Three different stages of life.
United by one thing: the chance to start again.
– The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club
[ About the Book ]
When Elizabeth’s husband dies, leaving her with crippling debt, the only person she can turn to is her friend, Jo. Soon Jo has called in her daughter, Lucy, to help save Elizabeth from bankruptcy. Leaving her old life behind, Lucy is determined to make the most of her fresh start.
As life slowly begins to return to normal, these three women, thrown together by circumstance, become fast friends. But then Jo’s world is turned upside down when she receives some shocking news.
In search of solace, Jo and Elizabeth find themselves enjoying midnight dips in the freezing Irish Sea. Here they can laugh, cry and wash away all their fears. As well as conjure a fundraising plan for the local hospice that will bring the whole community together…
[ My Review ]
The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan was published with Aria (Head of Zeus) May 6th and is described as ‘an emotional story about finding new friends and living life to the fullest, that will appeal to fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Heidi Swain and Liz Fenwick.’ Set in a small seaside village in the West of Ireland, The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club tells the story of three women, all looking for answers, all looking for peace in their lives.
Lucy is a doctor working in a busy Dublin hospital. Her marriage is in tatters and her relationship with her teenage son is fraught with ongoing tension. Her ex has moved to Australia and Lucy is shattered. A trip home to her mother Jo, and some much needed fresh sea air, is what Lucy needs. Conscious that Niall does not want to leave his friends and his social life in Dublin, she strikes a deal with him that this will be just a short visit. But on arrival she is surprised and shocked by what awaits her and is soon left with no alternative but to readjust her plans for both herself and Niall.
In the midst of her grief for her husband, Eric, Elizabeth starts to sort through some of his papers and makes an unexpected discovery. Eric was the local GP for a number of years, with Elizabeth and himself living in his rambling family home. Elizabeth had experienced a difficult and challenging marriage but she was very unprepared for the overwhelming discovery that Eric had left her in financial ruin. With a rambling old house, and a GP practice without a GP, Elizabeth has life-changing decisions to make as she embraces the next stage in her life.
Jo is known to all in the village as a person to be trusted, a confidante, but she is also known for her regular midnight swims, something she swears by in helping her to navigate the trials of life. Jo is delighted when she hears Lucy is coming home for a visit. She was never a fan of Lucy’s ex-husband but she always respected Lucy’s decisions and has been there for her through thick and thin. Her grandson Niall will be with Lucy and Jo is thrilled with the opportunity of spending time with him. On arrival it’s clear to Jo that Lucy is under pressure and any decision she now makes for her future must take into account Niall and her life back in Dublin. But Jo has a plan….
Jo is a warm-hearted soul and she immediately senses that she needs to help Elizabeth and Lucy in anyway she can. She has her own cross to bear but Jo was never one to back down from anything and convinces both Elizabeth and Lucy that they need to go swimming with her. A date is set and the girls bare all for a midnight swim, one where they finally come to realise the beauty of Jo’s madcap ocean swims. They give their group a name and form The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, none of them realising at the time how important these regular swims would become to all three.
A stranger arriving into town sets tongues wagging. His name is Dan. Leaving the chaos of his London life behind him, Dan is looking to escape and the west of Ireland seems like the perfect answer. Dan has worked in the TV business but now, with an unexpected and forced time-out, he decides to re-evaluate his life. Dan has always had an ambition to write a novel and now the time seems right. Dan also has other areas of his life he needs to spend time exploring so a short-term rental near a small seaside village could be just the tonic he needs.
Faith Hogan knows her characters well, bringing them very much alive to the reader as we journey through the good and the bad times with them. They become much more than individuals. They become the readers’ friends. Jo, Elizabeth and Lucy all come to realise the importance of true friendship, in particular in times of trouble. Full of warmth and plenty of emotional moments, Faith Hogan sensitively handles very relevant societal and health issues. I am sure there are many readers who will be very personally affected by some of the threads running through this novel but Faith Hogan treats the issues in question with great respect, and with a very gentle hand.
The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club is a novel of empowerment and fulfilment, about facing life’s challenges head-on and of being willing to accept that there are certain aspects of life that are totally out of our control. This is a book that encourages all to live our best life, live every moment as best we can. A very charming, touching and inspirational read, The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club is another gorgeous read from the wonderful Faith Hogan. A joyful tale filled with optimism and hope.
[ Bio ]
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of six contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Twitter ~ @GerHogan
Website ~ https://faithhogan.com/