Learning to Swim

Learning to Swim

by Sara J. Henry


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307718396
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 12/20/2011
Series: Troy Chance Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 491,833
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.68(d)

About 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 Prevention, Adirondack Life, Bicycling, Triathlete, 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.

Reading Group Guide

1.       The novel opens when Troy dives into Lake Champlain to save a child she had seen only for a split second.  Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you react?
2.       Troy describes her attachment to the little boy she rescues as quick and atavistic, and wonders if this is what her sisters felt like when they had their children. Do you think a maternal bond is instinctive and instant? Do you think a similar bond could be formed by people who share a traumatic experience?

3.       Hoping to protect Paul from being put into foster care, or possibly being returned to a bad home situation, Troy keeps him at her home until she can track down his father. Why do you think she does this? Was she right to keep the police out of it?
4.       Troy thinks she will be able to tell immediately if Paul’s father had anything to do with his kidnapping. Is it possible to be so sure about a person’s motives based on a first impression or gut reaction? What did your instincts tell you about Philippe when he and Troy first met?
5.       In Lake Placid, Troy doesn’t really have to adhere to any schedules or be accountable to anyone, until Paul enters her life. Aside from her lifestyle, how else does Paul change Troy? Are these changes for the better?
6.       No one in Philippe’s household talks about Madeleine at all. What conclusions did that cause you to draw about her relationships with Paul and Philippe? Were you right?
7.       When Claude learned that a body was found that matched Madeleine’s dental records, he was devastated. Did this change how Troy saw him? Did it change how you saw him?

8.       Vince, Marguerite, and Alyssa all gain Troy’s trust quickly, while it takes her a while to warm up to Jameson. Was Troy’s trust always well-placed? Which characters did you find easier to trust than others?
9.       Claude and Madeleine grew up in foster care after tragedy struck their family. What role do you think this played in their actions as adults?
10.   There are several men in the book that seem to care for Troy deeply, especially Thomas.  Does Troy treat him well?  What do you think her feelings are toward the other male characters, and how well does she handle them?
11.   The dogs in the story are all named for fiercer animals. What significance does this have?  Could the characters be looking for protectors? What else was important about the animals?
12.   How does the title illustrate the themes in the book? Troy has to swim for her life several times, but do you see any other significance to the title? What else does she learn?
13.   At several key moments in the book, Troy reminds herself that he best thing to do is usually the hardest thing. In the end, she makes a particularly difficult decision. Was this the right choice? What about her other decisions? When she responded with ease, did she usually make the right choice, or the wrong one?
14.   What’s next for Troy Chance? What issues or characters in Learning to Swim would you like to see explored further?

Customer Reviews

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Learning to Swim 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 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.
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
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.
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
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
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
Sharon17 More than 1 year ago
Highly unrealistic, plot holes you could sail a ship through, lackluster characters, sloooowwwww and tedious, dull, dull, dull.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me turning pages. Really liked the main character Troy. Wish Sara Henry would write another book, I've read them both & anxiously await her third
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and enjoyable! I will read her next book for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brodk More than 1 year ago
Very good book. In fact, a very, very good book. So why only three stars, you ask? Well, because it is a combination romance and suspense, with the middle part of the book being almost entirely romance, and bookended by a suspenseful beginning and end. Action almost entirely stopped in the middle part, and this hurt the book's suspense. I will say that if you like a lot (LOT!) of romance then this is the book for you. But the mystery and suspense parts were very good, even though I didn't buy the idea of a person just up and leaving work for an extended period. Money concerns would have precluded that (oh, but I forget, the rich guy helped the lady so she didn't, conveniently, have to worry about funds). Still, a very good book marred by a stagnant middle portion.
lousquared More than 1 year ago
Not sure why this won all sorts of awards. It was good, but not great. I don't feel like I have to rush out and buy more of her books (if any). I think one thing that bothered me were the little off-hand details in the story, that really had nothing to do with the story. Such as describing what she was eating or what she was doing at a certain moment. It felt like "filler".
BeaBo More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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