Posted 20 hours ago

Learning To Swim

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As she becomes more deeply enmeshed within the Radley family, things take an unfortunate turn coinciding with a shocking discovery about her own family. In dramatic contrast to her own conventional family, the Radley's were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to outer suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle: the eccentric Frances, her new best friend; Frances' mother, the liberated, headstrong Lexi; and of course the brilliant, beautiful Rad.

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Perfect holiday reading, but I don't mean by that to disparage the writing or brand it as merely lightweight. Although set in the 70s and 80s, it doesn't hark back to the cultures of the time but you get a feel for simpler times and the joy of an innocent childhood.

I read Small Pleasures by the same author earlier this year and absolutely loved it so it was an easy decision to give this book a go.While we get to glimpse this family from the outside, we also see into the life of Abigail and her family. I wish the author had spent more time developing the part of the story connected with Abigail's discovery of a previously unknown family member - but I cannot explain further for fear of spoiling the novel for those who have yet to read it. A pointless tragedy and exile to Australia dealt with two of them, while the others managed happy endings. Praise for Clare Chambers-'Modern, intelligently observed and highly original' Daily Mail'This delicious novel is a joy from beginning to end - a perfect novel' Lisa Jewell'Charming - A funny and moving story with a great deal of style' Sunday Telegraph'A spirited account of growing up and falling in love' Good Housekeeping'An intelligent and escapist read - well written, and very funny' Daily Express Abigail Jex never expected to see any of the Radley household again.

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