Today’s feature is a recent download: Swimming Lessons, by Claire Fuller; scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.
Intro: Gil Coleman looked down from the first-floor window of the bookshop and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below. He had been among the shelves all afternoon, thumbing through the secondhand books from front to back, pausing at folded-over corners, or where the text had been underlined, flicking through the pages to persuade them to offer up what might be hiding between the leaves. The cup of tea that Viv had brought for him had cooled, forgotten on the window seat. At about three o’clock he had picked up Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, a book he recognised and thought he might already own. It had fallen open, and there, tucked between the pages, he had been surprised to see a folded sheet of thin yellow paper with blue faint lines.
Teaser: I cried in front of Flora’s teacher, not because the letter was so clearly written by a desperate child, and not because Flora is missing school or lying—although that’s what Mrs. Layland thought—but because she doesn’t need me (p. 60%).
Synopsis: Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.
Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?