Customer Reviews for

Learning to Swim

Average Rating 4
( 70 )
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(29)

4 Star

(23)

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(7)

2 Star

(6)

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(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

An AWESOME read!

I don't know about you, but when I read a book I want to be captivated by the unfolding story, transported to another time/place and so enamored by the characters that closing the book after I read the final word on the final page is a sad moment. Did "Learning To Swim"...
I don't know about you, but when I read a book I want to be captivated by the unfolding story, transported to another time/place and so enamored by the characters that closing the book after I read the final word on the final page is a sad moment. Did "Learning To Swim" deliver? For this reader, the answer is a resounding YES! "If I'd blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn't, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water." Who could not be drawn into a story that starts so quickly? And who could not picture themselves in that moment, wondering what decision they would make in that split second - jump in, call for help or forget what was seen? The minute Troy jumps in and swims across cold Lake Champlain, dives deep to retrieve the boy and gets both of them safely to shore, she becomes my hero. When I learn that no one, absolutely no one, is looking for French-speaking Paul, my maternal instincts kick in, and like Troy, I just want to keep him safe. After these first few pages I am so involved in a craftily woven story of kidnapping, murder, wealth, privilege, deception, trust and yes, a touch of romance, that I follow along, rarely questioning how or why anything is happening. That's what made this book such a fun read, because the author, Sara J. Henry, DID question everything, and dropped the questions into the story like bombs, completely catching me off-guard and taking me on a roller-coaster ride that kept my attention. Every time I thought I knew what would happen next, the story took another detour, and when I finally got to those last pages, I was once again surprised. There is quite a cast of characters, but each one is relevant to the story and introduced so naturally that at times, their importance isn't realized until the end. While Sara rounds out the story very with peripheral details and descriptions, they are not so overwhelming that the story is bogged down with information that doesn't matter. Every person, detail and description has a purpose, and it was only when I got to the end that I discovered how the seemingly unimportant were actually very important, and I appreciated the care with which Sara crafted the story. For me, this book was a great read that had me from the first sentence on the first page. I highly recommend it, and if you enjoy it as much as I did, there's great news! A sequel!!! There's also bad news.we have to wait until February 2012 to continue our journey with Troy and Paul.

posted by LeftTurnLady on March 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for firs

LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for first novel, and I can certainly see why after finishing the book myself. It’s a well-written novel, executed flawlessly, and the writing sings louder than Nickelback in the middle of Central Park. But could I ...
LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for first novel, and I can certainly see why after finishing the book myself. It’s a well-written novel, executed flawlessly, and the writing sings louder than Nickelback in the middle of Central Park. But could I say I really liked it? If I’m to be perfectly honest with myself, I’d say no. I liked it, sure enough, and I could check that box just as easily as I could fill in Cs all the way down the columns of a multiple choice math test.

I liked the characters, and the characters were filled with flaws and quirks and oddities befitting any well-done novel, but I didn’t love the characters. For me, much of my love of novels comes from voice, unless I’m reading a page-turner from the likes of James Patterson or the late Robert Ludlum, and this novel didn’t have a voice that popped off the page for me. I didn’t have that moment where I wanted to read late into the night, turning the pages until my left hand cramped up, and my vision had blurred because I stayed up much longer than I should have.

So what happened? This book just didn’t connect with me the way I would have liked it to. Not the author’s fault, but it is what is. I’m not a big fan of criminals spouting off near the end of mysteries, telling the hero why a certain crime was committed, even if the criminal is a psychopath. When it comes to criminals and endings, I prefer Goldfinger’s approach.
James Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Auric Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond…I expect you to die.”

In the end, though, LEARNING TO SWIM concluded the way it should, with a slight opening that will present more stories to tell for its main character Troy Chance. But I don’t know that I’ll go out of my way to pick up the next book in the series.

Robert Downs
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

posted by RobertDowns on November 7, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted March 6, 2011

    An AWESOME read!

    I don't know about you, but when I read a book I want to be captivated by the unfolding story, transported to another time/place and so enamored by the characters that closing the book after I read the final word on the final page is a sad moment. Did "Learning To Swim" deliver? For this reader, the answer is a resounding YES! "If I'd blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn't, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water." Who could not be drawn into a story that starts so quickly? And who could not picture themselves in that moment, wondering what decision they would make in that split second - jump in, call for help or forget what was seen? The minute Troy jumps in and swims across cold Lake Champlain, dives deep to retrieve the boy and gets both of them safely to shore, she becomes my hero. When I learn that no one, absolutely no one, is looking for French-speaking Paul, my maternal instincts kick in, and like Troy, I just want to keep him safe. After these first few pages I am so involved in a craftily woven story of kidnapping, murder, wealth, privilege, deception, trust and yes, a touch of romance, that I follow along, rarely questioning how or why anything is happening. That's what made this book such a fun read, because the author, Sara J. Henry, DID question everything, and dropped the questions into the story like bombs, completely catching me off-guard and taking me on a roller-coaster ride that kept my attention. Every time I thought I knew what would happen next, the story took another detour, and when I finally got to those last pages, I was once again surprised. There is quite a cast of characters, but each one is relevant to the story and introduced so naturally that at times, their importance isn't realized until the end. While Sara rounds out the story very with peripheral details and descriptions, they are not so overwhelming that the story is bogged down with information that doesn't matter. Every person, detail and description has a purpose, and it was only when I got to the end that I discovered how the seemingly unimportant were actually very important, and I appreciated the care with which Sara crafted the story. For me, this book was a great read that had me from the first sentence on the first page. I highly recommend it, and if you enjoy it as much as I did, there's great news! A sequel!!! There's also bad news.we have to wait until February 2012 to continue our journey with Troy and Paul.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2011

    An absolute great read

    I saw this in the "new authors" section at B&N and downloaded it immediately. By the third page I knew I was reading something special. Ms. Henry weaves a suspenseful, adventurous and slightly romantic tale that leaves you eager to find out what happens next. Though I had figured out the ending prematurely, I was not disappointed by the heroine's path to the same conclusion. I eagerly await Ms. Henry's next novel, and am thankful B&N drove me to this one!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2011

    Couldn't put it down

    Great weekend read. It was perfect for a rainy weekend. I was immediately drawn in from page1and couldn't put it down. The characters were interesting and relatable and the plot twists came out of nowhere. I can't wait for Sara henry's next book!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 26, 2011

    An Excellent Debut Novel

    Learning to Swim begins when freelance writer Troy Chance sees a child plummet from the deck of a passing ferry into Lake Champlain. Instinctively, she dives in and saves him, then begins the long swim back to shore. The child, who speaks only French, tells Troy his name is Paul. Other than that she manages only to get sketchy information from him. He tells her he was kidnapped and held in a room somewhere, and that the kidnappers shot his mother. Troy becomes attached to Paul and, instead of going to the police right away, uses her internet researching skills to do some preliminary investigating of her own. She wants to find out to her satisfaction that the boy will be safe if she turns him over to the authorities and he's returned home. She wants to make sure the father wasn't involved in his abduction. Her investigation leads her into deeper involvement with Paul and his father and puts her under suspicion of a local detective who thinks she had something to do with Paul's initial disappearance. After an attempt on Troy's life, she really hits the investigation trail, determined to find the two men who kidnapped Paul. But what she stumbles into is a twist that I never saw coming. Learning to Swim is Sara J. Henry's debut novel. It is a relationship story as well as a mystery, and on both levels it succeeds very well. I highly recommend it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

    Great book

    I loved the story and the characters were totally interesting. This is a great book that you will not want to miss!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Good read

    Enjoyed the book. Engaging mystery & characters. I would read another book by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Troy sees a bundle thrown from a passing ferry and in that split second she realizes it is a child. Without thinking she dives into the water to rescue him. What follows is a great read that will keep you guessing until the end. Fantastic plot twists and the writing keeps you rivited. A great book with well fleshed out characters filled with real emotion. Learning to Swim by Sara Henry is a must read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    Because I'm the author ...

    ... I can't actually write a review, but I can quote from a few others (and can say I hope you enjoy the book): "From the grabber beginning to the heartfelt conclusion, LEARNING TO SWIM is an auspicious debut. Fresh setting, well-realized characters, cleanly written, with a mysterious and suspenseful story. - Daniel Woodrell, award-winning author of WINTER'S BONE "A mesmerizing confluence of mystery, intrigue, and suspense, with undercurrents of deep personal drama, Sara J. Henry's LEARNING TO SWIM will hook you from the first page." - Jamie Ford, author of the bestselling HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET "Author Sara J. Henry has adeptly interwoven a highly gripping kidnapping mystery with the fascinating character study of a woman forced by extreme circumstances to reevaluate everything she thought she knew to be true about herself." - Elizabeth A. White "It's an increasingly rare experience not to see every turn of plot and logic coming around the page, and the ability to sell the reader on the character's logic without shortchanging them on surprise is no small feat. Sara J. Henry pulled it off." -Jedidiah Ayres

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 6, 2013

    What would you do if you saw someone dropping a child off of a p

    What would you do if you saw someone dropping a child off of a passing ferry boat?  Jump off into the freezing waters of Lake Champlain from your passing ferry boat, of course!  This is exactly what our heroine, Troy Chance did in this first mystery by Sara Henry.  Then what would you do if no one reported the child missing?  Take him home because you just know his safety is in your hands---maybe not---but Troy did because of a "feeling". 




    The theme of this story was very different from what one would expect, but Sara Henry actually made it seem realistic.  This small, French speaking boy, Paul, clung to Troy but wouldn't or couldn't tell Troy exactly what happened to him.  But he did know that he saw someone shot his mom, and those same people kept him in a room by himself for a number of months.  As Troy searches internet pages and newspapers, she figures that Paul must be a kidnapped boy from Montreal.  Her adventures in finding security for Paul within his own home is an emotional mystery in itself.  But the thrills and life threatening situations she goes through to find his captures truly drives this story. 




    Troy knows her technology, expertly. Her freelance writing career gives her freedom to search her way.  She's fiercely independent, very athletic, and determined to do what she sees as the right things for this little boy who has won her heart.  I found this mystery different from your average story, but it was eerily realistic.  Looking forward to future adventures with Troy! 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 7, 2012

    LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for firs

    LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for first novel, and I can certainly see why after finishing the book myself. It’s a well-written novel, executed flawlessly, and the writing sings louder than Nickelback in the middle of Central Park. But could I say I really liked it? If I’m to be perfectly honest with myself, I’d say no. I liked it, sure enough, and I could check that box just as easily as I could fill in Cs all the way down the columns of a multiple choice math test.

    I liked the characters, and the characters were filled with flaws and quirks and oddities befitting any well-done novel, but I didn’t love the characters. For me, much of my love of novels comes from voice, unless I’m reading a page-turner from the likes of James Patterson or the late Robert Ludlum, and this novel didn’t have a voice that popped off the page for me. I didn’t have that moment where I wanted to read late into the night, turning the pages until my left hand cramped up, and my vision had blurred because I stayed up much longer than I should have.

    So what happened? This book just didn’t connect with me the way I would have liked it to. Not the author’s fault, but it is what is. I’m not a big fan of criminals spouting off near the end of mysteries, telling the hero why a certain crime was committed, even if the criminal is a psychopath. When it comes to criminals and endings, I prefer Goldfinger’s approach.
    James Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
    Auric Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond…I expect you to die.”

    In the end, though, LEARNING TO SWIM concluded the way it should, with a slight opening that will present more stories to tell for its main character Troy Chance. But I don’t know that I’ll go out of my way to pick up the next book in the series.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Plodding & Unbelievable

    Highly unrealistic, plot holes you could sail a ship through, lackluster characters, sloooowwwww and tedious, dull, dull, dull.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2014

    What ive learned

    Ive learned to choose my friends wisely, becuz i become what they are.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    This novel had me from the very opening. The acton continues to the end with some twists along the way. At one point it seemed a little to wordy, but picked up and moved on finally. I can't wait to read the next Troy Chance book in the series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Fantastic Page turner

    I read a LOT of mysteries, and this held my interest throughout. Even as I went to work, I kept thinking of the story and couldn't wait to get home to read some more. A woman makes a few unwise decisions about a young boy, but tries to save him from unknown dangers, from family? from murderers?. Another author called this novel mesmerizing. I concur. Even though it's a first novel, it' makes me hope Sara Henry is only beginning to treat us with her stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Learning to Swim

    Great read. Hard to put down. Surprising twisrs in plot. Characters were excellent. The ending was not at all what I expected and it has kept me up! I can't wait to read another book by this new author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Great Book!!!!

    Very very good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    CLASSROOMS ARE...

    Next res and forward. Have ine for p.e. d art and other electives.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Hooked me in

    I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't so sure I would like this book but after a few pages I couldn't put it down. I just wish the ending might have gone on a couple more chapters and given finality to the relationship that did or didn't happen.

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    A good suspenseful read! Kept you guessing the whole time!

    A good suspenseful read! Kept you guessing the whole time!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    Gave up

    This story just wasnt realistic enough to the point of oh, cmon.
    It was a library rental so im glad it was free.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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