Mini-Review: Claire Fuller’s ‘Swimming Lessons’


I first discovered the impossibly chic Lucy Williams on a random scroll through Instagram a few weeks back. I came to her page to check out a Missoma London choker she had designed, stayed for her adorable collection of well-priced dresses (she features everything from Ghost Fashion to Realisation Par to Mango), and was ultimately hooked by the #FMNBookClub, in which Lucy recommends a book to her readers each month and engages in a discussion with them about it at the end. A lifestyle blogger with a brain? Certainly not something you see every day. I kid, I kid. Anyways, #FMNBookClub is what led me to my latest read, Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consistently judge books by their covers, and will freely admit that the aesthetics of the book cover are what initially sold me on this read. I was in the middle of another book at the time, but, as soon as I saw this one, I embarked on a 30-minute drive to the closest bookstore that stocked it. Once I had purchased, posed, photographed, and posted it, I decided to learn about the fifth most important ‘p’ in the reading process: the plot.

Swimming Lessons takes place in a charming seaside town in Cornwall called Hadleigh, primarily within a house that sits on a converted swimming pavilion (I am American and patiently waiting for any and all British friends to let me know what a swimming pavilion is).

Gil Coleman: former college professor, lothario, and author of a strongly suggestive book that simultaneously supported his family with its breakout success and caused them significant shame (his wife was not the heroine), is bedridden, recovering from a serious fall. His daughters, Flora and Nan, rush to join his side, only to discover that he fell chasing after his wife, whom he had spotted on the street. Thing is: his wife, Ingrid, disappeared years before and was long presumed dead. As Flora and Nan attempt to get to the bottom of his assertion in the present, the book flashes back to the past—in epistolary form, via letters Ingrid left for Gil in the final days before her disappearance.

Though the book is far from a thriller, I found myself flipping furiously through the pages—the book took me one afternoon to finish. Perfect read for a not-so-laborious Labor Day Weekend getaway.

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