Book Review: Learning to Swim

I was hooked after reading the first two paragraphs of this debut novel which has been described as a “thrilling thriller with a whiff of Rebecca.”

If I’d blinked, I would have missed it.

But I didn’t and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry. It could have been a bundle of trash; it could have been a child-sized doll. Either was more likely than what I thought I saw: a small wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment as it plummeted toward the water.

So many questions whirled through my mind as I read that well-crafted opening. Would I jump in, call for help or dismiss what I had seen?

The novel begins with freelance writer Troy Chance diving into the icy waters of Lake Champlain to save a boy tossed from a ferry traveling in the opposite direction. Instead of going directly to the police, Troy takes him home with her and sets in motion a chain of events that turn her quiet, predictable life upside down.

First, she must learn to communicate with Paul, the quiet, French-speaking boy whose silence speaks louder than his words. She applies her journalistic skills to finding and locating his father, Philippe, in Ottawa.  But she doesn’t stop there. She becomes obsessed with the mystery of who tossed the boy from the ferry and continues the investigation on her own.

Henry uses the first person point of view to give us an intimate look into Troy’s mind as she travels between the two countries in this well-crafted tale of kidnapping, murder, wealth, deception, and romance.

A former freelance journalist and sports editor, Sara J. Henry has written a compelling novel which has garnered her praise and acclaim from the publishing world. She is the winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for best first novel and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She has also been nominated for the Barry and Anthony Awards for best first novel.

The sequel, A Cold and Lonely Place, will be released in November of this year. In the meantime, pick up Learning to Swim and set aside large blocks of reading time. You won’t be able to put the book down.


2 responses to “Book Review: Learning to Swim

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