Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

 This is a lovely debut novel which is set in Atlantic City in the summer of 1934. The book is a tribute to the author’s Jewish family, and is a combination of fact and fiction.

The book introduces the Adler family who rent out their home each year for extra income and reside in their seaside apartment each year. Joseph and Esther are the parents of Fannie and Florence. Fannie is married to Issac and has a 7 year old daughter Gussie. She has suffered a loss of a pregnancy last year and is presently experiencing a high risk pregnancy this summer. Her marriage is an unhappy one. Florence is home from college and is training with her long-time friend Stuart to swim the English channel later in the summer. The family has also taken in Anna, who is the daughter of a woman that Joseph was once engaged to in his homeland, now invaded by Nazi Germany.

When a tragedy strikes the family early in the book, Esther decides that the tragedy needs to be kept secret from Fannie until the baby is born - a difficult challenge given the close-knit nature of the community. This proves to be an extremely difficult summer for the Adler family - one that is full of secrets, isolation and awakening.

The story is told from multiple points of view which lends perspective and insight to the reader. I felt connected to each of the main characters. I love that many elements to the story are indeed fact and I applaud the author for creating this labour of love. The story provides the reader with insight into the problems that the Jewish community experienced worldwide. I could feel the love this family had for one another and the difficulty experienced keeping this secret.

I recommend this book to those that love historical fiction. The book publishes on July 7.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

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