SWIMMING HOME

Mary-Rose MacColl

From the author of the international bestseller In Falling Snow, a beautifully written, heartwarming novel of a young woman swimmer in 1925

London, 1925: Fifteen-year-old Catherine Quick longs to feel once more the warm waters of her home, to strike out into the ocean off the Torres Strait Islands in Australia and swim, as she’s done since she was a child. But now, orphaned and living with her aunt Louisa in London, Catherine feels that everything she values has been stripped away from her.

Louisa, a London surgeon who fought boldly for equality for women,

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From the author of the international bestseller In Falling Snow, a beautifully written, heartwarming novel of a young woman swimmer in 1925

London, 1925: Fifteen-year-old Catherine Quick longs to feel once more the warm waters of her home, to strike out into the ocean off the Torres Strait Islands in Australia and swim, as she’s done since she was a child. But now, orphaned and living with her aunt Louisa in London, Catherine feels that everything she values has been stripped away from her.

Louisa, a London surgeon who fought boldly for equality for women, holds strict views on the behavior of her young niece. She wants Catherine to pursue an education, just as she herself did.  Catherine is rebellious, and Louisa finds it difficult to block painful memories from her past. It takes the enigmatic American banker Manfred Lear Black to convince Louisa to bring Catherine to New York where Catherine can train to become the first woman to swim the English Channel. And finally, Louisa begins to listen to what her own heart tells her.

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  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • June 2017
  • 432 Pages
  • 9780143129967

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$16.00

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About Mary-Rose MacColl

Mary-Rose MacColl’s first novel, No Safe Place, was runner-up in the Australian Vogel Literary Award. Her first nonfiction book, The Birth Wars, was a Finalist in the Walkley Awards for Journalism and in the Queensland Premier’s Awards for NonFiction and for Science Writing. In Falling Snow is her fourth novel and her American debut. She divides her time between Brisbane, Australia, and Banff, Canada, with her husband and son.

Author Website

Essay

Swimming Home – The Inspiration

by Mary-Rose MacColl

I’m interested in the way unexpected moments can turn us around and take us in a new direction, and it was this idea that took hold and became Swimming Home. I’m a swimmer and the courage and fortitude of the young women who first swum the English Channel impressed me.

My great uncle René MacColl  made his name as a journalist and foreign correspondent during the 1930s. A decade ago, I happened upon a copy of his first book, A Flying Start, which details his chance meeting with Van Lear Black, a wealthy Baltimore banker and newspaper publisher in London in 1925. In wry humour and crisp prose, my grandfather’s younger brother  recounts a year living the high life travelling through Europe, Africa and Asia with Black on what were the first commercial flights.

René followed Black back to America and into a career starting on Black’s newspaper the Baltimore Sun. After he returned to England he worked for the Daily Mail, favoured by Lord Beaverbrook. He covered the death of King George V and the Coronations and Abdication that followed. He lunched with Marilyn Monroe, spent time behind the Iron Curtain as a correspondent. He was everywhere, knew everyone.

He covered the death of King George V and the Coronations and Abdication that followed. He lunched with Marilyn Monroe, spent time behind the Iron Curtain as a correspondent. He was everywhere, knew everyone.

I ended up with a story I love about an Australian girl far from home who wants to swim and her older aunt who seems to be trying to stop her. The aunt, for her part, was thrown one of those curveballs that get thrown at women when she was too young to cope and now can’t find a way back to herself. They are both of them trying to find a way back home.

And of course, there’s a wealthy American and a wide-eyed young journalist named Andrew, just to have some fun. More on the writing process and on the swimmers of Swimming Home can be found below.