Tuesday, January 11, 2011

REVIEW: The Swimming Pool, by Holly LeCraw

The Swimming Pool, by Holly LeCraw. Published 2010 by Random House.

The Swimming Pool is just a really great read. Somewhere between a soap opera à la Melrose Place and an examination of modern family dysfunction, it's the story of Marcella Atkinson, a ravishing Italian beauty still desirable in her middle age and a murder shrouded in mystery. As a young woman she'd had an affair with Cecil McClatchey, a wealthy Southerner who vacationed in her Cape Cod town along with his family. One night Cecil's wife Betsy is killed, the killer never found. Now, years later, Betsy's murder haunts her fractured family; Marcella, divorced and mother to a beautiful, blossoming daughter of her own, embarks on a steamy affair with Cecil's son Jed, while her daughter takes a summer babysitting job for Jed's sister Callie, a troubled new mother.

But who murdered Betsy? It wasn't who I expected it to be, but I've heard so many readers say that already that I had a completely open mind when I read it. I know who I wanted it to be though! And what will happen when all of these volatile characters, with their secrets and their hidden agendas, collide like chemicals in a test tube? What will the fallout be? Who will precipitate it? Or will there even be an explosion? Will it just fizzle out like a broken firecracker?

You'll have to read to find out. The Swimming Pool will keep you gulping LeCraw's finely crafted prose like water. I had a great time reading this book. I finished it in about two days of voracious and obsessive page-turning. To me this book was a great, fun beach read- a well-written thriller/domestic drama with characters I believed in just enough, and whose sometimes outlandish behavior I was happy to forgive if only it meant I could spend more time in their messy, chaotic world. It's a tough book to classify exactly; it's not a trashy beach book by any stretch but there is something of the soap opera about their passions and scheming. It's going to appeal to lots of readers; it's a literary read that manages to be fun and light at the same time. Like I said, The Swimming Pool is a good time between the covers.

Come back tomorrow for my interview with author Holly LeCraw and a giveaway for you.

Rating: BUY

The Swimming Pool
by Holly LeCraw
I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales.

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.


Amy said...

I really liked this book when I read it as well...I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful. :)

Mystica said...

This sounds such a good book.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Sounds interesting and I have come to trust your judgement.

Zibilee said...

It does sound sort of like a soap-opera, and I just love coming across books like that. You also make it sound like it was hard to put down, which is another plus in my book. I am going to have to check this one out, as I am up for a really engrossing read that's not totally predictable. Wonderful review, Marie! I am glad you had such an awesome time with this book!

jewwishes said...

What a nice review, Marie. I have a friend who recommends it, also.

diaryofaneccentric said...

I'm glad to see you liked this one. It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile.

Marie said...

Oh Anna, read it- you'll love it!

Carolina Gal's Literary Cafe said...

I read it in the summer. It was a beach read, but not exactly chick flick. With a twist of suspense, what I recall. I apologize, a senior moment. But what I do recall. Thanks for the review, Marie.

Hope you are bracing the freeze up north. For the first time, I can say I don't miss the north, if I was still living in NJ, I would be shoveling. For the South it has been very very cold here, in the 30's, with plenty of freezing rain.

Kathleen said...

Sounds like the best kind of soap opera. While it might not classify as a trashy beach read I would probably end up reading it on vacation and it would be coincidentally on the beach!

Cathy said...

Sounds like a great book to check out...always fun to see a fellow Boston girl on here:) look forward to more reviews!