Night Swimmers by Roisin Maguire

Grace lives alone in Ballybrady, a little village on the sublimely beautiful east coast of Northern Ireland. She fills her days with swimming, fishing, quilting, and baiting the tourists who arrive from the city with more money than sense. She hasn’t left the village since a traumatic stay in London as a young woman at the end of the 1980s.

One of the tourists is Evan, taking an enforced holiday from his family and work in Belfast after breaking down after the death of his daughter in infancy. He has come to try to process his grief and make himself desirable again as a husband, a father and a business partner.

But he hasn’t been there a week until he gets trapped by lockdown. When Grace saves his life in a kayaking accident – if it was an accident – and Evan’s troubled son arrives to stay, all three are drawn together in a way that forces a reckoning with their personal traumas and draws them back into society.

This is a moving and funny debut novel set in a quirky coastal community you will be desperate to visit after reading. It will appeal to readers of Elizabeth Strout, Maggie O’Farrell and Alice Munro.