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A Single Breath: A Novel Paperback – April 8, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476750157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476750156
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Eva Bowe’s husband, Jackson, is swept off a jetty while fishing in England, she travels to his native Tasmania to mourn and seek comfort from his father, a man she has met only through phone calls and letters. What she finds is an aging alcoholic who, for reasons he will not cop to, never supported her and Jackson’s marriage and an estranged brother, Saul, whose life path is uncannily similar to Jackson’s. Against his father’s wishes, Saul puts Eva up in a shack on his beachfront property, where he teaches her how to free-dive, and they slowly acknowledge their mutual attraction. As Eva uncovers the truth—or pries it from Saul—she must also reconcile her memories of the man she fell in love with and the man she is learning Jackson actually was. But the bombs keep dropping, threatening Eva and Saul’s tentative connection. The plot twists are good—too good to spoil—and there is just enough of Tasmania’s rough wildness to transport the reader. As in Swimming at Night (2013), Clarke weaves secrets and betrayals and the inner journey of a quiet, appealing Everywoman. --Susan Maguire

Review

“Brilliant. . . the characters and locations come alive.” (The Oklahoman)

“The plot twists are good—too good to spoil—and there is just enough of Tasmania’s rough wildness to transport the reader. . . . Clarke weaves secrets and betrayals and the inner journey of a quiet, appealing Everywoman.” (Booklist)

“An intensely emotional story of love, loss and deception . . . Clarke skillfully envelops readers in a delicate, romantic story tinged with intrigue and set in a breathtakingly exotic locale.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A satisfying exploration of two sisters’ relationship, cleverly put together and written in a way that draws the reader along.” (Free-Lance Star)

“In the same vein as Rosamund Lupton’s Sister, Clarke takes the reader on an exciting and mysterious trail. . . . [She] does a nice job of creating characters who make us care about them and situations that are exciting and believable. A great read for fans of smart contemporary women’s fiction as well as thriller and mystery readers.” (Library Journal (starred review))

"Alternating chapters juxtaposing the two sisters’ lives engage readers from the start in Clarke’s accomplished debut." (Booklist)

“A tender and intricate meditation on sisterhood and family, Swimming at Night is an accomplished debut. With a deft hand, Lucy Clarke weaves a deep and compelling story that is as much about what binds us together as it is about what tears us apart. Perfectly capturing the impossibly complicated love of siblings, this is a rich and moving story that lingers long after the book is closed.” (Lisa Unger, author of Heartbroken and Beautiful Lies)

Swimming at Night reaches deep, exploring sibling relationships, love, friendship, identity, and the willingness to put it all on the line in order to learn the truth. I loved my own journey with these two sisters and the haunting landscape of their travels!” (Ellen Sussman, author of French Lessons and The Paradise Guest House)

"I could not put down Lucy Clarke's engaging debut, Swimming at Night. As Katie searched for the truth about her sister's death, I savored being an armchair traveler to seaside locales around the world." (Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Close Your Eyes and How to Be Lost)

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Customer Reviews

I didn't want to put this book down once I started reading.
L. Evans
This book has it all: a good story, great characters, the setting in Tasmania was perfect, and suspense!
Cathy
I especially loved the way the author tapped into the reader’s senses.
Cecelia Dowdy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on May 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
In this entertaining but heart wrenching story, Eva has been married to Jackson for a short time when they travel to Dorset and Jackson decides to go fishing. It is a wintery day and he is swept off the rocky jetty and his body never recovered.

After a period of mourning, Eva decides to travel to Tasmania to meet Jackson's family. She hopes to learn more of his past and maybe they could mourn Jackson's loss together.

Jackson's father doesn't return any of Eva's calls and when she goes to his home, his reception his cold. He explains that he is sorry for her loss but his son is dead and it's probably better if she should leave.

Eva is distraught with this rejection and becomes more determined to learn more from Jackson's past. She goes to Jackson's brother's home on Watteboom Island.

At first Saul is aloof but eventually he begins to care for Eva. Through him, she realizes that the man she had grown to love was not the person he claimed to be and that her marriage was built on lies. The history that Jackson related as his own, was actually that of Saul. The reader shares the heartbreak Eva feels and the destruction of the man who she thought she knew.

Eva and Saul get to know each other better. She stays in a small home near Saul's and they go freediving. She feels transported to the love of the deep sea and Saul's work as a marine biologist.

The story is intensely readable. We hope that Eva can find happiness and the power to deal with past lies. There are numerous surprises in the story which are cleverly done. The reader will sympathise with Eva and hope that she can love again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lucy Clarke is a recent discovery of mine. I've read both her books now, and can't wait for the next, because she has such an intimate writing style that pulls you right into the narrator's world—a world that, in both of her books, has a central emotional family mystery at its core and an exotic setting. In A Single Breath, we're with young wife Eva every step of the way as she travels to her husband's native Tasmania and begins discovering that he lied to her throughout their relationship. The setting, of course, helps make this book stand out, but that's not only because it's in Tasmania (on my bucket list), but also because of Clarke's wonderfully naturalistic style of writing, one where she squeezes every ounce of visual and sensual imagery out of the landscape to amplify her narrator's emotions. This was another of those books that kept me up all night reading.
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By Jane Beckwith on October 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
An okay book. The beginning is intriguing, but the middle is repetitive and drags on and on. My main problem with the book is that the main character is distraught for the entire story. It just got old after awhile. Also, although some of the major characters are well drawn (Dirk), others are not fleshed out enough (Saul, Jeanette). There is a lot of emphasis on how the characters look and what they are wearing and the women in the story behave rather petulantly. Reading this book kind of reminded me of watching a soap opera.
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Format: Kindle Edition
At what point do you know – really know – the person to whom you are married? Is it when you’re falling in love? Is it when you are pronounced husband and wife? Is it on your fifth anniversary? Tenth? Ever?

Eva and Jackson have been married for eight months and have been together for a few years when Jackson falls into a churning river while fishing, leaving Eva a bereft, grief-stricken widow. She cannot fathom how this happened, much less why. All she knows is that she and Jackson were in love and now he’s gone.

Although they lived in London, Jackson grew up in Tasmania, so Eva heads there to try and connect with his family. She quickly discovers that the Jackson she knew is not the Jackson who really existed. She knew and loved a man who was a fabrication.

As she tries to make sense of Jackson and her feelings about him, she finds herself getting closer to Saul, Jackson’s younger brother. For their relationship to take hold, though, Eva needs to make peace with her memories of Jackson. She needs to forgive herself, and she needs to forgive him. And she needs to allow herself to be vulnerable.

Told primarily from Eva’s point of view, we also see Jackson’s. His flashbacks to their romance help us understand his perspective, to a degree. Yes, we can see why he felt he had no choice to do what he did, but feeling that way and actually allowing yourself to choose that path are two very different things. As Eva herself points out, there is always a choice.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. Eva is fragile and tender, a raw wound needing to be healed. A fisherman, Saul is the perfect salve for her. He’s used to tagging water critters and checking in on them. He studies creatures who live under water, and he’s also a fisherman.
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By OSUCandace on April 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
A Single Breath, by Lucy Clarke, is a fantastic novel that takes readers on a mysterious adventure with many shocking twists. It is not often that a book shocks me, but A Single Breath surprised me multiple times. What would you do if the man you fell madly in love with and married died tragically? For two years you live what seems to be the perfect life, however suddenly your whole world shifts upside down. Eva faces this stark reality after her husband, Jackson, is killed in an early morning fishing accident. In the midst of mourning Jackson's death, Eva decides that she wants to learn more about Jackson's life prior to their relationship.

Eva and Jackson were still very much in the newlywed stage at the time of his death. With no closure in sight, Eva travels to Jackson's hometown in Australia to meet his family- the family Jackson kept her away from. However, if she was expecting a welcoming party she was sorely mistaken. Jackson's father, Dirk, wants nothing to do with her and his brother Saul did not even know of her existence. This doesn't deter Eva though, she is determined to find out who the man she married really was.

Eva begins to realize in her search that certain things about her life with Jackson seems off. Is it possible that Jackson was not the man she thought he was? Was she so blinded by love that she couldn't see the truth? By doing some investigating, Eva comes to find that the majority of her life with Jackson was a big lie. How would you feel? Would you still be devastated by his passing? Would you feel angry at him? Would you want answers? Or would you want to leave it all behind and start fresh? These are all questions Eva has to face with the loss of Jackson.

I absolutely loved the characters of Eva, Saul, Jackson, and Dirk.
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