Three women. Three different stages of life. United by one thing: the chance to start again.
'Uplifting, emotional and brimming with warmth and humour' – Cathy Bramley
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.
The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club is such a beautiful read. You’ll have your heart broken time and again as you’re introduced to the three ladies that the story centres around.
Elizabeth, lives in the big house, her place in society secure, respected as the doctors wife - that is until her world is rocked on its axis when her husband dies and she discovers a hidden secret that is set to leave her not only widowed but destitute and homeless. She needs to lean on best friend Jo who props her up and is the unbiased sounding board she needs. The friend, we’ve all got one, who pushes her outside of her comfort zone - Jo encourages Elizabeth to join her in her passion for swimming in the Irish Sea late at night. The quiet and the darkness, a safe place to talk openly and share their secrets.
Jo’s daughter Lucy arrives from Dublin with her son Niall to visit her mother for some time out and a break from her life as a busy doctor in an A & E department whilst ex husband lives the high life with his new partner in Australia.
Then there’s Dan a writer who rents a cottage to write his next novel, but the location of the cottage has been chosen for a reason - he gets more than he bargains for when he discovers the cottage is already occupied.
The story ebbs and flows as the author peels back the layers of each of the characters laying bare their problems and secrets - my heart wept and tears rolled down my face as Jo and Dan’s stories in particular were told. Lucy steps in to help Elizabeth, providing a sticking plaster on her problems, giving her the space to make her own decisions, to pave a path of her choosing.
The emotional connections, the strong bond of friendship, both long standing and short was beautiful to read as their lives entwined and they supported each other through a difficult time in each of their lives. Lucy uncovers a secret about her mother that sees her life free falling before she’s encouraged to join her mum Jo and Elizabeth swimming under the cover of darkness in the sea at Midnight - virtual hands are held, the sea washing away the tears as plans are made as members of the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club.
I highly recommend this book, it’s so difficult to put into words how uplifting and empowering reading this book was. The characters and scenarios were real, the emotions raw and the words floated around me long after I finished reading. No matter what’s going on in your life when you allow friends in, openly share your worries and fears and happiness too there’s always a solution to be found - not always a happy ending and I’m not sure I’m quite ready for swimming in the cold Irish Sea but Faith Hogan highlighted that openness, acceptance, trust and letting friendship in can be a better medicine than any prescribed drug!