The Swimming Pool: Book summary and reviews of The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

The Swimming Pool

By Holly LeCraw

The Swimming Pool
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2010,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

A heartbreaking affair, an unsolved murder, an explosive romance: welcome to summer on the Cape in this powerful debut.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"It is a story of deep and searing love, between siblings and lovers, but most powerfully, between parents and their children." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. With a strong underlying theme of longing woven throughout, LeCraw's work skillfully takes these characters through varying emotional journeys. An insightful piece, not just for beach or airplane reading." - Library Journal

"The Swimming Pool is more than an auspicious debut. Holly LeCraw's first novel is gripping, passionate, and beautifully written from start to finish, a moving chronicle of two damaged families struggling to free themselves from a complex web of secrets and lies." - Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher

"Holly's LeCraw's The Swimming Pool is a complex, astonishingly well-crafted, and completely compelling debut." - Anita Shreve, bestselling author of Testimony

"The Swimming Pool would have knocked me over if Holly LeCraw already had a shelf full of prize-winning books to her credit. What an intelligent, beautifully plotted, intriguing and un-put-downable story about family secrets that interlock and haunt. I was totally captivated and lost in admiration for this masterful novel.” - Elinor Lipman, author of The Family Man, My Latest Grievance, The Inn at Lake Devine, and Then She Found Me

"The Swimming Pool is a riveting family story that will hold the reader enthralled from the very first page. With great suspense, Holly LeCraw skillfully orchestrates the collision course of a present-day love affair with the dark mysteries of a family's past. She is a wonderful writer." - Jill McCorkle, author of Carolina Moon and Going Away Shoes

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA)
The Swimming Pool
When I received this book, I thought it would be something I would really like-but it wasn't. Although I could appreciate the good writing at times, I didn't care about the main characters or even about the mystery embedded in the story. I am a high school librarian and am always looking for books that would interest my students, but I don't think this one would. I hate saying anything negative about a new author, but this book just didn't do it for me.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Mary Q. (Greeley, CO)
Debut Novel a Nice Surprise
This beautifully written and well constructed novel pulled me right in. The characters had their own distinctive voices and I felt empathy for each one. Reading it at times took a little patience and concentration because the events of the story and the characters' personalities were very slowly revealed in a flip-flopping way between then and now. That took a little getting used to, but I eventually liked that aspect and felt it added depth to the book as a whole. The best thing about this book, though, is the author's sensual and poetic writing style, and I really will look forward to her next effort. Highly recommended!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Sharon S. (Stanley, N.C.)
"The Swimming Pool" by Holly Lecraw
Holly Lecraw's first novel "The Swimming Pool" is a story of two families who's lives will become intertwined for years to come due to an affair. Unbeknown to these families this affair will result in not only love but secrets,lies, murder and lives changed forever. Hold on for a ride of twists and turns that will keep you captivated to the end !!!
Lecraw wrote a novel that will surely become a favorite of book clubs everywhere !!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Nikki R. (Irvine, CA)
Seduced by the Swimming Pool
I really enjoyed the book and was quite frankly amazed at how the author was recounting the character's thoughts as she wove an ingenious and startling twist into the plot. This book hits you on many levels and would probably be best as a lady read. It has more depth than many books directed at ladies and yet is a quick and entertaining experience.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Heather F. (Tulsa, OK)
The Swimming Pool
This book drew me in right on its opening pages. There was a sense of mystery and of impending doom that kept me turning pages long after "reading time' was over. The characters were well fleshed out and my sympathies were with each of them in turn. As the story unfolded, I was caught up in the tangled lives surprised at the twists and turns. A page turner to the end!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Marcia S. (Hendersonville, NC)
Debut novel will create following for this author
The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw reveals a new author with a great talent for weaving a tale with a beautiful lyrical narrative. Secrets families keep can both protect and deepen wounds. The novel will generate much discussion with book groups about timing of confessions and the domino effect of truths withheld. LeCraw's writing grabs the reader with its intensity and passion and makes this book hard to put down. She will be on my list for future reads.

...29 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Holly LeCraw lives outside of Boston with her husband, who is a journalist, and three kids. Her short fiction and book reviews have appeared in a range of publications, including the Edge City Review and the Boston Book Review. Her short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Though a newcomer as a novelist, she grew up in the book industry. Visit her at hollylecraw.com

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