Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

Here is a summary of The Swimming Pool from the Random House website:

Seven summers ago, Marcella Atkinson fell in love with Cecil McClatchey, a married father of two. But on the same night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil's wife was found murdered—and their lives changed forever. The case was never solved, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect.

Now divorced and estranged from her only daughter, Marcella lives alone, mired in grief and guilt. Meanwhile, Cecil's grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape with his sister for the first time in years. One day he finds a woman's bathing suit buried in a closet—a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father's affair—and, on a hunch, confronts Marcella. When they fall into an affair of their own, their passion temporarily masks the pain of the past, but also leads to crises and revelations they never could have imagined.

In what is sure to be the debut of the season, The Swimming Pool delivers a sensuous narrative of such force and depth that you won't be able to put it down.

My Review:
This novel takes us into the lives of the family members that were victimized by an unsolved mystery that took place years ago.  When Betsy was found murdered in her Atlanta kitchen she leaves her children, Jed and Callie, and her husband Cecil, to deal with the aftermath of the event.

The book opens in a summer home that the McClatchey family has always owned on Cape Cod.  Even though both of their parents are gone, Jed and Callie decided to keep the home in the family.  Callie has married and has two children of her own while Jed can never seem to be a part of a committed relationship.  It is clear that Jed and Callie are both a couple of broken, disheartened souls and they have decided to spend the summer, along with Callie's husband and children in the Cape Cod home.

Jed finds himself drawn to Marcella, a woman that he vividly remembers from his youthful days when his parents were alive and the neighborhood in the Cape was bustling with fun and energy.  When he confronts Marcella it is quite a surprise to find that they are both full of passion for one another.  This summer affair will lead to secrets revealed, some secrets kept, and finally a tragedy that is unavoidable.

I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy this book, but it still kept me turning the pages.  It held a very depressing element to the storyline and the affair between Marcella and Jed seemed quite unrealistic to me.  I can understand why Jed would find himself attracted to the older woman that Marcella was, but would he really stay attracted to her once he found out that his own father had an affair with her years before?  And as far as Marcella goes, would she really have an affair with the son of the man that she claimed to love years ago?  I guess this is a possibility considering how broken all of their lives were, but it just didn't add up for me.

Like I said earlier, I found that I couldn't put this book down for I had to see how this scenario was going to end.  The most broken character in this novel appeared to be Callie and I wish we really would have gotten to hear more of her story, rather than focusing on Jed and Marcella's affair.  This is one of those books where I can say I didn't find a liking for any of the characters, but I have found in the past that if the writing is good I can still find enjoyment of the book.  I obviously did find a substantial amount of enjoyment but I didn't particularly like the writing style either.  It didn't seem to flow well and was also a bit choppy for my taste.  But after reflection of the storyline it could be that this is what the author meant to accomplish. 

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Kaye said...

Great review, Jo-Joalthough I wish you had enjoyed the book more. I too was a little disappointed in the book. Callie's story was pretty depressing, frankly and I think that is one of the reasons I didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. What attracted me in the first place was the setting but the author did not "put me in the scene" as much as I would have liked.
Happy New Year to you and wishing you good books, good health and happiness.

Esme said...

I could not stand this book-it was horrible. Great review.

Anna said...

I received an ARC of this book awhile back, but the reviews have made me hesitant to read it. I'm glad that it was interesting enough to keep you reading even though you didn't like it. I'm going to give it a try at some point.