The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle – Sophie Green

1980s Australia.

4 women.

Marie – widow. Takes to the waters of the bay pretty much every day at sunrise. Swimming is her constant, the reason she gets up every morning.

Theresa – housewife. Needs some space for herself and to be herself. No husband demanding, no children wanting. No being pulled in all directions. Theresa would like to get fit and swimming seems a good option.

Elaine – housewife. Recently moved from England leaving everything she knows behind apart from her Australian husband. She needs to clear her head from the gin bottle every day.

Leanne – nurse. The youngest of the four women. Quiet and determined. Can only rely on herself. Especially in deep water.

All brought together by swimming in Shelly Bay.

The water brings them together, the act of swimming gives them a purpose and out there on the water no one seems to be judging as they share lives and friendships begin to develop.

Friendships that can be the reason why it transcends those early morning swims and becomes something much deeper, much warmer and much more important.

This is a slow start, think of those slow first moves of breast stroke as you get going within the water. It does pick up a bit of pace as we change to freestyle and front crawl and then the story really does get going as the women all come together. You go through many differing experiences that any women might have at any age, death, divorce, illness, aging parents, new love, old love as well as laughter and tears. Sophie Green packs a lot into her stories. But there was something missing for me.

Not as strong as her first novel but I was drawn to the healing properties of swimming that the author used with these women and whilst the south coast of England does not have the same warm, clear waters of Australia, when I swim outdoors I can imagine myself somewhere else where all the problems are simply put on hold as the water soothes and solves as it does for these four women.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle is published on 13 February. 

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