Top 10 Books of 2020: Number 8

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Surprisingly, it’s not a spoiler to say that Florence Adler dies. The real story in this book is how the family copes with her loss, as well as keeping her death a secret from her sister, who is confined to bedrest during pregnancy.
The story is set in the summer of 1934, before good pre-natal care, before cell phones, and before social media. It was hard enough to keep such a tragic story under wraps back then – this is one of those stories that could not occur today.

Despite the story being centered around Florence’s death, she is little more than a catalyst for the growth of the other characters. Because she dies so early, everything we find out about her comes posthumously, through the memories of the other characters.

One reason I loved this book was that every character had a clear arc. I feel like by the time I finished the book, I could have plotted out what happened to each character easily. There were no lampshades here. Each character had choices to make that not only affected their own lives, but their interactions with the other characters. The characters in this book were very well written, in my opinion.

Mind you, this book isn’t what you’d call light hearted, but there is a good amount of levity throughout, so it’s not as depressing as you might think, given the premise. If you like historical fiction, this book is well worth your time.

For the fantastic characters and the “couldn’t put it down” aspect of this book, Florence Adler Swims Forever earns a spot in my top 10 for 2020.