When previously staid, middle aged teacher Natalie Steele hears that The Swimming Pool near her home has been renovated, she s anxious Her daughter Molly has an extreme water phobia after all and a pool isn t going to help But, all too soon she is drawn to it, to the exclusion of pretty much everything and everyone else, well everyone that is except her new best friend Lara Lara Faulkner is confident and glamorous as befits her former life as an actress, and the sceptical in Natalie s circle wonder what the attraction is The fact that from Natalie s perspective that there is an attraction is not in doubt As the summer holiday unfolds Natalie begins to question all that she held most dear and for a while, wishes that the summer could last forever Natalie is a compelling character, she is typical of her generation, living in a rented apartment because following an early marriage to her husband Ed they didn t manage to get on the property ladder at the right time Theirs is a typical family, hard working if a bit earnest they have adapted their early ideals to make a comfortable and safe life for their daughter Molly Molly s phobia has obviously become a huge issue, particularly for Natalie and the scenes where Natalie realises that Molly no longer needs her protection in the way she used to really resonated with my experience of parenting an early teen.
This is a clever tale that slowly unfolds in front of us over the course of one summer holiday The way that Natalie is drawn to Lara obviously foretells something awful but quite what is the question This feeling is mirrored by the writing which is nothing but foreboding with the heat and the tension rising of each and every page, I really felt myself pulled into the story Like the onlookers in Natalie s circle including her husband, fellow teacher, Ed, I was wondering what is behind the friendship and what the autumn would look like for all concerned.
But this book isn t just about this summer, we know that Natalie had a summer of madness many years earlier and as the tale of a different murky natural pool, the setting for adolescent life in the 1985 The mystery is what does this long ago summer have to do with anything, except the haunting of Natalie as she relives her actions from that time.
The d nouement is brutal as the secrets that have been half hidden are revealed following an explosive end of summer party held at the Lido and by the time it came I wasn t quite sure what to believe A truly captivating end to a wonderfully readable novel.
Louise Candlish takes a believable situation and clouds the underbelly in shadow So I suggest that you go set up your sun lounger and prepare to be entertained by the characters, setting and a plot that swirls like a whirlpool I was lucky enough to receive my copy for review from Lovereading, The Swimming Pool will be published on 5 May 2016 by Penguin UK Oh my God THAT ending Louise has bowled me over with yet another very cleverly written novel with twists that are outstanding Full gushing review to come but put this on your to read list and grab it from NetGalley.
I Can T Take My Eyes Off The Water Can You It S Summer When Elm Hill Lido Opens, Having Stood Empty For Years For Natalie Steele Wife, Mother, Teacher It Offers Freedom From The Tightly Controlled Routines Of Work And Family Especially When It Leads Her To Lara Channing, A Charismatic Former Actress With A Lavish Bohemian Lifestyle, Who Seems All Too Happy To Invite Natalie Into Her Elite CircleSoon Natalie Is Spending Long Days At The Pool, Socializing With New Friends And Basking In A Popularity She Didn T Know She D Been Missing Real Life, And The Person She Used To Be, Begins To Feel Very Far AwayBut Is Such A Change In Fortunes Too Good To Be True Why Are Dark Memories Of A Summer Long Ago Now Threatening To Surface And, Without Realizing, Could Natalie Have Been Swept Dangerously Out Of Her Depth I feel bad about this, because I usually like this author, especially her book The Sudden Departure of the Frasers, however, I have to abandon this one I am listening to the audiobook, and the narrator is just awful I have listened to four hours and just can t do any It s quite new to me that I let myself stop reading books, if I don t like them I used to feel a strong urge to finish every one I began However, the I read, the I realize I know what I like and I m not going to make myself feel guilty when I don t like something People seem to enjoy this book, so maybe it is much better without the audio narration, but as matters stand, I think I will just have to accept that some books are not for everyone.
Find reviews and bookish fun at I m not going to lie, I skipped chunks of this because otherwise I would ve just given up The whole story just dragged on so much and was so boring Yeah, there were some okay plot twists but nothing worth putting up with the rest of the story for I didn t even like the characters or the setting The whole thing was a bit of a disaster to me really.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the characters in this book and just know that I am going to be coming back to them in my mind in the future Not always likeable people, they are extremely entertaining to read about in this story of what can happen if you friend upwards I think a lot of us can relate to that desire of the ordinary woman or man in the street batting out of their league with regards to a new friendship and that s partly what made the character of Natalie so appealing to me Natalie and Ed are teachers, they lead ordinary lives which are neat and ordered The only real concern they have is their daughter Mollie and her deep rooted phobia of being in water and it is this that concerns them when they realise that a disused local lido has been renovated and is due to open That is, until Natalie meets Lara, local it girl and chief campaigner for the lido She is gorgeous, rich and glamorous and pretty soon Natalie falls under the spell of that glamour.
The story is based over the course of a summer around the lido and also takes us back 30 years ago to when Natalie was a teenager and spent a summer with her grandmother, a lot of it also being spent around a local swimming pool Now, in the present day, we know that something dreadful has just happened at the lido, something which will only be revealed in its entirety at the end of the read and we also become aware that something happened during that long ago summer which Natalie is deeply ashamed of.
Throughout the read there is an underlying sense of menace, you just know that something from Natalie s past is going to come back to haunt her It really is a fabulous, multi layered read with characters whose lives you really become immersed in Well worth picking up Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the review copy.
I had never read any Louise Candlish books until last year when I picked up the wonderful The Sudden Departure of the Fraser s after a recommendation Now though, after reading The Swimming Pool I can confidently add her to the list of authors that I trust impeccably Enough so that I will pre order her next book without even reading the blurb I loved this book It had to be a 5 review, not only was it a fabulous read for me but it also contained possibly my favourite line in any book I have read so far this year I m still chucking to myself about it now Based in a leafy London suburb, The Swimming Pool has at its centre the opening of a new lido at the start of the school summer holidays Ed and Natalie, both teachers, live close by with their daughter Molly, who unfortunately suffers from aquaphobia Soon after the opening of the lido Natalie meets the enigmatic Lara, ex actress, model and competitive swimmer, and quickly falls under her spell The charismatic Lara introduces Nat into her inner circle of rich and glamourous friends But is the long hot summer of parties and lazing about drinking champagne by the Lido about to end in a massive storm when tensions and dark secrets eventually come together This book was so wonderfully layered from the start that I enjoyed every minute of it The build up commences right from the prologue where you cringe as the author describes a fear that so many of us have, happening to an unnamed character You realise that something terrible is going to happen right from reading chapter one but not exactly what But the thing is, with a Louise Candlish book that it isn t totally about the big secret it s actually the journey up to it that s as enjoyable if not so She builds up the layers of the plot slowly and carefully, wracking up the tension and making you want to devour and savour every single word I adore a domestic noir with dark tormented characters like Natalie, who is hiding her secrets from the past but still having to live with them everyday.
Told in three time frames, this novel twists them all together like making a big stick of rock until all the pieces come together in a climax crackling with tension and you then are left with that strange calm following a storm I would certainly recommend reading this on your summer holidays this year I can imagine it would feel even atmospheric stretched out by a swimming pool, cocktail in hand but failing that out in the garden, grabbing that British summertime as and when it appears Highly recommended from me and if you want to know what my favourite line was.
then you will just have to read the book I will only say that whenever I look at a cockapoo in the future, I will always remember Lara s description of Inky So for that alone, a huge thank you to Louise Candlish I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.
The Swimming Pool was a disappointing read for me, as Is so often the case in the psychological thriller genre the story made its intentions far too clear from the outset and whilst this novel had an appetising premise, there was very little substance over the course of the following 450 pages to fulfil the early promise The reopening of a long neglected lido undoubtedly worked well as the backdrop for a dark and taut thriller, with its comparisons to the stage, where danger and pleasure lie side by side but no matter how good the setting, the story needs to deliver, something which The Swimming Pool failed to do.
The arrival of the summer holidays signals a blissful break from full time education for thirteen year old Molly and parents Natalie and Ed Steele, both of whom are teachers Living in a flat in leafy Elm Hill the opening of a renovated lido awash with the summer sun holds an excitement and appeal for forty five year old Natalie, feeling discontented with her lot Meeting the glamorous Lara Channing on her first visit and quickly falling under her spell and into the louche lifestyle of her clique, Natalie is unwittingly drawn into a a toxic friendship which not only threatens her, but also her child and husband of sixteen years The moneyed and carefree Channing family are everything that the conventional Steele family seemingly eschew but pretty soon Natalie is drawn into the world they occupy Living a conventional and pretty ordinary life, casual on the surface but orderly, strictly managed , after an initial meeting with Lara, Natalie quickly falls to her charms, flattered by the attention and suddenly willing to jettison her family and her principles That daughter, Molly, has the chronic and debilitating condition of aquaphobia might be a reason for Natalie to hold back from her journeys to the lido, but with a gulf in teen and adult relations she is no longer feeling like her family need and appreciate her and seeks a last shot at the excitement which she feels has always passed her by.
The novel opens with Natalie and Ed Steele sitting beside the bedside of Molly who has clearly been involved in an accident on some kind with big implications Natalie is stricken with guilt and full of regrets in the wake of this latest incident and Ed s thinly veiled accusations, evident anger and obvious devastation are the stick with which she beats herself The Swimming Pool is told over three time frames, breaking from the vigil by Molly s bedside to see just what happened over the course of the summer with the occasional return to Natalie as a teen in 1985 where she also fell under the thrall of an equally dangerous new friend The friendship with Lara brings to the surface the ominous memories of Natalie s summer of delinquency with Mean Mel and the occasional glimpses of were tantalising snapshots of a former rebellious streak The largest component of the novel however are the details of the summer that has led up to the incident in question, and this was overly lengthy With numerous tales of Natalie making either a fool of herself or being wilfully blind in realising that there might be an ulterior motive behind why Lara has chosen her as the special one , the illustration of this dragged My major disappointment with The Swimming Pool was how much is resembled a lightweight chick lit read, and with little realistic build up to the friendship with Lara, simply going from introduction to living in each other pockets overnight, the novel descended into tales of a debauchery and heavy drinking females all with a shimmering pool as the backdrop Pretty soon the story lost sight of the bigger picture and the attention turned to the trivial jokes and risqu behaviour of Natalie and Lara seemed like Candlish for an easy laugh Scant attention was paid to the rest of the Steele family or their family life together and as a consequence this always felt a little flimsy Natalie is a needy woman who I suspect is simply guilty of feeling neglected, cast aside by her husband occupied in private tutoring and increasing losing her connection to a stroppy teenage daughter Undoubtedly Natalie s attitude to Molly s aquaphobia has contributed and reinforced her problem with water Does Molly want to get better, and might she have conquered the problem if Natalie had not made such an issue of it As a educated teacher, the apparent lack of suspicion about the motives of Lara for pursuing the friendship also seems unlikely, but in the wake of her home life crumbling perhaps this is understandable Natalie s feelings regarding Lara remain a moot point, but whether the attraction is sexual or not, the appeal of a new friend and the heady emotions that accompany an intense friendship are every bit as mesmerising as a romantic love interest.
Whilst I was very impressed with Louise Candlish s writing and her eye for a incisive and pithy summation of the tensions between all parties in The Swimming Pool, I needed substance and depth to connect with the story and characters involved.
The Swimming Pool is incredibly creepy for a story, thrilling and original and unlike most other thrillers in that at first, it seems almost a mundane book about friendship until it takes a sudden turn for the bizarre.