Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland
Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to “America’s Playground” and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Despite the cramped quarters, this is the apartment where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and it always 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 bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams.
Esther only wants 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 the handsome heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence.
When tragedy strikes, Esther makes the shocking decision to hide the truth—at least until Fannie’s baby is born—and pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface that reveal how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal.
Based on a true story and told in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions and Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, Beanland’s family saga is a breathtaking portrait of just how far we will go to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.
July 7th, 2020
Historical Fiction/Family Saga
Purchase Your Copy:
Florence Adler Swims Forever is the debut novel by Rachel Beanland. We meet three generations of the Adler family and follow them over a summer none of them will ever forget. When tragedy hits, the family members alternate narrating this family’s journey as they move through loss, grief, and rebuilding their lives. While Florence is an ever-present force, the characters we meet are the ones that were behind after her untimely death.
I loved the multifaceted look at family dynamics and Beanland’s gorgeous writing style made the characters really come alive. I alternated reading and listening to this book in audio format. The audio narrative was performed by a talented cast of narrators and was the perfect way to share this family saga.
The insights into a Jewish family living in Atlantic City in the mid-1930s added so much depth to the storyline. The suspense of this family secrets was just enthralling and reading the author’s note at the end was especially satisfying when we find out that some of this novel is based on real-life events.
I have struggled with the historical fiction genre during this pandemic and I am happy to report that this was a 5-star read for me. I cannot wait for what Beanland writes next and I have my fingers crossed for a much-anticipated sequel to this stunning debut.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the gifted copy. As always, all thoughts are my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. In addition, whenever possible, I will be including the LibroFM bookstore link alongside any other referral links. This allows you to purchase the book from your choice of independent bookstores.