From the Publisher
“A single woman dives headlong from a ferry into Lake Champlain to rescue a child, and then must figure out what to do with him. Compulsively readable, this is all about what we do for love.” —Boston Globe
“From the grabber beginning to the heartfelt conclusion, Sara J. Henry's Learning to Swim is an auspicious debut ... Fresh setting, well-realized characters, cleanly written, with a mysterious and suspenseful story.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid's Version
“Emotional, intense, and engrossing... The talented Sara J. Henry introduces a thoroughly modern heroine with an independent spirit and a tender heart.” —Lisa Unger, author of In the Blood
“A terrific debut. This moving and insightful psychological thriller features the inspiring Troy Chance—an everywoman hero who women will admire and men will want to meet. I can’t wait for her next adventure.”
—Michael Robotham, author of Watching You
“Readers will root for Troy Chance from the dramatic opening of Learning to Swim right through to its surprising close. Move over, Kinsey Millhone.” —Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Four Ms. Bradwells
“From its shocking opening to its stunning conclusion, Learning to Swim is a frightening ride. Sara J. Henry will quite literally take your breath away.” —J.T. Ellison, author of The Lost Key
“A thriller of the most thrilling kind—a smart and crafty story with whiffs of Rebecca that insists from the first sentence that you sit down and not stand up again until you've read the last word.”
—Quinn Cummings, author of Notes from the Underwire
“Henry proves herself to be a smooth and compelling storyteller. And her lead is highly appealing: an athletic, fiercely independent young woman who, like crime-fiction author Gillian Flynn’s feisty females, is capable of making delightfully acerbic observations.” —Booklist
“Sara J. Henry’s debut starts with a bang—or, more literally, a splash—and doesn’t let up until the final page.” —BookPage
“A compelling plot, a pervading sense of foreboding, well-constructed characters.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Take a gulp of air before diving into Vermonter Sara J. Henry’s new mystery, because you’re likely to hold your breath for the whole first chapter.” —Rutland Herald
“A stunner. This disturbing, moving, compelling book will keep readers engaged until the very last page. It is smart, intense, and full of unexpected plot twists.”—Tucson Citizen
“Part mystery thriller, part family tragedy, part tentative romance, it succeeds on all levels.”—Knoxville News Sentinel
Freelance writer Troy Chance, the protagonist of Henry's impressive first novel, impulsively, and literally, dives into trouble when she sees a youngster fall from a ferry boat on Lake Champlain. Troy manages to rescue the boy, discovers that his fall was no accident, and after brief, anonymous reports to the police, embarks on an ill-conceived attempt to become the boy's protector. Bonding with the boy, she eventually learns his name, Paul Dumond; his age, six; and that he and his mother had been kidnapped and his mother later shot and killed. Troy locates Paul's Canadian father, Philippe, and reunites father and son, but she is unwilling to end her involvement. When the police can't find the kidnappers, Troy starts to probe more deeply into the lives of Philippe, his abducted wife, and Paul's captivity. Henry adroitly handles Troy's exposure to new emotions as she re-examines her life and relationships. An inconclusive ending may signal that Chance's journey is not yet over. (Feb.)
Freelance writer Troy Chance sees a child thrown from a ferry and jumps into the water to save him. Haunted by a past experience with an abandoned child, she decides to be sure that his parents weren't responsible before she notifies the police. She travels to Canada to meet with Paul's divorced father and realizes that she has become more attached to the child than she wanted to be. Accepting an invitation to stay with the family for a few days while Paul recovers from the trauma of his kidnapping, Troy finds herself falling for his father. At the same time, she is unable to leave the investigation in the hands of the police, still fearing that one of the parents could have been involved.Verdict Fans of both mystery and romantic suspense will welcome this promising new author; the unsettled ending hints at a follow-up mystery.—Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs
In Henry's debut novel, a woman goes to great lengths to protect a boy she pulls out of a frigid lake.
Troy Chance happened to be looking at a ferry traveling across Lake Champlain in the opposite direction from hers when she sees what looks like a little boy being thrown overboard. Without thinking, she jumps in and rescues the lad, whose name turns out to be Paul. Instead of taking him to the authorities, though, she brings him home, telling herself that the police would most likely put the boy in foster care, and maybe even inadvertently return him to whoever had thrown him in in the first place. After a few days, Paul, who speaks only French, reveals that he had been kidnapped along with his mother, but that she had been killed by the kidnappers. He also says his father's name is Philippe Dumond, and after a quick Internet search, Troy has a business address in Ottawa. After meeting Philippe, she decides that he could not have been responsible for the kidnapping, no matter what the police might think, and she returns Paul to him. Sensing the bond that has formed between Paul and Troy, Philippe asks her to stay for a few weeks until the boy settles back into his life. Things go well for a while, but before long it becomes clear that Paul is still in danger, and Troy decides that he will never be safe until his kidnappers are captured. This novel has a lot going for it—a compelling plot, a pervading sense of foreboding, well-constructed characters—but the prose is too often bogged down by distractingly insignificant details. We learn how Troy would have eaten sausages and pancakes if the housekeeper wasn't there, what kind of bagel her brother likes, etc. This overabundance of extraneous details creates unnecessary drag.
Well-wrought for the most part, if occasionally a little waterlogged.