Review: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Posted on March 20, 2008


The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
By Joshilyn Jackson
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group
March 2008
311 pages

The ghost of a young girl shows up in Laurel’s bedroom in the middle of the night. When she follows it to the window she sees the body of her 13-year old daughter’s best friend, Molly floating face down in her swimming pool. Of course that would turn anyone’s life upside down. But Laurel Hawthorne isn’t just anyone. She’s a professional quilt designer who has created an orderly life with her video game designer husband, David, among the meticulous homes and gardens of their Victorianna subdivision. There is no room in their lives for this tragedy.

Yet Laurel is haunted, not only by the dead girl but also by her daughter Shelby’s reaction, and her friend Bet who was staying over at the time. Bet Clemmons is Laurel’s do-gooder project, a young girl she has rescued from dregs of society in the washed up little mining town of DeLop, which represents all that is unholy in her life. As a trained artist, Laurel knows there’s something wrong with this picture. But up till now her whole life has been about burying secrets, not digging them up.

In order to get to the bottom of this inconvenient mystery, Laurel calls on her estranged sister Thalia. The polar opposite of Laurel, Thalia is a flamboyant actress and the keeper of secrets. Laurel knows she can get Thalia to do the dirty work. What she doesn’t know is what that will cost her in the end.

Joshilyn Jackson’s vivid characters and spellbinding prose – you can almost hear the drawl and smell the earthiness – weave a tale as intricate and fascinating as one of Laurel’s quilts. Jackson takes readers on a journey past the façades of flower gardens, swimming pools, and Wal-Mart, through the crumbling asphalt and broken dreams of lives in the rural South, to uncover the mystery of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Copyright (c) 2008 by Peggy Tibbetts

Find more books by Joshilyn Jackson at her website

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