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The Girl on the Swing Paperback – February 8, 2010
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Once I pulled it up on my Kindle reader on my iPod, I couldn't put down. I am the kind of reader who looks for clues and forms deductions from those clues. I kept thinking the storyline was transparent, but was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong about how the story would unfold and end.
After finally relaxing, I was able to allow my mind to be led and my imagination to be sparked. I did not feel I was being forced to believe a certain way or possess various traits I don't have. I was allowed to view the story from my own experiences and let my imagination come alive with vivid imagery and well placed tidbits that I never saw coming.
When I read a book, watch a television program or see a movie I need to feel as if it is, had or could happen. If I don't feel this, I stop reading straight away. The Girl On The Swing book drew me in and I felt not only a part of it as a spectator, but I believed it as if it were non-fiction instead of a novel.
While there is an underlying theme of reincarnation in the book, it is rather a story of one woman's struggle to find meaning in life again after the tragic loss of her only child. She feels estranged from her husband and very alone in her grief.
Julia is an obstetrician from a middle class background; her ambitious husband from a stiff-upper-lip aristocratic family. She is finally getting ready to return to work when a wrongful death lawsuit is brought against her and she is forced to take an extended leave from her profession. This sends her spiralling down again. She begins to have unsettling visions of a past life. She dares not mention these to her husband and when she does so to her psychologist friend, it is suggested she keep busy doing volunteer work.
Julia decides to try it out and through a twist of fate ends up visiting a prisoner who is in jail for murder. There is an eerie connection with this man and the story begins to take some skillfully written, surprising twists and turns.
There were a few loose threads around minor characters that could have been tidied up, but we come to know and like most of them well enough for the story. Near the ending there is an unexpected twist that stirs Julia out of her fog a bit and helps her face the uncertainty of her future, and a further lovely bittersweet turn that offers promise of resolution and hope.
The Girl on the Swing is literary fiction with a compelling storyline. A most enjoyable read with a touch of suspense and mystery, and one I will remember for a very long time...
This story probably had the best developed characters that I've seen in a long time. I sincerely cared about Julia and didn't want to put this book down. The story stayed with me even when interrupted with the usual life things. I just wanted to get back to the book and forget everything else.
The writing style was very good, I was particularly impressed on how the backstory (Jamie and the lawsuit) was done. I was always looking forward to the next disclosure. Suspense without it being a "suspense" novel. Also, there are some passages describing grief that were absolutely beautiful that I found myself reading over and over.
I'm a bit on the fence about the reincarnation storyline. It certainly wasn't out in left field but I did find it to be a distraction. IMO, it could have been left out entirely and we still would have had a good story. That said, we would have lost Rose as a character and I liked a lot of what she had to say.
The kindle edition is well edited and formatted.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys literary fiction and I'm wishing much sucess to the author.
ETC a typo.