Learning to Swim by Sara J Henry – Book Review

Learning to Swim by Sara J Henry
Published by Crown, an imprint of Random House

Troy Chance is taking a ferry across Lake Champlain when she sees something fall from the ferry going the opposite direction. In the instant the bundle falls, she knows immediately that it is a child. Somehow she makes it to the child and pulls him to shore, after removing the sweatshirt that was tying his arms together so that he stood no chance of swimming. Troy bonds with the young French-speaking Canadian boy, Paul, almost immediately, and decides to protect him at all costs, keeping him with her instead of going to the police, and investigating his remaining family herself.

Troy is a fabulous character, and I sincerely hope to see more of her from Henry in the future. Not afraid to take risks, Troy follows her heart completely, even when by doing so she puts herself at risk. At the very least, her failure to report rescuing a young boy apparently thrown in the lake on purpose has the potential to land her in very hot water.

Learning to Swim is Henry’s debut novel, and she is off to a fantastic start. It is an incredibly compelling book with great plotting and fantastic characters. Parents of small children be warned, though. Henry’s characters are so realistic and her storytelling so seamless that a reading Learning to Swim a couple of hours before bed gave me a bad dream about a kidnapped child – interestingly, not my actual child, and not Paul from the book, but a generic baby that was ‘mine’ in the dream. If you really react badly to bad things happening to children, you probably should not reading Learning to Swim, although if you can handle it, the book is well worth a bad dream or two.

I highly recommend Learning to Swim, but make sure you know what you’re getting into.

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