Learning to Swim: A Novel

Learning to Swim: A Novel

3.9 88
by Sara J. Henry

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Winner of the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award

   When she sees what looks like a child tumbling from a ferry into frigid Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. When she gets the child to shore she discovers that his name is Paul, he speaks only


Winner of the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award

   When she sees what looks like a child tumbling from a ferry into frigid Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. When she gets the child to shore she discovers that his name is Paul, he speaks only French—and no one seems to be looking for him. 
   Her determination to protect Paul pulls Troy from her quiet life in a small Adirondack town into an unfamiliar world of wealth and privilege in Canada and then in Vermont. Her attachment to him—and the danger she faces when she tries to unravel the mystery of his abandonment—force her to evaluate everything she thought true about herself. 
   Sara J. Henry's riveting, award-winning debut will keep readers engrossed right up to its shattering conclusion.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)

Product Details

Publication date:
Troy Chance Series
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Random House
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3 MB

Meet the Author

SARA J. HENRY's first novel, Learning to Swim, won the Anthony, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Awards, was a Target Emerging Author pick, and was named one of Best Books of 2011 by the Boston Globe. Her second novel, A Cold and Lonely Place, is an Anthony award nominee for Best Novel and was a Reader's Digest Select Books choice. She has written for PreventionAdirondack LifeBicyclingTriathlete, and other magazines, was an editor at Rodale Books and Women's Sports & Fitness magazine, and was a newspaper and magazine editor. A native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Sara lives in Vermont. Visit www.SaraJHenry.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Learning to Swim 3.9 out of 5 based on 6 ratings. 88 reviews.
LeftTurnLady More than 1 year ago
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.
goguins66 More than 1 year ago
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!
davidkubicek More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the story and the characters were totally interesting. This is a great book that you will not want to miss!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book. Engaging mystery & characters. I would read another book by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
MrsKelp More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very very good read
Sharon17 More than 1 year ago
Highly unrealistic, plot holes you could sail a ship through, lackluster characters, sloooowwwww and tedious, dull, dull, dull.
BeaBo 5 days ago
Anonymous 26 days ago
A magnetic story that captures your imagination. Hopefully you can read it from cover to cover, without those pesky interruptions! I am going to buy Sara J. Henry's books, because I am intrigued to discover what she is going to write next. I read a.minimum of 300 books in a year,and I write very few reviews...This book stands out from the majority.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I had great difficulty putting this book down. Sara Henry 's novel surprised me she wrote with the experience of a seasoned author. Look forward to reading more in this series.Recommend it to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story and characters. Kept me interested till the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very fast read. Unbelievable characters and far-fetched plot. Don't waste your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It had a great beginning, until she didn't take a found boy to police. She had a home full of hot guys and a brother whose a cop. The rest of the book is good but predictable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book and I would recommend reading it. I especially liked that it keeps you guessing till the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JThye More than 1 year ago
Great read, love the end except how the personal story falls flat... seems like a lot of build up with no pay off.
MarilynK More than 1 year ago
Very different than books I have read recently. The characters were well developed, and the plot line kept you guessing. Good combination of mystery and romance. This would be a great book for book club discussions. There were some borderline legal and moral issues in the story.I will look for other books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago