Florence Adler Swims Forever, historical fiction book review by @duffythewriter

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 bedrest 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 in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.

Listen to an excerpt of Florence Adler Swims Forever

Duffy’s Thoughts On Florence Adler Swims Forever

I’ve been busier than ever at work, a few things going on personally, and the last couple of books I read were very dark and murderous. It was time to escape for a bit. However, I didn’t want to get inside the brain of a serial killer or read about wives bumping off husbands with rat poison. I needed a lighter read, but one that would hold my attention and distract me from the real world for a short time. Florence Adler Swims Forever was that book.

This is a real family saga with ups and downs, tragedy and suspicion, all bound together with love from Gussie, a smart, innocent and truly delightful seven-year-old girl. I really enjoyed seeing how these family trials and tribulations affected Gussie. What did she understand? What didn’t she? Will these events mould her outlook on life long into adulthood?

There is no giant plot-twist to be found within Florence Adler Lives Forever’s pages or big reveal at the end. What it does have instead is high-quality character writing and a well-crafted story arc. If you are looking to dive into the pages of a good book and be enchanted and absorbed by a tight cast of characters, Florence Adler Swims Forever is the book for you.

Perfect reading for fans of Pamela Hart or Leanne Lovegrove.

Check out some of Duffy’s other historical fiction book reviews!

florence adler swims forever book reviews
Available from Booktopia and all good book stores.
Published by Simon & Schuster RRP $29.99