Rating:

Reviewed by Amelie L.

If you’re in the mood for a long, deep dive into water, The Swimming Pool will take you and wrap you in its spell. An unsolved murder lurks at its heart and laps at its edges, surrounded by years and layers of secrets, love and betrayal.

The writing is gorgeous, as rich and redolent as a Cape Cod summer. Deftly, Ms. LeCraw draws complicated, tangled relationships; between siblings, parents and children, memory and longing. The story is set in motion by a bathing suit; evocative, beautiful, it stirs the waters of a young man’s recollections and draws him forward. His quest is full of nuance and elegance, pain and an intoxicating, contagious desire. Often it is as much what the writer doesn’t say as what she does that moves the story along. Brother and sister, father and son, husband and wife, all breathe and speak the pulse of real life in its most tender, untouched territory.

There is a mesmerizing sensuality to this book; I wanted the mystery solved, the prime suspect vindicated and the lovers resolved with a happy ending but I also didn’t. The mystery, as full of shadows and light as water, were part of the intoxication of reading.

Illicit love can be impossible to write without creating villains but The Swimming Pool manages to take us into the heat of forbidden desire willingly.

“It was easy, at the beginning, not to think. He swam, constantly, in desire. One weekend he left her house to go for a run, and as he ran, on the sand-edged roads near the beach, he felt he was more fully aware of his own body than he had ever been before. He could feel every strand of muscle flexing, every drop of blood rushing through his heart. This was what desire was like. He had had girlfriends before but never someone he had craved, like a drug.”

So it is for the reader, pulled into surrender into the passions of a beautiful book.

Amelie lives and works on a pond in Cape Cod. She shares her home with her husband and two sons and both reads and writes whenever possible. Her ‘day job’ is in social services.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Doubleday. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.