life, full of possibilities seized but mostly missed. And we grow wealthier by the page.” —USA Today
“Not all beach reads bring to mind the serene atmosphere of a languid resort town. . . But Nichols's novel, set in Mallorca, a sleepy Mediterranean spot, is a perfect escape.” —Huffington Post
“If you won’t be vacationing on the Mediterranean, here’s the next best thing: a sweeping, romantic novel set on the sunny island of Mallorca.” —Newsday
“Glamorous. . . A riveting mystery and a decades-long love story.” —Travel & Leisure
“[With its] cinematic setting, lovably flawed characters and dry wit, [The Rocks is] a literary love story and captivating family saga.” —Bustle
“Peter Nichols's The Rocks is a novel with two love stories that move backward in time, both set in the beautiful Mediterranean and built around a seaside resort and its endearing expatriate community.” —PopSugar
“Pack this one for your beach bag.” –PureWow
“It’s the perfect beach read, with romance, mystery, humor, and drama all set on a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea.” –The Boston Globe
“Wonderfully atmospheric.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“[The Rocks] is precisely the sort of novel you think of as a summer read. A Mediterranean island the gorgeous and glamorous Mallorca, graces the cover– after one glance, you’ll start planning your next vacation. The image promises heat and romance and sex, as well as intrigue, and The Rocks delivers.” –The Miami Herald
“A marvelous journey. . . Readers can bask vicariously in the gorgeous setting and the descriptions of delicious food.” –The Christian Science Monitor
“The Rocks by Peter Nichols is set in a glamorous resort on the Spanish island and makes full use of the lush Mediterranean landscape.” –Tampa Bay Times
“Ambitious in its structure, with its vivid island setting and a cast of eclectic and compelling characters, The Rocks is a novel that examines the fallout and lasting echoes, across generations even, of a single, consequential moment.” —Paste
“Perfect beach read. . . Bonus points for most vacation-aspirational cover.” —Health
“Vacation-worthy.” – The Columbus Dispatch
“Everything you’d hope for in a great beach read… The Rocks feels a bit like the literary equivalent of a good Netflix binge; a guilty pleasure well-crafted enough that you don’t actually have to feel guilty about it.” —BookPage
“Nichols deftly melds comedy and compassion, and his rendering of his Mediterranean setting will have readers packing their bags.” —Booklist (starred review)
“As intoxicating as a long afternoon sitting at the bar at The Rocks. . . All of it is absolutely riveting, leaving the reader desperate to depart immediately for swoony Mallorca. . . Nichols' expertise on everything from the Odyssey to olive oil to classic movies enriches the story, as does his profound understanding of his screwed-up cast of characters. . . A literary island vacation with a worldly, wonderfully salacious storyteller.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Nichols has conjured the perfect beach read. . . The two central stories engage the readers’ sympathies and emotions, while Nichols colors in the background with the indelible imagery of the wind-swept Mediterranean.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A beautifully crafted love story set against an idyllic backdrop of ocean breezes and lemon groves. Nichols expertly weaves a tale that stretches across decades and generations, giving us a unique and unforgettable cast of characters." —J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine
“A wondrous novel. The Rocks is clearly the odyssey Peter Nichols was born to undertake.” —Richard Russo
“A Mediterranean idyll, a family saga, a mystery. A love story that’s as weird as real life, as rich and surprising and tender and affecting. The Rocks is all these things. Like Beautiful Ruins, it reminds me of all the reasons I read novels.” —Jennifer Haigh, Pen/Hemmingway Award-winning author of Faith
From the Hardcover edition.