This was such an enjoyable read that I would have been happy to turn back to the beginning and start again. The writing style just immersed me fully into both of the worlds in the story, such was its power.

The mystery of the missing mother, Ingrid, underlies the whole of the book, and the way the reasons for her disappearance unfold through the letters is totally intriguing and gut-wrenchingly plausible. The all-too familiar choices that Gil makes in their relationship manages to be turned into a somewhat romantic, poetical yet banal lifestyle. The epistolary entries that Ingrid leaves in novels reflecting their contents, have such fluency that I had such a clear picture of both her and her life, which at times was so heartbreakingly sad. I couldn't help but feel that she was short-changed by Gil; she certainly deserved far more happiness than she got.

Then we have the present-day story of Gil and his daughters Flora and Nan. Again written by Claire Fuller with a tone that blended pathos, drama, joy and tragedy. The effects that their mother's disappearance have on not only their lives but on the moulding of their personalities, is blindingly apparent. And the question of whether it is better to know the truth rather than live in hope or fear is an interesting one to ponder.

Swimming Lessons is my introduction to the books of Claire Fuller and I'm so glad it caught my eye and imagination. It's just so exquisitely written, it takes your hand and leads you through these characters' lives; the ups and downs of their experiences, and the beautiful moments of the mundane in Ingrid's world.
I loved it.