Rachel Beanland’s novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever, is set in Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house to vacationers and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Their first daughter, Fannie, pregnant again after recently miscarrying, is on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. Their second daughter, Florence, returns from college for the summer and resolves to spend her time training to swim the English Channel. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. When tragedy strikes, Esther makes the shocking decision to hide the truth‚ at least until Fannie’s baby is born‚ and pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface that reveal how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal.
Rachel Beanland is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and earned her MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. Florence Adler Swims Forever is her first novel and won the 2020 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction.