** Publication Date 23 April 2019**
Katie Ellis finds herself back in her hometown of Port St Lucie, Florida, after a messy breakup with her husband. She brings along the one possession she kept in the divorce, Bark, her shelter mutt that she cannot be without. Bark and Katie both suffer from fear and anxiety, and being home with her grandmother Nan is exactly what Katie needs to begin picking up the pieces of her life.
In Port St Lucie, Katie picks up right where she left off before leaving for college years before. Hanging out with her best friend Mo, working for Isaac altering bridal gowns, and living with Nan who suddenly has gone vegan and healthy. Nan’s best friend Bitsie is Katie’s safe haven, where Katie can sew in the late Bunny’s sewing room, and hide out from those things that she’s not willing to confront. Bitsie wants to resurrect the life she and Nan had prior to marriage – they were in a seaside mermaid show. Bitsie thinks this is just the fundraiser they need for a local charity. Nan thinks this is a great project to get Katie’s mind off her woes. Katie dives in with the passion she has for costume making, and in doing so, is able to move forward.
Allie Larkin has a gift for taking real human issues and crafting a story around them. Katie’s and Bark’s anxiety issues are so intricately interwoven. As the novel unfolds, Larkin shares more and more of Katie’s past, what led to her PTSD and the fears she’s carried forward in her life. Larkin also brings in a little bit of every woman – the disciplinary one, the wild and crazy one, the brash and irritating one – into each of the characters surrounding Katie. These are the women who help Katie heal from her past.
I loved this book. Stories that bring out the best and worst in women appeal to me, and Swimming for Sunlight completely delivers on that. This is “chick lit” at its finest. Giving us a story of redemption and love, friendship, and every little bit of life that makes it worth living. Tough to put down, don’t plan on getting much sleep when you read this one before bed. But do read it. It’s a treasure.