Author(s): Rachel Beanland
'Beanland's novel draws the reader in... The situation she describes is poignant and the characters she develops win us over with their private grief. This is a book about the American dream. The dream is not without costs, and the dreamers are not immune to tragedy' -- New York Times Book Review
How far would you go to hide the truth from the ones you love the most?
Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to holidaymakers and move into the apartment above the bakery they own. The apartment is where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and, despite the cramped quarters, it still feels like home.
Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bedrest, leaving her seven-year-old daughter Gussie in Esther's care. After Joseph insists they take in Anna, a young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. Esther wants nothing more than to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control: there's Fannie's risky pregnancy--not to mention her always-scheming husband, Isaac--and the fact that Stuart Williams, the heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence.
When tragedy strikes during one of Florence's practice swims, Esther makes the shocking decision to keep the truth about Florence's death from Fannie--at least until the baby is born. She pulls the rest of the family into an elaborate web of secret keeping and lies, forcing to the surface long-buried tensions that show us just how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal.
Told with humour and tenderness and based on a true story, Rachel Beanland's debut is a breathtaking meditation on the lengths we go to in order to keep our families together. At its heart, it is an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure--and even thrive--after tragedy.
'A wonderfully assured and completely engrossing first novel. From the very first page, I was completely invested in the lives of Florence, Gussie, Anna and the rest. Florence Adler Swims Forever has muchto say about family, loss and all the ways we have to wonder what might have been, and it does so with great skill and a deeply humane vision. I could not recommend it more highly."
--Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
'A perfect summer read... What's remarkable is not how quickly the book hooked me, but how it held my attention during and after reading...I simply couldn't put it out of my head. I finished in two days.... I felt awe'--USA Today