Back of the book :
I can’t take my eyes off the water, can you ?
Its 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 to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all to happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.
Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socialising 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 realising , could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth ?
What I think :
Natalie is a Teacher at a well to-do Prep school, She’s married to Ed who is also a teacher at the local comp. They have a daughter together, Molly who is fourteen. They have a normal, boring life and are looking forward to the long summer holidays, so they can do normal family things together. However, when the local lido opens after being closed for many years it changes everything, Because this is where Natalie meets Lara. Lara is a celebrity, having been a competitive swimmer and a actress she is the one responsible for heading the campaign to open the old pool. Natalie is quite opposed to the new pool opening as her daughter, Molly has an awful, crippling fear of water and has had it since she was a toddler.
When Natalie meets Lara she is stunned that Lara would want to speak to her let alone want her for a friend. Over the summer they slowly become close friends. Lara even recommends a councillor for Molly to get help for her fear of water.
For Natalie though Lara’s carefree lifestyle is throwing up some unwanted memories of a summer long ago when she was a teenager and she wasn’t quite as well behaved as she should have been.
Is Lara everything she seems or is Lara playing Natalie and her family ? Could they be in danger ?
The story starts with a prologue, a woman is running naked down a busy main street in London. (I’m not sure at this point if its real or a dream) She is very scared and running from man. The story then jumps to the 31st of August 2015 and then back to ten weeks before that (21st June 2015) The Book has no real chapters as such, it flicks back and forth from the weeks running up to 31st of August, which was when Natalie met Lara, up to the 31st of August. Sometimes it also goes back to the “Summer of badness” when Natalie was a teenager.
For the first quarter of the book its mostly background for the main characters, but then after that the story begins in earnest. It really is an excellently written book, with many secrets and lies, which of course where always going to be exposed. I must admit that I didn’t guess the end, which is quite unusual for me. It was a complete shock when you do find out the end. But I really did love it.
A must read for the summer !
I give this expertly written tale 10/10. (5 stars)
A big thank you to Penguin and to Netgalley for the review copy of the book.
Published by Penguin (Random House) on 05/05/16