The Swimming Pool

What are the ripple effects of a secret passion? Of a parent’s love? Of a single, agonized mistake?

The Swimming Pool Bookcover

This hazy-hot novel, set on sun-drenched Cape Cod, chills to the bone. People Magazine

An insightful, compelling examination of love and betrayal. Powerful and pageturning. Winnipeg Free Press

A Kirkus Top Debut

A Daily Beast Best Book of Summer

A Good Morning America Top Pick

A Chapters/Indigo Heather’s Pick

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Marcella di Pavarese Atkinson has always longed for love, warmth, understanding. Seven years ago, she believed she had found it, although illicitly, with Cecil McClatchey—a married father of two, and a longtime summer acquaintance from Cape Cod. But on the night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil’s wife was found dead, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect. Now Marcella lives alone, divorced, estranged from her teenaged daughter, and hobbled by her grief and guilt.

Meanwhile, Cecil’s grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape for the summer for the first time in years, with his sister and her young children. One morning, in an upstairs closet, he finds a bathing suit he recognizes as Marcella’s–a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father’s affair. A hunch, his years-long hunger for answers, and the memory of a teenaged crush send Jed looking for her. But when Marcella and Jed, to their deep surprise, fall into a passionate affair of their own, they must hide it from their families and also begin, reluctantly, to look more closely at the past. What they find is shocking, heartbreaking, and, perhaps, the beginning of healing; but as they confront their shared pain, a crisis is brewing in the present that will force them, and us, to think about the very nature of love.

Lyrical and sensuous, The Swimming Pool is about devotion in all its forms: between spouses, lovers, siblings and, especially, between parents and children. It is a story of how our most essential connections entwine, in the most surprising of ways, and how they endure.

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THE SWIMMING POOL is as riveting and psychologically complex as Hitchcockian film noir…a tale of entangled lies, complicity, betrayals, and unstoppable consequences.
Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter

What Readers are Saying

This exceptionally complex and accomplished novel does not read like the work of a beginning writer. Insightful…an author to watch. Libary Journal, Starred Review

Strong writing keeps the reader sucked in to LeCraw’s painful family drama debut. It is a story of deep and searing love, between siblings and lovers, but most powerfully between parents and their children. Publishers Weekly

THE SWIMMING POOL is a complex, astonishingly well-crafted, and completely compelling debut. Anita Shreve, author of Testimony and The Weight of Water

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, author of Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher

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 Then She Found Me and The Family Man

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 Going Away Shoes and Tending to Virginia

The Swimming Pool is ‘wow!’ This is a book you need to read.

This hazy-hot novel, set on sun-drenched Cape Cod, chills to the bone. People Magazine

Every sentence drips with delicious deeper meaning. AARP Magazine

This novel about Cape Cod’s social circles reveals the miseries hiding beneath its sanitized and highly chlorinated surface… the suburban afflictions that are drowning these characters make The Swimming Pool difficult to put down. Entertainment Weekly

This book, in many ways, defies simple classification — it is a psychological novel, a coming-of-age-novel, a novel about relationships, and marriages, and suffering. It is precisely the quiet kind of book I have come to admire — it is crafted, not just written; it is a wonderful read.

A fearless debut novel full of fresh insights and casually elegant writing…LeCraw was born and raised in Atlanta, where her father founded the late, great Oxford Books. After spending her childhood among the shelves of wonderful books, she has created one of her own. Atlanta Magazine