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Florence Adler Swims Forever – Rachel Beanland

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“How many people know about…Florence?”

Florence and Fannie – sisters – spent their summers living above their parents’ bakery.

Fannie’s daughter, Gussie, is spending the summer with Florence and her grandparents (Esther and Joseph) because doctors have ordered Fannie to undergo complete bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy.

Joseph then decides to take in the daughter of an old friend, Anna, to keep her safe from Nazi Germany and with that, the summer is off to a start.

Florence is training to swim across the channel, Gussie adores spending time with aunt and Fannie is stuck inside all the time, bored out of her mind.

But then…the unthinkable happens and the whole family is left reeling.

Well.

Except for Fannie.

Esther is adamant that telling Fannie what happened to Florence would jeopardize Fannie’s pregnancy.

And so, the entire family prepares to keep a horrible secret until the end of August.

Eventually people felt so weighed down by the yoke of their own bad decisions that they could scarcely move.

But deciding to keep a secret, and actually doing it are two different things.

Ahhh…this one didn’t go entirely to my expectations but it was still interesting.

I loved the perspective of Gussie and Joseph – they felt so heartbreakingly real.

The drama from the inclusion of Anna and Esther’s principles certainly sparked interest. And factoring in the wobbling relationship between Fannie and her husband – wild.

However, even with all of that simmering in the background…this book felt slow.

The entire family was playing the waiting game for the birth of Fannie’s child…and to me (as a reader), I felt that.

It also felt frustrating (and a bit unnecessary) to hid the truth to begin with (which frustrated me), though that could just be my experience influencing the way I view this.

Someone I loved dearly died and I wasn’t told about it for a few days (my parents were worried about a college test)…and while I made it to the funeral, that moment of finding out…it’s something I’ve never forgotten.

I couldn’t imagine being in Fannie’s position, where your own parents conceal such a tragedy from you because they arbitrarily decided you couldn’t handle it. It’s a huge betrayal.

All in all, this book was interesting but I never fully connected and I feel like my own experiences pulled me out of it.

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster, and Rachel Beanland for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Interested in this one from Rachel Beanland? Buy it here:  Amazon

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