The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic

 29dc66bf000f605a535ff25ccea56f63THE FIRST RULE OF SWIMMING by Courtney Angela Brkic

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company

I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published tomorrow, 28 May 2013. The first thing that caught my attention to this book was the cover, it is absolutely beautiful.

The story is about two sisters, Magdalena and Jadranka, who lives on a small Croatian island called Rosmarina.  From when they were young, they regularly corresponded with their cousin Katarina, who now lives in New York.  Jadranka decided one day to leave for New York, upon Katarina’s visit request, however she later decides to stay.  Magdalena, although sad made peace with this, until she receives news from Katarina that Jadranka had disappeared. Magdalena sets off to New York to find her sister.

The sisters’ past plays off on the island, Rosmarina, which by the descriptions sounds idyllic. I love how the author described it. The characters, I found to be very likeable as well. The story revolves around familiy secrets, which Magdalena discovers during her search for Jadranka and also which Jadranka discovers during her search for her real father. Family secrets is not all, there are betrayal, loss and pain.  The sisters has a strained relationship with their mother, suffered abuse by the hands of their stepfather, but their mother herself also suffered abuse… a secret she kept from everyone in her family.

I loved reading this novel, it’s atmospheric and an easy read. I found some questions unanswered, and some puzzles I would have loved to see resolved, but nonetheless I gave it a 4 star, because it was an enjoyable read.

If you like novels such as The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, you might just like this.

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  • Ohh family secrets and intrigue! I think the cover of this book is so beautiful. I also think that the setting is interesting. I haven’t read any books that take place in Eastern Europe, so just reading about the location and culture would appeal to me. Great review Melinda 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes I also love books about family secrets, hence I enjoy Kate Morton so much. The cover is so beautiful and the setting sounds so idyllic too. I feel like I can go sit on that island for hours and just read, with my feet in the water 🙂

  • The cover is indeed stunning, but I think the rest of the books sounds great as well. I am glad you liked it.

    Kind regards,

    • Thanks Bettina. I think it makes for a nice summer read.

  • therelentlessreader

    I’m going to be reading this one soonish and I can’t wait 🙂 The cover is absolutely stunning!

    • I love the cover!! I wish I had this one in paperback, it would have added a lot more enjoyment to my reading experience 🙂

  • Now that you mention it, it did remind me of The Forgotten Garden. Great book. Excellent review as always:)

    • Thanks Ionia! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Did you write a review? Let me go check…

  • Great review! I had the same troubles with the unanswered questions but the great atmosphere.

    • Thanks Ciska! I was willing to look past that, I enjoyed the read so much.

  • Yes, that cover is… wonderful. I passed on this book as I wasn’t sure. I don’t regret it (as I have enough to read) but I think it’s worth a read sometime. Thanks for the review.

    • That’s the problem we all have – too many books 🙂

  • I love the cover for this one, not 1/2 as dark as the synopsis sounds! I might give it a shot though because I love books that examine memory and flash forwards and backwards between scenes.

    • I think the cover particularly appeals to us ladies! 🙂 Let me know how you find it, if you do get to read it. It’s a pity that it’s now archived on Netgalley, otherwise you could have requested it. I hope to buy this one – for the cover alone!

  • Dee

    I love this cover – i’ve been eyeing the book on Goodreads for a few days now – I might have to add it to the list

    • Love the cover, yes. I hope you will like the book!

  • shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

    It is a pretty cover, I’m glad you enjoyed the contents!

    Have a great reading week,
    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

  • Oh, this books sounds great! My dad is from Croatia and I always find it neat to discover (and read) a book that talks about this country 🙂 Also, I agree, the cover is gorgeous!

    • I think I’m really going to see if I can find this book in store, I think the cover alone would have made my reading experience a lot more enjoyable! (I had an e-book copy)

      Croatia sounds idyllic, really. I hope you visit there? In which case, I am jealous 🙂

  • Not sure this book sounds my kind of thing, but I must say I love the cover!

    • The cover is very pretty yes 😉

  • Not even kidding, I am going to be reading Kate Morton after I finish A Train in Winter, which I’ll probably finish tonight! THEN maybe I’ll pick this one up. That cover really is gorgeous!

    • I’m so glad you FINALLY decided to read some Kate Morton! Did you pick this one up from Netgalley?

  • I have heard so many good things about this book, now i really need to read it! I loved The forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton as well, so it sounds like it was pretty wonderful.
    Great review!!

    • Thank you. Those two are my favourite Morton’s as well!

  • Great review! I also enjoyed reading the novel, it really felt like a puzzle trying to figure out exactly what happened that caused a rift in the family. And same here, the cover first caught my full attention to the novel and its premise 🙂

    • Melinda

      Hi Lianne. I’m glad it picked it up! I love mystery (if its done well). This one might be a 3.5 out of 5

  • I LOVE Kate Morton, so that is a comparison that definitely caught my attention! The cover is beautiful on this one, but I’m now even more intrigued by the actual story.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier — I know you’ve dropped by & commented before and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to return the favor until now. Your blog is so pretty and the kinds of books you review are right up my alley! Looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

    • Thanks Christine. I loved the cover, and the story was enjoyable. I do like Kate Morton, however I’ve only read 3 of her books (and I liked two of them).

      You’re welcome, I like checking out new blogs. Sometimes I take some time out to do blog duty (reading and commenting on the blogs I follow) but sometimes I do stumble upon nice blogs like yours too!