Lucky Turtle


By Bill Roorbach

Formats and Prices




$23.99 CAD

In this “thrilling” love story (Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers and Five Tuesdays in Winter), a teenage girl with a checkered past finds instant chemistry with a mysterious stranger.​

Get author Bill Roorbach's brand new novel, Beep, too!

When sixteen-year-old Cindra Zoeller is sent to a reform camp in Montana after being involved in an armed robbery, she is thrust into a world of mountains and cowboys and prayers and miscreants and people from all walks of life like she’s never seen in suburban Massachusetts. At Camp Challenge, she becomes transfixed by Lucky, a camp employee of mysterious origin—an origin of constant speculation—and the chemistry between them is instant, and profound. The pair escape together into the wilderness to create an idyllic life far from the reach of the law, living off their resounding love, Lucky’s vast knowledge of the wilderness, and a little help from some friends.
But they can run from the outside world for only so long, and the consequences of their naïve fantasy of a future together—and circumstances shaped by skin color—will keep them apart for decades. Cindra gets trapped in a relationship, safely if stultifyingly suburban, where she is both cosseted and controlled by a man who claims to be her rescuer. But for Cindra, there will never be another Lucky, and she dreams of one day finding him, the only man she’s ever fully trusted, her soulmate.

Page-turning, full of vivid characters, delicious suspense, and ultimately joy, Lucky Turtle is a big- hearted, deeply engrossing love story from one of our most entertaining and perceptive writers.

  • “An unforgettable love story.”
  • “Fans of Roorbach’s prolific work will appreciate his signature lyricism and sense of place, his sweeping narrative, humor and romance. New readers are walking into the hands of a skilled storyteller who’s not afraid to take on a big, messy tale of love, privilege and abuse.”
    New York Times Book Review
  • “Nobody else could have written this gorgeous novel, full to the brim with tragedy but also fun, as well as the best kind of romance —embracing so much more than the couple at its center. Cindra is an impeccably loyal and honest narrator, our perfect guide through the wilds of Montana. Lucky Turtle is an ode and a love letter to our wounded, imperfect, and oh-so-beautiful world.”
    Nina de Gramont, author of The Christie Affair
  • “No one writes about love or the American wilderness like Bill Roorbach. A thrilling, blistering tale of young love and old hate and the steady endurance of both.”
    Lily King, author of Five Tuesdays in Winter
  • “Look out: Roorbach has created the sexiest man seen in literature in a good long time . . . An epic love story . . . No greater reading pleasure to be had anywhere.”
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • ​“Roorbach is a consummate raconteur skilled in breathing life into his characters. His prose is well-suited to the Montana landscape, capacious yet created with poetic economy, evoking the splendor of nature in language that sparkles like crystal clear mountain water . . . Roorbach’s understated, luminescent novel beautifully evokes an idyllic world created when two hearts are braided together.”
    Booklist, starred review
  • “An engrossing novel with standout characters.”
    Library Journal, starred review
  • “Two great love affairs—one between characters, the other with the wilds of Montana as its original inhabitants knew it—surge through this engaging, audacious novel. Every page hums with life and energy.”
    Andrea Barrett, author of The Voyage of the Narwhal and Archangel
  • “At once an adventure, a love story, and a profound meditation on the grandeur of the natural world, Lucky Turtle is a novel so full of beauty and heart and pathos that you won’t want it to end, a book that hums with grace, and sings with passion. Roorbach is a national treasure.”
    Jonathan Evison, author of Small World
  • “Roorbach delivers a most electric pulse into the hardscrabble dirt and veins in this novel's memorable backdrop of ancient Montana mountains and waters. Lucky Turtle gives us a world where adventure and landscape combine tenderly for a most unforgettable read.”
    Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders
  • “A story of love and heartbreak in a world of breathtaking splendor and deep injustice, Bill Roorbach's Lucky Turtle is a novel of perseverance, brimming with entertaining dialogue and rich details of the flora and fauna of the West.”
    Shelf Awareness
  • “A new kind of romance… [and] a love letter to the beauty and power of Montana… The tensions don’t simmer here but roil, making for an emotionally challenging, worthwhile and truly special read.”
  • “An unforgettable love story set starkly against Montana Wilderness.”
    Largehearted Boy, starred review

On Sale
May 2, 2023
Page Count
432 pages
Algonquin Books

Bill Roorbach

About the Author

Bill Roorbach is the author of ten books, including the Montana Award-winning Lucky Turtle, The Girl of the Lake, the Kirkus Prize finalist The Remedy for Love, the bestselling Life Among Giants, and the Flannery O’Connor Award–winning collection Big Bend. Roorbach has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His craft book, Writing Life Stories, has been in print for over twenty-five years. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic,The New York Times Book Review, Ploughshares, Granta, Ecotone, New York magazine, The American Scholar, and other publications. He lives in Maine with his family.

Learn more about this author