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Florence Adler Swims Forever
Cover of Florence Adler Swims Forever
Florence Adler Swims Forever
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"The perfect summer read" (USA TODAY) begins with a shocking tragedy that results in three generations of the Adler family grappling with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets across the course of one summer.

"Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She'll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story." —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Finalist for The Great Believers
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 to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.
"The perfect summer read" (USA TODAY) begins with a shocking tragedy that results in three generations of the Adler family grappling with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets across the course of one summer.

"Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She'll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story." —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Finalist for The Great Believers
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 to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.
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About the Author-
  • Rachel Beanland is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds bachelor's degrees in art history and journalism from the University of South Carolina and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 11, 2020
    The shock of a family’s loss reverberates through Beanland’s debut. It’s 1934, and Florence Adler is a vivacious 20-year-old living in Atlantic City, N.J., preparing to swim the English Channel with the coaching help of Stuart Williams, a handsome local lifeguard. While at the beach with her niece, seven-year-old Gussie, and their young German Jewish houseguest, Anna Epstein, Florence sets off for a swim, during which she drowns. Her parents, Esther and Joseph, cannot bring themselves to tell Florence’s sister, Fannie, who’s pregnant and in the hospital on bed rest, and Gussie and Fannie’s husband, Isaac, must also keep the secret. The story progresses through the perspectives of those who had a connection to Florence, including Stuart, who harbored a crush on her; and Anna, with whom Florence shared a one-time sexual encounter; and a heady attraction that brews between Anna and Stuart after Florence’s death. Beanland beautifully handles the depiction of loss and rebuilding life without a loved one, describing moments that are by turns painful and moving (“Joseph’s daughter was to be found in the people who loved her the most”). The thick emotional tension will please fans of character-driven historicals.

  • AudioFile Magazine Beanland's novel stands out as its deft narrators add multiple perspectives to the storytelling. The story unfolds in Atlantic City in 1934. Listeners meet a confident young lady, a grieving mother, a desperate Jewish refugee, a flailing husband, a perplexed sister, a distracted child, a despondent heir, and a frantic father who are all trying to navigate secrets, pride, and loss. When tragedy strikes, the narrators rise to the demands of depicting various degrees of coping as the characters navigate trying times. Authentic-sounding accents and even pacing add to the effectiveness of their performances. Listeners should not miss the author's note, in which Bean recounts her inspiration for this story. S.K.G. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
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Rachel Beanland
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