Praise

“Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She’ll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story.”

—Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer finalist for The Great Believers

“Rachel Beanland has written a wonderfully assured and completely engrossing first novel. From the very first page, I was completely invested in the lives of Florence, Gussie, Anna and the rest. Florence Adler Swims Forever has much to say about family, loss and all the ways we have to wonder what might have been, and it does so with great skill and a deeply humane vision. I could not recommend it more highly.”

—Kevin Powers, author of National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds

“I started reading Florence Adler Swims Forever and did not stop until its final words. Rachel Beanland so completely transports readers to the summer of 1934 in Atlantic City and a tragedy that changes the lives of one family there that I expected to smell salt air and see ocean waves crashing when I looked up again. What a big hearted novel this is. What a glorious debut.”

—Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most

Florence Adler Swims Forever is a riveting page-turner about characters who know how to keep a fierce secret, even when it is nearly impossible to do so.”

–De’Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills

Florence Adler Swims Forever is a story bursting with heart. This hilarious, heartbreaking novel captures the joys and troubles of a 1930s-era Jewish family in Atlantic City with the page-turning addictiveness of a literary thriller, but it’s also a tender, funny, frank look at how family and faith can frustrate us, sustain us, and keep us human. As Beanland navigates the choppy waters of interfaith relationships, family secrets from the old country, the looming specter of Naziism’s rise, and the growing need for women’s independence, we’re taken on a journey that is at turns funny, poignant, and deeply inspiring in its portrayal of what we do to keep our families together. Florence Adler Swims Forever is a must read for anyone who’s ever wondered at the sacrifices, triumphs, and love stories hidden in their own family’s history.”

—Blair Hurley, author of The Devoted

“The best fiction elucidates a time, place, and people. This is it. Right here. With precise, beautiful prose and spot-on dialogue, Rachel Beanland’s debut novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever, is a flawless work of fiction that captures a flawed but big-hearted Jewish family navigating Atlantic City during the Great Depression. With the boardwalk, carnival rides, incubator exhibits, low-slung chairs, ritzy ballrooms, and bathing costumes, the beachside New Jersey town is as vivid a character as the family inhabiting it. The book is brilliantly crafted. Even the most damaged characters contain glimmers of hope. The story and characters remained with me long after I turned the final page. Beanland’s star shines bright.”

—Michele Young-Stone, author of Lost in the Beehive

“Grief may propel this story, but the overall effect is one of joy—especially at watching such an assured and dazzling debut writer at work. The Adlers are as real as your closest friends, and their tale of perseverance couldn’t be more timely. From its unforgettable opening and through the rippling current of her characters’ lives, Beanland shows a warmth and humanity that will bring readers back again and again.” 

—Brian Castleberry, author of Nine Shiny Objects