Friday, March 8, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke

Today I’m really pleased to be part of the Simon & Schuster blog tour for Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke. I have a review of this incredible book, as well as an interview with Lucy. Trust me, guys, this is a book you’re definitely going to want to add to your TBR pile!

Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke
Series: Stand-alone
Published: March 12th, 2013
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
384 pages (paperback ARC)
Genre: Contemporary adult fiction
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Book Depository || Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

People go traveling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something. Katie’s world is shattered by the news that her headstrong and bohemian younger sister, Mia, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. The authorities say that Mia jumped—that her death was a suicide.

Although they’d hardly spoken to each other since Mia suddenly left on an around-the-world trip six months earlier, Katie refuses to accept that her sister would have taken her own life. Distraught that they never made peace, Katie leaves her orderly, sheltered life in London behind and embarks on a journey to find out the truth. With only the entries in Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life and—page by page, country by country—begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. . . .

Weaving together the exotic settings and suspenseful twists of Alex Garland’s The Beach with a powerful tale of familial love in the spirit of Rosamund Lupton’s Sister, Swimming at Night is a fast-paced, accomplished, and gripping debut novel of secrets, loss, and forgiveness.
Swimming at Night is a story about love, hate, jealousy, fear, independence, friendship, family, bonds, regrets, guilt, change, loss, and so much more. It’s heartbreaking and bittersweet, but also captivating and enthralling. It’s one of those novels that’s hard to describe and hard to pin down, but that leaves a lasting impression. Even several weeks after reading Swimming at Night, the story and the characters remain with me.

Katie reminded me of myself in a lot of ways. She lived such a sheltered, ordered life, and was afraid of so many things. Reading this book was timely for me because I decided 2013 would be the year I broke out of my self-imposed bonds and jumped out of my comfort zone, which is exactly what Katie did. She was brave, she was impetuous, she took chances, and it really spoke to me. Watching her learn and grow, while at times heartbreaking, was also inspiring.

I loved how Katie’s and Mia’s stories were woven together. The reader gets to see things from both sisters’ perspectives along the way, and it gives great insight into their characters, while allowing us to see how each new revelation impacted their lives in huge ways. It really makes you think how everything you say and do can affect someone, the decisions they make, and the actions they take.

Mia felt she was a screw-up who let everyone down, and everything was so hard next to Katie, who Mia perceived as perfect. They both had these images of each other that were accurate but inaccurate at the same time. They didn’t realize how similar they were. They were both searching - for answers, for self, for insight into life. This story was about their individual journeys, but it was more than that - every character in the book was on a journey of one form or other, and each new person had a part in the sisters’ journeys.
Ms Clarke did a fantastic job of creating a tense, suspenseful plot. Whenever I set the book down I found myself thinking about the characters, trying to figure out the mystery, and wondering what would happen next. Each new revelation was stunning and added new layers to the mystery.

Beautiful, haunting, and intensely emotional, Swimming at Night is a story that will stay with you for a long time.

Thanks so much for visiting Ramblings of a Daydreamer today, Lucy! Why don’t we start out by you telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m 31-years-old and live in Bournemouth in the UK, which is a couple of hours from London. Before I became a novelist, I used to be a presenter of business and enterprise events for students. When I finally got a book deal – after six years of trying! – I sold my business and am now enjoying being a full-time writer.
I love travelling and the first big trip I ever did was with my boyfriend (now husband) and we picked up a van in LA, drove up the west coast of America and into Vancouver, then drove, camped and hiked our way across Canada, before driving down the east coast of the US and flying home from NYC. Canada will always hold a little piece of my heart.

What kind of research did you do in preparation for writing Swimming at Night? Did you travel to all the places you wrote about?

All the settings within the novel are places I’ve visited. My husband and I spend as much of each winter as we can abroad. He is a professional windsurfer, so we are both lucky enough to be able to take our ‘offices’ with us. Over the past few years, our travels have taken us to Chile, Hawaii, Western Australia, Tasmania, Fiji, New Zealand, Bali, Canada, the US and Europe.

I keep a travel journal whenever I’m away. There’s something delicious about arriving in a country, parking myself on a beach, in a cafĂ©, or at a hostel, and turning to the first page of a fresh journal. I love to record thoughts and memories of interesting experiences and my travel journals are also a useful research tool when I’m back in the UK and writing about far-flung places. In fact, the idea that sparked Swimming At Night – and the novel I’m currently working on – came from notes in my own travel journals.

Swimming at Night explores many relationships, but most importantly the intense, often love/hate relationship between sisters. What made you want to write about that particular bond?

I’ve always found the bond between sisters so fascinating. When researching and writing the book, I spoke to lots of women about their relationships with their sisters and what struck me was the complexity of their feelings towards one another. There seemed to be degrees of competitiveness, admiration, jealousy, and protectiveness – but what always stood out was the love between sisters. This became my driving force in drawing Mia and Katie’s relationship. Over the course of the novel I hoped to show that, despite the pain Mia and Katie cause each other, ultimately their love and bond as sisters is what prevails.

What types of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite books or authors you’d like to share with us?

For the past few years I’ve been keeping a list of all the books I read, including a note of what I thought about each. Glancing back at this, my favourite reads in recent years include Breath by Tim Winton, When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman, Rough Music by Patrick Gale, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway and everything ever written by Anita Shreve, Maggie O’Farrell and Sadie Jones. 

Are you working on anything right now? Can you share any little tidbits with us?

Yes, I’m just finishing my second book, which is set on a beautiful, rugged island off the coast of Tasmania. The story is based around a young woman who has been recently widowed. She travels to meet her late-husband’s family, but begins to discover that the man she married wasn’t who she thought he was. I can’t say too much more just yet, other than expect plenty of twists and turns! 

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with me, Lucy! Your travels sound absolutely fascinating, and I’ll admit I grinned like an idiot when you said Canada will always hold a little piece of your heart.

Find Lucy Online

Lucy will also be taking part in an online book club Twitter chat about Swimming at Night on April 10th at 6:30pm. You can find out all the details of the chat by following @BookaliciousCA or on Wanda’s blog. This is a great opportunity to discuss the book with the author!

*A big thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of Swimming at Night in exchange for an honest review, and for allowing me to be part of the tour. Thank you also to Lucy Clarke for taking the time to be here today.*

Have you read Swimming at Night? Do you plan to? How do you feel about books that delve into sibling relationships?


  1. You've got me intrigued. I think I noticed this one on your page but didn't think much of it. Now that I've read the synopsis, and your thoughts, I want to check this one out sometime. :)

  2. I've never heard of this one before, but you've definitely got me interested. I'm glad to see you liked it so much! I will definitely be checking this one out. :) Thanks for the review!


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