It's Summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - a 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 circle.
Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socialising with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real lift, and the person she used to be, beings to feel very far away.
But 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 realising, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?
Typically I read your average length book during my week long commute. If I really love the book it’ll be a matter of days as I not only reach for the book on the train but dip in and out at home or binge the last few chapters as I seek to know how the story will end. The Swimming Pool byLouise Candlish took me two weeks to read which will tell you very simply it was not for me.
I had high hopes for this ‘gripping’ tale wanting a return to darker tale but quite frankly I was utterly bored, disappointed and I’m baffled at what I have missed. Whenever I do not enjoy a book I turn to the more positive book reviews to try and see if it’s simply me that is missing something but I am at a loss.
The opening prologue sets a scene of sorts that you know something has gone amiss and have a slight intrigue wondering who was ‘it’ but after that it just felt like a never ending and boring attempt at dropping hints and attempting to create tension. In fact I like many of the other negative reviewers I’ve found skim read a lot of this book. As I’ve said it took me twice as long to read this as any other book as I just didn’t have enough interest to want to pick up and turn the page instead of refreshing my Twitter feed for the hundredth time.
Without providing spoilers the book does have an interesting attempt at showing how even adults can be swept along with wanting to be friends with the ‘cool kids’ and how even as an adult you have moments of madness in which you let your usual moral standards slip.
I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable and rather two dimensional if I’m honest. They were to me the generic versions of their type and in fact the ‘dark sides’ people refer to and lead to chills felt rather tame to me. I couldn’t relate in anyway or have any investment in what was happening, I could understand to a point but it felt so obvious how the story was told that it was as if I’d heard it all before.
The one saving grace for me and was almost worth reading in its entirety was there was a nugget of the story which had another breadcrumb dropped on the last few pages which had an eyebrow raised and provided something to go ‘aha so…’ and allow for my own conclusions.
Do let me know if you’ve read The Swimming Pool and what you made of the story.
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