Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: Swimming Upstream by Ruth Mancini

Hi all,

I came upon Ruth Mancini's novel when it was offered free on Amazon. I am so happy I downloaded it. Ruth is a talented author with a fresh voice, and I enjoyed her debut novel thoroughly. Here is a description of Swimming Upstream and my five star review.


Swimming Upstream
Ruth Mancini

Book Description:

"I once read that the end of a relationship is like being involved in a road traffic accident. Which is quite fitting really, given what happened.”

Lizzie has begun to achieve all the things she thought she had ever wanted, but realises instead that she is far from happy. Then she steps out into the path of an oncoming car, and her life begins to unravel, setting off a life-changing chain of events.

Lizzie leaves her boyfriend and her home and moves to London to pursue her career. There, she attempts to overcome the legacy of her past and find out how to be happy alone. In doing so, she reconnects with two old friends, Zara and Catherine. Each friend, however, harbours a secret that is slowly revealed to Lizzie until Lizzie’s life takes another shocking twist and the friendship of all three women is threatened.

Swimming Upstream is a thoughtful but often humorous book about life and surviving its knocks. Set in the early 1990s in Cambridge and London, it is also a story of friendship, love and divided loyalties – and the moral choices that Lizzie ultimately faces, when the chips are down.

Buy Swimming Upstream on Amazon Kindle or in Paperback

My 5 Star Book Review:

Lizzie Taylor is at a crossroads in her life. She has been in a relationship with Larson for several years, and she finds that she wants more from the relationship while Larson believes it is fine the way it is. Lizzie is also feeling stagnant in her career, feeling her qualifications and abilities are not being utilized to their fullest. After being hit by a car, Lizzie begins to examine her life and finds it lacking. So she sets out on a new course, finds two old friends, and is soon involved in much more than she anticipated.

Swimming Upstream is a story of a woman trying to find her place in life. She examines her present and her past, trying to make sense of where she's been and where she is headed. Author Ruth Mancini does an excellent job of immersing the reader into Lizzie's life from the very beginning. Her experiences are ones that many women can relate to, dealing with relationships, career choices, and friendships. The characters are vivid and intense – you feel as if you know them personally. And even though there are a wide variety of characters in this story, they are each unique and easily identifiable.  

I enjoyed this novel very much. The writing is smooth and vividly descriptive. I would liken Ms. Mancini's writing style to that of author Elizabeth Buchan, whose writing I genuinely enjoy. I look forward to reading more by Ruth Mancini.

About the Author:

Ruth Mancini

I was born in South London and educated in Cambridge and London where I gained a bachelors degree in French and Spanish and a post-graduate diploma in Law. For several years I worked in the publishing industry before leaving my job, my relationship with my long-term partner, and my home to travel and also to write the first draft of Swimming Upstream. I then put my writing career on hold for several years while I retrained as a lawyer. I have always had an interest in civil liberties and have cared strongly about injustice as well as loving books and wanting to write.

I now live in Oxfordshire with my husband and our two children. I still practice as a lawyer and juggle that with writing and raising the children. My first child was born in 2002 with a severe learning disability, which means that he is also physically disabled (the two often go hand in hand) so it’s been tough! I’ve written about this - and about friendships, relationships and surviving life’s challenges generally - on my blog page if you’d like to know more.

I am an avid reader as well as a writer and author. My favourite books are women's fiction novels and I write in a similar style to the authors I enjoy: Elizabeth Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love"), Nick Hornby ("High Fidelity" and "How to Be Good"), Blake Morrison ("The Last Weekend") and David Nicholls ("One Day"). I also loved "I Don't know How She Does it" by Allison Pearson and "A Thousand Acres" by Jane Smiley (two very different books!). My favourite book of all time is "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

Swimming Upstream is my debut novel. It has just been released and currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars over 26 reviews on Amazon UK.

I have plans for a second novel which I hope to begin writing in the next few months. So, watch this space!

Ruth Mancini, February 2013


Connect with Ruth:




  1. Looks like a good read. I'll definitely check it out.

    1. Wonderful - I really loved this book!

  2. Thanks so much for your comments and for the feature Deanna. I have read and enjoyed "Widow, Virgin, Whore" and have "Sara's Promise" downloaded ready to read. But now I'm here on this website I have to say that "Maggie's Turn" looks just the kind of novel I enjoy! If only there was more time to read...

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ruth. Only too happy to help promote Swimming Upstream - I think everyone should read it! Thanks for your lovely comments. Can't wait to get Maggie's Turn out to the public and get their reaction. Hopefully people will enjoy it.


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