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The Swimming Pool Paperback – International Edition, August 23, 2016
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Exquisitely written and addictively dark, The Swimming Pool is sheer perfection * Clare Mackintosh, author of I LET YOU GO * A clever, claustrophobic thriller * Fabulous magazine * A compulsive psychological thriller that will give you the shivers * Sunday Mirror * Unapologetically dark, deliciously descriptive and heavy with that irresistible sense of foreboding, this is a novel that redefines the term "unputdownable" * heat * Tautly plotted and claustrophobic - a psychological drama with edge * Good Housekeeping * Readers will delight in the raw honesty with which Candlish writes about being a middle-aged woman in turmoil * Daily Mail * This story will keep you hooked with unexpected twists and turns until the end, when secrets and lies are exposed * Candis * Gripping from start to finish, it wrapped itself around me and swept me along in its wake. I loved it and simply did not want it to end * Rosanna Ley * Clever, atmospheric and ridiculously addictive * Kate Riordan * As languidly seductive as summer itself, this is a tense, unsettling tale about the secrets and lies submerged beneath the smooth surface of a leafy London neighbourhood lido. Bravo, Louise Candlish! * Tammy Cohen * The Swimming Pool' is a slow-burning and thought-provoking read, and the last few gripping pages had me immediately reaching for the beginning. * Love Reading * Praise for Louise Candlish * - * A master of her craft * Rosamund Lupton * A thriller novel meets soap opera with hints of Rear Window . . . addictive and fun . . . it will keep you guessing until the end * Stylist * Absorbing, perceptive and gripping * Daily Mail * Louise Candlish's stories don't shy away from life's more painful and emotional moments * Glamour * Tense, twisty and completely addictive, will keep you guessing right until the end * Good Housekeeping * Louise Candlish excels in looking at the darker side of relationships, she discovers thoughts and feelings that are recognisable but at the same time feel dangerously untouched. * Love Reading *
About the Author
Louise Candlish studied English at University College London and worked as an editor in art publishing and as a copywriter before becoming a writer. Though her stories are about people facing dramatic dilemmas, she tries to live an uncomplicated life in London with her husband and daughter.
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Natalie is surprised when Lara invites her to parties and shows an interest in her. She loves it and spends as much time with her new friends as she possibly can. She's neglecting her family and longtime best friends. Her husband is a tutor and he has work to do during the summer, but even when he's free Natalie has better things to do. She's happy to be included. Are her new friends really as nice as she thinks they are though?
While I was reading The Swimming Pool I constantly felt ill at ease. I loved how Louise Candlish manages to keep a constant level of tension and suspicion. The Swimming Pool is a book filled with secrets, unreliable characters and fascinating events. Something has happened and it's slowly being revealed. Everything in this story is exactly as it should be and it's the preciseness that makes this book so incredible. Louise Candlish has a great sense of timing and she delivers exactly when the story requires it.
Natalie isn't the most wonderful person in the world. She idolizes her Lara and can't believe her luck when Lara starts including her as she knows she doesn't really fit in. It's obvious that there's something more going on and I couldn't wait to find out what it was. Natalie's husband isn't a sensitive person, Lara is over the top and Molly is reclusive. Does Natalie deserve better people in her life? Together they are a great recipe for disaster. Louise Candlish lets her readers know straight away that something indeed went very wrong, only it takes a while before she shows them what it is.
Louise Candlish's writing flows easily. I loved the fact that she tells her story in such a calm way while actually there's a lot going on which is making it extra creepy. The ending is surprising and it's scarier than I expected. The last chapter is shocking and I absolutely loved this amazing finale. I can't recommend this book enough. I think it's a fantastic suffocating story with a lot of repressed suspense.
Aside from the prologue, “The Swimming Pool” brings you into the life of Natalie, a normal woman with a husband and a teenage daughter, who lives an extraordinary experience: make friends with Lara Channing, a local celebrity. She is thrown into an artificial environment that attracts her more and more, leading her to overlook her old friends and family.
What’s behind this interest from Lara about her?
The great thing about this book is that you don’t have the slightest idea of where it will end up. What is the conflict that defines it? Does it concern Natalie, her husband, her daughter or Lara? Or someone else?
Well, every day I was anxiously waiting for the moment to immerse myself in it to find out what would happen next.
The characters are well built and the plot is never boring, although there is little action. In retrospect, I realise that this novel is characterized by a very well defined structure that allows the reader not to lose themselves in its three timelines.
During the reading, I sensed the author’s efforts to keep my focus on the core of story, preventing me from taking too much notice about the daughter of the protagonist, Molly, but I didn’t realise to what extent this aspect was crucial.
Moreover, the ending is the most beautiful thing in the book and made me decide for five stars, instead of the four deserved by the rest of the novel, especially because of the way it creates a parallelism between mother and daughter.
This does not mean that “The Swimming Pool” is a perfect novel.
I didn’t appreciate the misleading use of the prologue, for example.
Attention, spoiler: the prologue is a dream, not a real event. During the reading of the whole book, I was tormenting myself to try to place it in the story, but then I found out that I couldn’t, since it wasn’t a real event. And this was a disappointment.
As I said before, the novel is well structured, but at times, it’s too much structured that it looks artificial. The transition between the various timelines seems forced by the need to follow a pattern rather than giving the impression of being spontaneous within the development of the plot, and this distracted me several times from immersing myself into reading.
Moreover, the protagonist is overly naïve and weak. It is immediately apparent that Lara has approached her for a reason. In particular, the attitude of the protagonist of feeling always regretful even in the light of the deception she has suffered is irritating. Natalie has an overly low consideration of herself. I expected a reaction from her, revenge. What he had done as a girl could not be compared to the gravity in Lara’s actions, because the latter is an adult. Yet Natalie does not really get angry, she continues to feel guilty.
Once I reached the penultimate chapter, which is a long tedious account, I feared the story would implode. But then this is unexpectedly saved by the last chapter and I’m sorry that no more space was given to Molly, whose character is certainly much more interesting than her mother’s is.
Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Kindred Intentions