Thursday 5 May 2016

Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Release date: 5 May 2015
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: It's summer, and for teachers Ed and Natalie Steele this means six weeks off work with their young daughter Molly. Their lives are predictable and uncomplicated - or, at least, they were - until they met the Channings. Suddenly, glamorous Lara Channing, a former actress leading an eccentrically lavish lifestyle, is taking Natalie under her wing and the stability of summer takes an exciting turn. But are there hidden motives behind this new friendship? And when the end-of-summer party at the lido is cut short by a blackout, Natalie realizes that she's been kept in the dark all along . . .

From it's opening paragraph, The Swimming Pool had me hooked. There are hints that something terrible has happened but exactly what that is, is a mystery waiting to be solved.

Natalie Steele is a teacher, counting down the days until the Summer holiday begins and she can spend some time with her family; her husband Ed and daughter Molly.

At the opening of the new local Lido, Natalie meets Lara Channing. A former actress, beautiful, glamorous and wealthy, she is everything Natalie is not. Natalie is inexplicably drawn to Lara, who seems somehow familiar to her, yet she is certain that their paths have never crossed.

The Lido should be off limits to Natalie, for her teenage daughter Molly has severe aquaphobia, caused by a near drowning incident when she was much younger. But soon Natalie and her best friend Gayle find themselves at the Lido nearly every day under the semblence of keeping fit.

Gayle thinks Lara and her friends are self-obsessed but Natalie is bewitched by Lara, and Ed and Molly are quickly sidelined as Natalie is drawn into Lara' exclusive inner circle. Convinced that she can 'cure' Molly, Lara recommends a hypnotherapist.

Natalie is skeptical. Molly has been afraid for so long. Can a couple of sessions with a hypnotherapist really cure her fear of the water? So obsessed is she with the Lido, Natalie agrees to the expensive sessions, and in doing so allows her fledgling friendship with Lara to develop into something much more complex.

There is a constant tension in this novel, that I can only describe as an 'atmosphere'. You just know that when the summer ends things are going to look very different, but you don't know quite how or why.

The Swimming Pool is a very cleverly written novel, full of suspense and intrigue. It will stay with you long after its conclusion.

The Swimming Pool is available now from Amazon online and all good book shops. 
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Thank you to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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