2*, book review

Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

the swimming pool
The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish
I really struggled with this book and in the end I gave it 2*, I don’t know why this book just didn’t work for me when it has so many good reviews.

‘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?


‘I was quite excited to read The Swimming Pool. Another author that I really like had such high praise for it that I was sure it was going to be good. The book started well, and then it just kept going and going and going, but it wasn’t really going anywhere.

I do read a lot of thrillers, which tend to start with a bang, so I do have to remind myself when reading other genres that they have a slower pace. But The Swimming Pool didn’t actually get anywhere at all. At 26% things seemed to pick up and I thought here we go, and so I read and I read and I read and I thought that I must surely be nearly finished, and then I checked and was only 56% in. It was only my belief that the author that loved it wouldn’t let me down that made me keep going, I normally give up on books that are like this.

While The Swimming Pool is very well written and I felt that the author was particularly good at setting scenes meaning I can picture in my head many of the places from the book very clearly, and there are many reviews praising the writing, but for me there was something missing. I often read books with characters in that I do not like, but the main character in The Swimming Pool was not just unlikeable but so loathsome that I struggled to tolerate reading about her. Her behaviour and thinking were so bizarre for someone of her age that it just made no sense. The other characters were better, and all believable and well written, but those that could have been more interesting often had small parts.

The Swimming Pool generally gets really positive reviews, for whatever reason this book and I just did not click. It took me nine days to read it which is slow for me, even though I’m a slow reader. But everyone else can’t be totally wrong, so maybe don’t take my word for it?

I received a copy of The Swimming Pool from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

The Swimming Pool is available now from Amazon UK, it will be released in America in January 2017 but is currently available on audiobook now.

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