I heard a lot about Claire Fuller’s previous work, mainly Our Endless Numbered Days, so I had to check this one out as soon as I read the premise.
This book is centered around a family and it explores the relationship between the husband and the wife of that family. The wife, Ingrid, is presumably dead, she drowned, but her husband, Gil, starts finding letters she wrote to him and hid in the numerous books in their house. In these stories, Ingrid recounts the truths and facts, as she calls them, about what their relationship really was and why it was that way.
First off, I loved the writing in this one. It’s beautiful, but it is never too much or never flowery. It’s not a poetic sort of writing, but it still has depth to it, and I just found that it had a certain melancholy to it, and it worked with the story so well.
This is a literary fiction novel, but it has a light dose of mystery to it, which gives it that “page turner” effect. You just want to keep reading. The narrative is split into two points of view: Ingrid’s in the past, through the letters she leaves to her husband, in which she recounts their story, and the present, in which Ingrid is gone and it mostly revolves around Flora, their daughter, and how she deals with coming back home to spend time with her father.
I loved Ingrid as a character. I genuinely adore seeing women who struggle with what are presumably established and natural female roles, like having children. She feels so real and fleshed out and from the start, and throughout the novel, you feel a certain companionship with her.
I also loved how Fuller structured the story. The story deals a lot with idealizing people and the structure made that whole process of seeing why someone actually is so much more poignant.
I also really liked the characters of Flora and Nan, their children. I love seeing how parents’ decisions and lives affect their children, and Fuller did a great job just showing us through Nan and Flora’s way of life how their parents essentially made them.
Overall, if you’re looking for great writing and a really strong story with fantastic characters (which who isn’t), I definitely recommend you check out Swimming Lessons.
*I received a free review copy through NetGalley. However, all opinions stated are my own.