Book Review: Lifesaving For Beginners by Josie Lloyd

‘Lifesaving For Beginners’ is Josie Lloyd’s 2022 novel. It is a split-narrative, told in the first person and following the stories of several women who bond over wild swimming in the sea on the coast of Brighton.

The female characters are at different stages in their lives, reeling at the consequences the pandemic has had on their lives. From Maddy, whose husband’s family finances have taken a huge hit during lockdown, to Dominica, who lost her husband, Chris to Covid19, to Claire, a stay at home mum who is exasperated by having her family in her space constantly.

I loved this book, and I knew from the moment I realised the premise focused on women over forty being positive about getting older and the changes that go along with it. From motherhood to menopause, the paths they took and the roads less travelled by, whims and regrets and new-found aspirations and confidence, ‘Lifesaving For Beginners’ is an empowering story for women of all backgrounds, ages and sizes. It was an uplifting, emotional story that really captivated me.

Although the overarching story focused primarily on Maddy’s quest to reconnect with her estranged son, the interweaving threads of the Sea-Gals lives and the unlikely friendships they forged were equally as powerful. The novel focuses on themes of regret as well as friendship and of course empowerment. I absolutely adored it and felt like I knew these women and I was part of their gang. These compelling, raw characters were filled with flaws and insecurities that fed their arcs throughout and I couldn’t get enough of them, especially the relentless and wise Helga, a former sailor from Denmark with a keen interest in drawing and in birds!

I have already recommended this book to several people offline and cannot stress how much I loved it!

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