- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 23 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: January 26, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N035U43
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Swimming Lessons Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
|Free with your Audible trial|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.
Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.
My Thoughts: The alternating narratives in Swimming Lessons truly captivated me. One narrator was Ingrid, wife and mother, who has written a plethora of letters to her husband Gil, whom she addresses as “you” in these missives. She is finally having a conversation with him, one which he cannot ignore or dismiss. She is venting about their troubled marriage and the ways in which her life was a disappointment. There are, however, some brighter moments in her letters…mostly about their lives before she had to give up her dreams. Her dreams of an education and her own writing career. The education which she was unable to complete because of the university’s rules regarding married/pregnant students.
Ingrid’s letters were written in 1992, just before she seemingly drowned (or disappeared). She speaks mostly of their lives in the 1970s…but also touches on the later years.
Third person narrators included Gil and Flora. We see Nan from Flora’s perspective, and I didn’t like her very much, probably because she tends to dismiss Flora’s thoughts and ideas, and treats her like a young child. Nan apparently took on the mother’s role after she was gone. Later on, we see a kinder version of her.
Gil seemed like a very selfish man, but since his present day situation shows him troubled and ill, I did feel some sympathy for him.
I loved the descriptions of the book lined rooms and hallways. Stacks of books, sometimes two or three deep, surrounded them all. The fact that Ingrid’s letters were placed in the books in a somewhat planned fashion added to the intrigue of the story.
Would Gil find the letters? Would he finally understand what his wife had been trying to say all those years? Would there be answers to their questions? What stunning events happened to bring the story to a riveting conclusion? And who is the mysterious woman who keeps showing up in Hadleigh? A 5 star read.
The main character writes letters to her husband and hides them in books for him to find later. Through these letters, we see when they first met, married, and had children while hearing her unguarded thoughts about all of it. Chapters alternate between the letters and her family’s perspective years after her disappearance.
We see the highs and lows of relationships tinged with expectations and regrets. Fuller gives us the chance to navigate through the waves as if we’re there with the characters as they try to understand themselves and each other.
I loved the writing style and characters so much that I didn’t want this story to end. A perfect summer read.
We meet Gil as he discovers some writing in one of his books. He moves over to the window to get the light better and thinks he sees his wife Ingrid outside. No big deal I hear you say, well, it is a bit considering that she disappeared, presumed drowned, 12 years ago. So, off he goes chasing after her but, being rather on the aged side, he falls before he can catch up. Hospitalised, his two daughters race to his bedside. Flora especially wants / needs to know what happened to her mother. In alternating chapters we hear from Ingrid herself via letters she is writing to Gil. Instead of posting them, she is putting them into his books. Each letter is appropriately filed away in a book befitting of its content and each letter starts off with what is her present and then goes on to detail her and Gil's past. When they met, what happened next, all the way up to when she left his life. Why she felt the need to do this in the way she did becomes apparent as more is discovered about their relationship. There is a lot to provoke thought in this book I was definitely drawn to the idea of readers and how they interpret books, how they put a part of them into what the author has already given which is the reason that no two people read a book the same. Not as keen on scribbling in books but I can see the fascination for others to examine.
The characters were all very well described and easy for me to connect with / emote to. Not that I liked all of them although I did change my mind about a few as time went on and I learned more about them. I do love a good dysfunctional family and you get that here for sure. There is also a little bit of a mystery but that isn't front and centre here. It's much more about suspense, drama and emotional discovery. I also really loved the dynamics between Nan and Flora, two peas in a pod they are not! Where Nan is the sensible older child, wanting and needing to mother both Flora and Gil, Flora is the more romantic, holding on to the possibility that her father is right when he says he has seen her mother. Some of the bickering between them is brilliant.
The other thing that really impressed me was the injection of the past (via the letters) at exactly the right times. Sometimes directly before/ after the corresponding scene in the present but occasionally displaced a little which then made their impact more powerful. We also have contradictory memories of the past from several characters which is also true. Me and my brother have very different memories of certain things that happened to us in the past. We both can't be right but also we both can't be wrong. I suspect that, like us, the truth for these characters is somewhere in the middle.
All in all, this was a beautiful read for me. I have had Our Endless Numbered Days on my TBR for far too long now. I really do have to get that read, and soon.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.