Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

"Until the drowned girl came to Laurel's bedroom, ghosts had never walked in Victorianna."

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
ISBN: 9780446697828
Publisher: Grand Central/2008
Pages: 308

This is one of those novels which totally takes you in from the first line. With magical realism along with a murder mystery it has all those elements which sustains the interest till the end. The ghost part of it felt more like vision to me, which works well too.

Laurel is happy enough in Victorianna, Florida along with her daughter Shelby and husband David, who is into developing codes for PC games. Laurel too is into quilting which gets her good money. One August night she finds Molly, her daughter's best friend, standing beside her bed, who leads her to the swimming pool. Molly is floating lifeless in there and no amount of revival works. Laurel's main concern are her daughter and another girl Bet, she has almost adopted from a lower strata neighbourhood.

Laurel needs her sister Thalia, with whom she had not spoken for two years. Now Laurel and Thalia have a past, which threatens to spill over the Hawthorne household. Laurel's perfect life goes haywire and she doesn't know what to do. Shelby and Bet too have a secret about Molly which they aren't willing to share. Molly's death is closed as accidental but Laurel knows it is a murder. In the midst of all this, there is supposedly a pedophile roaming about. And he is a suspect in Laurel's eyes. In their journey towards unravelling the truth, Laurel has to face a lot of unpleasantness and the explosive ending leaves us shattered.

Whatever differences Laurel and Thalia have, it doesn't affect their strong bonding. Laurel knows Thalia would stand by her always. David is not too fond of Thalia but he too realises that Thalia can go to any length to keep Laurel and Shelby safe. The ghost part too works well and as a mystery it manages to keep that alive too. With beautiful prose, it was a pleasure to read it. Thanks Joshilyn, for sending me a copy!


Anonymous said...

This is one I really want to read.

Yvonne said...

I really enjoyed this one too!

bermudaonion said...

I love all of Joshilyn's work, but Gods in Alabama is my favorite. YOu need to read it.

Carrie K. said...

Great review - I have this on my to-read stack. I can't wait to get to it!

Amanda said...

I recently won this one and can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

I've read such good things about this one, including your review. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Kerri said...

I just received this in the mail last week. I'm looking forward to reading it.

The Reading Momster said...

Wow! Sounds so good!

Beth F said...

I haven't read this one yet (I own it!) but like Bermudaonion, I loved Gods in Alabama.

serendipity_viv said...

I am jumping up and down with excitement (I think it is excitement - maybe anxiety and frustration at too many books not enough time) as I have this book waiting to be read! Now what is all this about Gods in Alabama - is this another book I need to have!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I have this one sitting on my shelf, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Anna said...

This one's on my shelf, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review!

Diary of an Eccentric