The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

About this book…

‘I can’t take my eyes off the water. Can you?’

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – 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, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins 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 realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

My review…

I had never read any Louise Candlish books until last year when I picked up the wonderful The Sudden Departure of the Fraser’s after a recommendation. Now though, after reading The Swimming Pool I can confidently add her to the list of authors that I trust impeccably. Enough so that I will pre order her next book without even reading the blurb! I loved this book! It had to be a 5* review, not only was it a fabulous read for me but it also contained possibly my favourite line in any book I have read so far this year! I’m still chucking to myself about it now!

Based in a leafy London suburb, The Swimming Pool has at its centre the opening of a new lido at the start of the school summer holidays. Ed and Natalie, both teachers, live close by with their daughter Molly, who unfortunately suffers from aquaphobia. Soon after the opening of the lido Natalie meets the enigmatic Lara, ex actress, model and competitive swimmer, and quickly falls under her spell. The charismatic Lara introduces Nat into her inner circle of rich and glamourous friends. But is the long hot summer of parties and lazing about drinking champagne by the Lido about to end in a massive storm when tensions and dark secrets eventually come together?

This book was so wonderfully layered from the start that I enjoyed every minute of it. The build up commences right from the prologue where you cringe as the author describes a fear that so many of us have, happening to an unnamed character. You realise that something terrible is going to happen right from reading chapter one but not exactly what. But the thing is, with a Louise Candlish book that it isn’t totally about the “big secret” it’s actually the journey up to it that’s as enjoyable if not more so! She builds up the layers of the plot slowly and carefully, wracking up the tension and making you want to devour and savour every single word. I adore a domestic noir with dark tormented characters like Natalie, who is hiding her secrets from the past but still having to live with them everyday.

Told in three time frames, this novel twists them all together like making a big stick of rock until all the pieces come together in a climax crackling with tension and you then are left with that strange calm following a storm. I would certainly recommend reading this on your summer holidays this year. I can imagine it would feel even more atmospheric stretched out by a swimming pool, cocktail in hand but failing that out in the garden, grabbing that British summertime as and when it appears!!

Highly recommended from me and if you want to know what my favourite line was….then you will just have to read the book! I will only say that whenever I look at a cockapoo in the future, I will always remember Lara’s description of Inky! So for that alone, a huge thank you to Louise Candlish! I’ve added a pic of my own little “Inky” just for fun!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an honest review.

Publication date 5th May 2016

Available to buy on Amazon