Friday, September 6, 2013

The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic

Release Date:  May 28, 2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company

Rating: 3 out 5 stars.

For some, the island of Rosmarina is a heaven and forever calling to their spirits. For others, the island is a prison, unable or unwilling to change or adapt. Two sisters were born on the island and called it home for many years through political upheaval, wars and a dangerous time to believe anything other than what was feed to them.

Stories about a traumatic event in their family history propel the younger of the sisters to leave Rosmarina for the United States. The closeness of the sisters' bond is tested when the younger sister goes missing. Hellbent on finding her, the oldest follows the path to the United States where dark truths are unearthed and mysteries unraveled. Will either of them survive the unmasking? Or are they lost to the island forever?

This book was another that I was fortunate to win from a free giveaway at The blurb on the book's page intrigued me and I couldn't wait to dive into the world of Rosmarina. The cover is brilliantly beautiful. As I delved deeper into the book, I understood why the author chose the title.

It is a multi-generational story that takes the reader back and forth in time as the story progress. We're made privy to the war that destroyed so many Croatian family as well as the aftermath of being labeled an informer. The first part of the book was a little difficult for me to follow bits of the timeline. At times little warning was given before leaving a present day scene and entering something from the past. It was easy for me to become a little lost, go back and read the previous paragraphs to regain my footing.

Further parts of the story were arranged differently and flowed really well. I didn't have any trouble with these sections of the book. In fact, I thought these were the most intriguing parts of the book. Of course, they laid bare all of the secrets and what-ifs that had been following both of the sisters for the entire lives. I truly didn't expect some of the twists that the author threw into the story.

All in all, the story of the two Croatian sisters was captivating. I really felt for them as the world they knew tilted and they had to find themselves once again. This is a book that you will have to pay attention to what you read. Otherwise, you will get lost and have to backtrack. Maybe that's another moral taught by the book.

The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic is now available in hardback or Kindle versions at and other retailers. It can be purchased by clicking the link below.
The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic

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