FICTION

Florence Adler Swims Forever

S. & S. Jul. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781982132460. $25.99. F
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DEBUT Florence, the 20-year-old daughter of Jewish bakery owners Esther and Joseph Adler, starts the summer of 1934 training for an upcoming trip to France to swim the English Channel. When Florence’s life is cut short in tragedy, Esther and Joseph keep her death quiet from their eldest daughter, Fannie, who waits out a high-risk pregnancy in the hospital. Protecting the baby becomes paramount. While Fannie’s husband, Isaac, swindles away funds in real estate schemes, their young daughter Gussie, unable to grasp the reason behind the lie, mourns the loss of her beloved aunt and misses her mother. Gussie finds comfort in Anna, a young German girl mysteriously living with the Adlers, and Stuart, Flossie’s swim coach and admirer. Stuart, a handsome lifeguard and son of the elite Covington hotel owner, begins clandestine swimming lessons with Anna, growing closer as they also grieve for Florence. As the secrets threaten to spill and heartbreak blankets them, the family must unite to face a future without Florence.
VERDICT Readers of Emma Straub and Curtis Sittenfeld will devour this richly drawn debut family saga based on the story of an ancestor of the author’s.

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