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The Swimming Pool

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2.89 of 5 stars 2.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,029 ratings  ·  228 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Doubleday (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Audrey
NOTE: I actually give this book 3 1/2 stars.

It's really hard for me to know what to say about this book. On the one hand, I quite liked it. The story was fresh and interesting, the writing style was slightly poetic and beautiful, and the characters were complex and, well, not likable, but enjoyable. It was easily read, easily enjoyed, and and the time passed by nicely while I was reading.

Which makes me want to call this a fluff read. While I was reading, I felt like it jumped out at me and screa
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Amy
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.


There have been many many books over the years that deal with the subject of adultery and one could say that there isn't much left to tell on the subject. With THE SWIMMING POOL, I was pleasantly surprised to find that indeed there IS more to say. Seven years before, Marcella Atkinson had an affair with Cecil McClatchey, a fellow vacationer at the group of summer homes on the Cape. On the night that their affair ended, Cecil's wife is mu
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Chocolate & Croissants
is a book I should have liked, (family secrets, an unsolved mystery, illicit affairs, romance) but did not. Now I did not dislike it enough to put it down and just stop reading it. I had to finish it. It was almost like a bad relationship. You know you should walk away-you just cannot. You keep on going back for more. I liked parts of the book and then disliked it. Liked it again, disliked it. Yet I needed to know how it finished.

I found the book to be rather disjointed and distracted. It took
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Laurel-Rain
The devastation and aftermath of family tragedy is at the heart of this story.

It begins around a swimming pool on a hot summer day in a village on Cape Cod. We meet friends, but specifically, we zero in on two couples: Cecil and Betsy and Anthony and Marcella.

What happens over the next few weeks and months will forever alter all their lives. First, inexplicably, Cecil and Marcella begin an affair.

Then later, on a November evening, death greets Betsy when she arrives home after an outing with fri
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Paula
Hmmm...what to say about this book. It sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading it - the plot was a seven year old murder that somehow was tangled around the lives of two different families, a clandestine love affair and summer on Cape Cod. Sounded intriguing. What I found was a disjointed novel describing the events that lead up to the murder, interspersed with present-day drama from the families involved. I felt that the author didn't do a good job of jumping from one time fram ...more
Michael
Following the birth of her second child, Callie McClatchey returns to the home where she spent her summers, persuades her brother Jed to join her and hires old family friend Toni Atkinson as a summer time nanny. While cleaning out a closet in the old house, Jed stumbles across an old swimsuit that belongs to Toni's mother, Marcella. Perplexed as to why the swimsuit is there in a box, Jed returns to it Marcella and discovers she carried on an affair with her father, which was broken off the night ...more
Maree
*Disclosure: I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

So. I did a bad thing and judged this book by its cover. I thought it was going to be pretty medium, and while it turned out better than I had expected, it still didn't garner a 5 star read from me. But the cover version I had seriously made it seem like a self-published gig, so I'm glad to see better version images online.

The story was sadly beautiful, well written and fully fleshed with real characters. I was mostly drawn in
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Jessica
I won this through the first-reads program, and while I did not love it, I didn't hate it either. After the rave reviews, I had truthfully expected a little more.

Overall, it was just pretty good. The characters, for the most part, were interesting enough and I enjoyed all of the psychology - inner thoughts and reasoning - that LeCraw weaved throughout the story. I just felt that the book left me with unanswered questions - big ones. Perhaps this was the author's intent, but I would have rather
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Holly
Like a few other reviewers, I felt that this was a book that I should have liked more but didn't. The characters were well developed but I couldn't find one that I actually liked or related to. At the same time, once I had met them all I felt compelled to read through to the end to see how things turned out...or what they put themselves and each other through, to be more accurate. Jed and Callie are brother and sister, both haunted by their parents deaths. marcella was their father's mistress an ...more
Sherie
Let's see, unrequited love times 3 or was it 4? Add post partum depression, a murder, and orphaned children.
Why can't authors have protagonist women who age gracelessly - who carry around a spare tire, sagging breasts, age spotted hands, thinning, dull hair? I find it difficult to connect with someone who has done lots of things wrong in her life, but still manages to stop conversations at cocktail parties with her ageless beauty.
Theresa
Apr 16, 2010 Theresa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults only
Somewhat of a summer romance and mystery, The Swimming Pool was quite well written and followed two families and a summer at the Cape. A nice summer theme with a beach and summer homes, would interest most for a quick summer read.


Personally, I didn't care for the book. I'm not big on soap operas and for me, this storyline had the same qualities as a daytime soap. With a "Cougar", a love triangle that I found pretty distasteful, and numerous descriptive sex scenes, I just got bored with the whole
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Greenfairylv
Holly LeCraw is a mastermind at creating characters. The loneliness, the innocent, the lusting, the betrayed and hurting characters are so well written you can't hate them. You sense what has driven each character to the place they are today and even though you might find some of them morally wrong it is hard to pass judgment on them when you hear how tortured they are within their own minds and how they just long to be punished.
Jed's sister, Callie, I found particularly interesting. She was in
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Caitlin
This is a wonderfully written book about all the ways our actions can have unintended consequences. The story of an affair and the ripples it leaves in the water, Ms. LeCraw has given us spare and beautiful prose to tell a story that contains equal parts tragedy and joy.

Set variously in Cape Cod and Atlanta, the book tells the story of two families, interconnected by an affair and the events in its aftermath. It is also the story of Jed and Callie, brother and sister, orphaned and spending the s
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Mindy Detweiler
My Take: I tried to like this book I really did. But as is so often the case whenever everyone seems to LOVE a book I really just didn't get the whole thing. Was the writing good? yeah Was the story good? Eh. I could not find myself liking any of the characters whatsoever. I sympathized with Callie alittle bit but I really just wanted to slap her and tell her to grow up (although I know post partum depression is a real thing as I had it myself ) I just found her very whiny. Jed, I felt was just ...more
Ellene
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie
Though the overarching concept surrounding The Swimming Pool (the somewhat incestuous and tragically intertwined lives of two bored upper middle class families, who happen to summer in the sleepy Northern beach community) is nothing new, author Holly LeCraw treats her characters with a surprising sensitivity, and an almost complete lack of irony.

This isn't one of those "Wow, suburbanites are so vapid and shallow" books. And while many of LeCraw's characters do some very reprehensible things in
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Susan Coleman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
The Swimming Pool was an okay book, but was underdeveloped, and difficult to connect to. The story never really reels you in, excited for more. Marcella, the protagonist, is a depressing, self-loathing, over emotional, selfish, immoral woman, making it very difficult to like her, want her to come out winning in the end. The problem in the story is also unclear, is it the murder, the messed up relationships? Then the resolution to the "problem" is very quick, and lack luster. It could be consider ...more
Shannon
This book could have been better. The premise was very good - a young man (Jed)finds a bathing suit secreted away in his family's summer home closet and realizes that it doesn't belong to his mother but to a woman (Marcella) that he admired from afar as a young man. The affair between Marcella and Jed's father and the resulting murder of Jed's mother (Betsy) are all intertwined in this book.

I found parts of the story gripping - but the timeframe that it was supposed to have taken place remained
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Mary (BookHounds)

This is the perfect summer read even if you are stuck in the house since it is raining. The Swimming Pool is a murder-mystery-character driven story with a lot of twists and turns. I had thought that with so many books about adultery and the consequences of it had been done to death, but this one goes beyond the typical family drama. It is hard to describe the story without giving away the plot, so all I am going to say is: READ THIS.

Holly LeCrew has also won the Pushcart prize and I am now loo
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K2 -----
A well-paced read. I am not a big fiction reader but I always enjoy a first novel. It was recommended to me and it was a great airplane read. I see great things ahead for this author if she continues to publish. The story has twists and turns and keeps the reader going until the very last page. I find it unfortunate when writers feel the need to kill one or two characters off to give them grist for the mill but her writing made me forgive this first novelist's cliche. I am sure it will be a very ...more
Emily
The book was interesting enough to read until the end but not great. It was like there was a pink elephant in the room for the longest time in the beginning. The author refused to let the reader in. I think she should have started with Jed visiting Marcella and let the first chapters come after that one. The beginning was slow and confusing and hard to get into. While the end improved it still left the murder unsolved...not a fan of that! And to have a character have an affair with a man and lat ...more
Mara Buck
The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw
A Short Review by Mara Buck

Seldom is life as geometrically-focused as a swimming pool with its man-made precise boundaries. No, reality is as random as a tidal pool that appears in a rock fissure, then departs, leaving behind small dying things and a suspicious film of salt. This is the theme I took away from The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw. Murder, affairs, inter-dependent family relationships, all of them seemingly haphazard, thus all the more disturbing,
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Amanda Ishtayeh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Waleska Soto
Great story, page-turner. Vivid story about love, betrayal, lies that had a ripple effect destroying both families, Marcella's and her lover's, Cecil. The book was confusing at times going between Marcella's past memories and her present. The ending of the book was disappointing.
Bobbi Woods
I am not sure if I have ever rated a book with "one star"--I don't think I would be able to finish a book I didn't like at all. That said, this book was about a star and a half for me.

It's the story of two families in a Cape Cod town, whose lives were intertwined eight years ago in one way, and now present day in another. When I tried to explain the story line to my husband, he found it impossible to follow me, so I will not try to do it here. I will just say that it is the story of an old affai
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Joni
Very slow beginning. Hard to keep my interest. Plots and people really jumped around. Started to build up towards the end and went back down to a boring ending. Not a book to pass on.
Carol N
This storyline pulls you in – older woman, much younger man. Author does a good job of exploring the guilt associated with affairs and how it can erode one’s life. The plot line is heavy and centers around two families, each filled with family secrets, that become intertwined over the years. I did not connect with most of the characters. My only true connection was with the older woman, Marcella. She is divorced, estranged from her only child and living her life of exile at the seashore. Her dec ...more
Itasca Community Library
Asra says:

Jed and Callie’s parents passed away years ago. Their mother was murdered; their father died of a heart attack shortly thereafter, remaining the prime suspect. One summer, several years later, the two return to the family vacation home on the Cape, each seeking reclusiveness to sort through repressed emotions. As in life, things get worse before they get better when revelations about his father turn Jed’s world upside-down, while Callie’s postpartum depression leads to a flash point. Q
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Virginia Barlow
I didn't enjoy this book very much. I am interested in thrillers that have to deal with deaths and love affairs. However, I found it incredibly hard to follow. The author didn't do a great job of introducing the characters, so, from the beginning I was lost. It's a very upsetting tail about families that are brought together again after many years of someones death. Two main characters, Jed and Callie are siblings on a quest. Jed has taken a leave of absence from his law office to loll about wit ...more
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Holly LeCraw was born and raised in Atlanta, granddaughter of a former mayor and daughter of the founder of Oxford Book Store, where she worked throughout high school. She graduated from Duke University and later received a master's in English from Tufts University. She now lives outside of Boston with her husband and three children.

Her debut novel, The Swimming Pool, was a Top Debut of 2010 (Kirk
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More about Holly LeCraw...
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