This moving story takes place in 1934 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We meet Florence Adler as she is preparing to swim the English Channel. Her sister Fannie is pregnant and in the hospital on bed rest. Fannie’s husband Isaac is a distant and irresponsible dreamer so their daughter Gussie is being cared for by her parents - Esther and Joseph Adler. The Adlers have also recently welcomed Anna into their home, a 19 year old refugee they have sponsored to come to the United States to escape the growing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe as Hitler continues to rise in power. Swimming coach and lifeguard Stuart is befriended by the family despite his father’s ownership of a leading Atlantic City hotel which is restricted - Jews and people of color are not welcome.
When the Adler family experiences a horrific loss, they must find a way to go on. It is decided that Fannie cannot be told about the recent tragedy as it might jeopardize her pregnancy. Gussie, who is wise beyond her years, has to keep the secret from her mother.
Florence Adler Swims Forever transports the reader to this pre-World War II period and does a fine job describing how Atlantic City was at the time. It was easy to connect to the Adler family and feel their pain. We can all relate to loss and the unrelenting love of a parent. The story is based on the author’s family which makes the book even more powerful – be sure to read the Author’s Note at the end.
Many thanks to Edelweiss, Simon & Schuster and author Rachel Beanland for an advance copy of this impressive debut novel.
Be sure to hit the beach with Florence Adler Swims Forever.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: July 7, 2020.
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