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.

Swimming Lessons is such a beautiful, wonderful, heartbreaking book! I am in love with this beautifully written novel and it’s an incredible, mesmerizing story. I am actually struggling to even write this review because I am astounded by its beauty! Here is a little bit more about this incredible novel.

The story revolves around Ingrid’s account of her marriage to her husband and famous writer, Gil. She writes a series of letters and places them in corresponding books from her husband’s sprawling library which she hopes he will find at some point in the future. However, shortly after she writes her final letter she disappears leaving behind her two daughters and of course, many unanswered questions. The novel then alternates between present day and 1970’s London. At the heart of this story is the mystery of Ingrid’s disappearance. This story is told in dual perspectives and dual timelines. Flora, who is Ingrid’s daughter never believed her mother died, she was only 10 when she disappeared. Soon Flora gets a call from her older sister Nan that their father had an accident but he is saying that he saw Ingrid. Nan just thinks that her father is senile however Flora believes that her father did see their mother and is now on a mission to get to the truth of her mother’s disappearance once and for all.

This is our main and most prominent perspective, however, let me tell you more about our other timeline! Our other timeline and perspective are told in the form of letters written by Ingrid; the letters she has written to her husband Gil. These letters are poetically beautiful but also heartrendingly sad. In these letters, she expresses her deepest darkest thoughts about her unhappy marriage, about the mishaps, their decline, her husband’s selfishness.. his lack of responsibility as a father and a husband and lastly his infidelity. Now let me tell you what I thought about this wonderful book!

Swimming Lessons is a beautiful, quiet and poetic novel, but also an eerie, compelling one. It is unlike anything I have read before and simply beautifully beautiful. Fuller’s writing and prose capture your heart from the very first page and compels you to read until there is nothing more to read. Her writing is dense and multi-layered and made me fall completely in love with this unconventional family. Her writing was so personal that through their internal struggles and pain I felt as if I was right beside them and feeling all of her feelings. To say her writing is emotive is an understatement and I am just in awe of this woman’s wonderful writing.

My two favorite aspects of this novel besides the beautiful writing were the characters and Ingrid’s letters. Growing up I have always adored letters and the lost art of letter writing. So much so that at the beginning of my relationship with my husband I made us write each other letters as he was in America and I was in Britain! My point is that I adore it so the fact that 50% of this novel is full of beautifully written letters made me a happy woman. This now brings me to the characters. Our main character Ingrid is perfect in my opinion; to read her letters and to know those deepest darkest thoughts of hers was simply incredible…how her letters unraveled a mystery and told the story of her life was magical to read and I can honestly say that I felt all of her feelings as she wrote those letters, they were just so stunningly beautiful. The rest of the family are also wonderful, I loved learning about them and their life’s and their thoughts too. This novel focuses on a family which could be any family we see today. It also focuses on some important themes such as these mysteries of people disappearing and how it affects your family so this is all really wonderful and very important. I just love this novel so much and hope all of you lovely readers get a chance to read it!

To summarise I would implore all of you lovely readers to read Swimming Lessons. It is a beautiful novel that demands to be read and demands to be felt. No amount of words I write here can do it justice so please, pick it up for yourself and fall in love! Swimming Lessons, of course, gets Five Stars from me!

As always thank you so much for reading! Please do comment below what you think of this novel or whether you have already read it; I would love to know all of your thoughts! Let me know also whether you have read much literary fiction and mysteries. Thank you so much again for reading!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! Please have a read of the preview and if you find that you have loved what you have read then all you need to do is click the Buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to the book on Amazon USA! If you are in the U.K. then below I have attached a link to the book for the Amazon U.K. website. I have also attached some links about the author and this wonderful book! Thank you so much again for reading book lovers, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book!   

Amazon U.K. / Goodreads / Book Depository / Publisher; Penguin – Fig Tree

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242 comments

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I loved this book!! One of my favorites!

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Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting that is so kind of you!

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This book really is incredible and I am so happy you love it also! It is so wonderful. I would love to see this made into a movie what do you think!?

Yes, a movie could be great! I generally don’t love movie adaptations, but this one actually has all he makings of a good one!!

I too don’t really like movie adaptions but this would be an exception. The only other movie adaptations I like are Gone Girl and the girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Have you read or seen either of those? (:

New to wordpress and had to say that your blog is awesome and so is this comment! Agree with what you said 100%. follow my blog for when its ready. Keep BOOK ROCKING!

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment so thanks again!

What is your name and where are you from in the world I am curious!

I look forward to your reply, thanks again!

New to wordpress and had to say that your blog is awesome and so is this comment! Agree with what you said 100%. follow my blog for when its ready. Keep BOOK ROCKING!

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment so thanks again!

What is your name and where are you from in the world I am curious!

I look forward to your reply, thanks again!

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New to wordpress and had to say that your blog is awesome and so is this comment! Agree with what you said 100%. follow my blog for when its ready. Keep BOOK ROCKING!

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment so thanks again!

What is your name and where are you from in the world I am curious!

I look forward to your reply, thanks again!

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I hadn’t heard of this novel – it’s on my must read list now!

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Thank you so much for commenting! What should I call you? (:

I go by V.J.

Aww great! Nice to meet you V.J. My name is Aimee (:

Aimee – a friend and I think, kindred spirit.

Definitely so (: so do you have any book recommendations?

I have a page on my site (onewomansquest.org) that is dedicated to books I deem worthy of recommending. It’s not an extensive list, just one I started in the past year or so.

Aww great! I have screenshotted this and will look at it soon. Thanks so much (:

Not to confuse you, but I have two sites – one for basic ramblings, and one for poetry (vjknutson.org).

Aww great! I will check this one out also thanks! (:

New to wordpress and had to say that your blog is awesome and so is this comment! Agree with what you said 100%. follow my blog for when its ready. Keep BOOK ROCKING!

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment so thanks again!

What is your name and where are you from in the world I am curious!

I look forward to your reply, thanks again!

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Oh this novel is amazing and you must read it! Do you love literary fiction? (:

I do – I’m a literature major, French and English. Would eat words if I could.

This is so impressive well done you (: my husband is a major in English literature and I have a degree in classical studies. Although my husband doesn’t use his degree but rather is an engineer architect!

Interesting how life turns out….I am (was) a high school teacher

Aww how amazing! I am thinking of becoming a nursery teacher or to teach children in the future it’s because I love babies so much. I have four (:

Wow – and apparently you have lots of patience, too, lol. I had three, all grown now.

Aww how lovely. Mine are 5,3, and two new born twins!

Oh, you are busy!

Haha very but I love it (:

I love anything to do with France too, I am obsessed and whenever me and my family visit Europe France is a must! (:

Such a beautiful language – I am English first language, but pursued the French throughout school. Hope to travel to France again one day.

I know a little bit of French but not much because I didn’t pay attention in school.

My children are already learning French though because I think it would be an amazing skill for them to have and of course it’s easier to learn when they are younger!

Much easier at a young age. I have tried to learn other languages, but nothing seems to stick without constant exposure.

No definitely not. I just wish I had learned languages whilst I was young but I will make up for it by having my kids taught!

Oh gosh and I would to! (:

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New to wordpress and had to say that your blog is awesome and so is this comment! Agree with what you said 100%. follow my blog for when its ready. Keep BOOK ROCKING!

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment so thanks again!

What is your name and where are you from in the world I am curious!

I look forward to your reply, thanks again!

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