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    Learning to Swim: A Novel by Shayla Dugan

    Learning to Swim: A Novel
    Shayla Dugan
    Publisher: Egret Lake Books
    ISBN: 9781956498066
    Release Date: May 1, 2024
    Genres / Categories: Women’s Fiction

    A humorous and heartfelt book about the complicated relationship between a mother, a daughter, and a grandmother.

    Gabrielle Malone shows up on her mother’s Arizona doorstep with nothing more than a few belongings, her teenage daughter, and a car with no air conditioning (don’t ask). The rest she left behind—her house, everything she owned, and her ex-husband. Her estranged mother Ida, a former Olympic swimmer and current chain smoker, needs her help after a significant health scare. Gabrielle hopes this is their relationship’s opportunity for a fresh start, and a new beginning for her too.

    Thirteen-year-old Juniper feels stranded at an old lady’s house she barely knows. She’s frustrated that her mom uprooted their entire life for a strange place and misses her dad. Forced to attend the pointless last week of school, she embarrasses herself on the first day and is certain she’ll never make friends again. As if that weren’t bad enough, her mother’s nightly binge-eating and cry sessions are concerning to say the least.

    Ida is her own woman, resenting being tethered to the oxygen hoses winding through her house. She looks darn good in the old, framed cigarette ads on her wall, holding her gold swimming medal. Heck, she still looks good. Her neighbor Morton certainly thinks so. She had one little health scare. What’s the big deal? Heart surgery. It’s coming for her. She knows it but likes to pretend she doesn’t.

    Ida is shocked to learn her own granddaughter can’t swim. The one legacy she had hoped would carry on for generations is at stake. While her health certainly limits her activities, she knows she must teach the skill that brought her a lifetime of pride. Gabrielle may have laughed at the idea of her frail mother getting back into the pool, but that’s exactly what Ida would do. Teach her to swim.

    Learning to Swim is a coming of age novel about three women in different stages of life mending relationships. Shayla Dugan’s debut family drama book is a delightful read full of insight, wisdom, and wit.



    About the Author

    Shayla Dugan is a writer and former social worker making her fiction novel debut with Learning to Swim. With her social work career focused primarily on hospice and the areas of grief and loss, Shayla came to understand and appreciate a variety of personalities, family dynamics, the importance of storytelling, and finding humor in difficult situations. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction slice of life stories full of humor and heart. Shayla is an Arizona native who resides with her husband in their nearly empty nest. She spends her time replacing the roles of her adult children with dogs and relishing any visits with her young grandchildren whom she lovingly refers to as “the hurricane.”

    Shayla Dugan