Title: The Swimming Pool
Author: Holly LeCraw
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge
First Sentence: "Bodies, bodies."
Summary (From back of book):
Seven summers ago, Marcella Atkinson fell in love with Cecil McClatchey, a married father of two. But on the same night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil's wife was found murdered. The case was never solved, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect.
Now divorced and estranged from her only daughter, Marcella lives alone, mired in grief and guilt. Meanwhile, Cecil's grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape with his sister for the first time in years. When he finds a woman's bathing suit buried in a closet -- a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father's affair -- he decides to confront Marcella on a hunch.
When, to their deep surprise, they fall into an affair of their own, passion temporarily masks their shared pain. But as we are left to believe on the last stunning pages, the betrayals of the past cannot be ignored and will have a ripple effect on these two families for years to come.
My Two Cents:
I agree with My Friend Amy when she says she wishes she hadn't read a synopsis of this book. I went into this book thinking it was going to be one thing, but was pretty surprised when it turned out to be a different book entirely. The synopsis almost reads like a mystery or thriller, even a romance, but it's much more than that. It is, I think, essentially a novel of relationships (Mostly parent-child relationships) and how misunderstandings can resonate for many years.
LeCraw's writing is superb. I was really surprised to learn that this is her first book. She's got an ear for language and she really can paint a picture, especially when describing the beach or a garden. Her ability to make you feel a character's mental state is excellent, too. I just couldn't stop reading the sections with Callie. They were like watching a train wreck -- Horrible to behold, but you want to know what happens.
Even though I really liked this book, I can't honestly say I liked any of the characters. I felt somewhat sorry for many of the characters, but I didn't really like them in that "Oh, I hope this one thing doesn't happen to this person because that'd really upset me" kind of way. I felt sorry for what was happening and what had happened to Callie, but I couldn't connect with her. There pretty much was nothing at all I liked about Toni or Anthony. Jed had some good qualities about him, such as his devotion to his family (Well, the living family members, at least), but his actions kind of creeped me out. The only character I could say I liked in any way, and even then her actions were none too honorable, was Marcella. I felt sorry for what she'd been through in life, and she seemed to want to have a decent relationship with Toni, but otherwise I just wasn't too fond of her.
I liked that this book dealt with some more sensitive subjects -- Pregnancy loss, postpartum depression -- without beating you over the head with them. If you're at all squeamish about sex or extramarital affairs, I wouldn't suggest reading this book.