Book: Swimming Pool Sunday
Author: Sophie Kinsella writing as Madeleine Wickham
Synopsis: Mr and Mrs Delaney have a long standing tradition of opening their pool to all of the village for charity. On one scorching hot Sunday, Louise Kemper finds herself at the Delaney’s pool with her daughters, Amelia and Katie, as well as her estranged husband, Barnaby. Barnaby is not happy, given the conditions he has found himself there in. It was supposed to be his day with the girls but it seems Louise got her way once again. As the children have their time of their lives swimming in the cool pool waters, Louise basks in the sun and avoids her neighbors who all secretly judge her for her decisions. With a sudden twist of events, tragedy strikes. Her bliss in the sun is shattered. The consequences of the accident leads to an ongoing series of drama, blame, betrayals, jealousy, power plays, oppositions and recriminations. A dangerous contest of the grown-ups in the village ensues, highlighting how far people can go to defend what they think is right.
What was interesting about this book was the clear portrayal of how people exist within communities. When the Kempers’ household is struck with tragedy, they move to operate emotionally rather than logically. As the saying goes, love can make one do crazy things. And what’s stronger than a mother’s love for her child? Many a times as I read this book, I tried to put myself in Louisa’s shoes. What would I do if my child ended up in a coma? How would I react? Who would I blame? Would I be justified in my reasoning ? Well, to be honest I don’t think Louisa was justified but then again, I don’t have children. I am not sure if my sentiments would remain the same if I was a parent to a young angel who’s life as she knows it is suddenly cut short.
I felt that the book got better towards the end, then left us hanging. This is my one complaint about this book. I would have loved to find out more about what happened to the Kempers and the Delaneys. How did they coexist in the same neighborhood afterwards ? What happened to Daisy’s controversial relationship with Alexis? How did the villagers make up for jumping the gun and going against the Delaneys who have been part of the society for such a long time? The book’s ending leaves a lot of unanswered questions that would have made it more interesting in my opinion.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued with the unfolding drama in this society that I finished this book in one seating. (That and the fact that we did not have power for almost 5 hours that specific Sunday 🤦🏽). With every turn of the page I had to resist the urge of turning to the last page to find out what happens to everyone at the end because the curiosity was well built.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants some light drama to entertain them. I hope you enjoy it.
(Cover image courtesy of Raphael Biscaldi).