I just finished reading the girl who stopped swimming by Joshilyn Jackson ©2008. I REALLY enjoyed this book! I want to thank Jill at Rhapsody in Books again for selecting me as an alternate winner of this book.
The story centers on Laurel Hawthorne - wife, mother, quilt artist. She used to be visited by the ghost of her uncle after he was (accidentally?) shot and killed while on a hunting trip 26 years ago. She's been ghost free since getting married at age 19 and moving into a gated community near Pensacola. One hot August night she's awakened by a new ghost, that of her 13-year-old daughter's friend, Molly. Molly leads her to the bedroom window where Laurel sees her lifeless body in the backyard pool. All hell breaks loose as Laurel discovers her perfect life isn't so perfect after all. Was the death accidental as the police decided? Who was the shadow Laurel saw moving in the yard? And where were her daughter and her visiting cousin at the time Molly died? Neither of them were in their beds and it was the middle of the night.
Laurel's family consists of people with very different personalities. Her husband David is a computer software designer who spends most of his time working out of his basement office developing new games. Although he lacks in social skills, he makes up for this by providing his wife with great sex. Her daughter Shelby, who Laurel tries to shield from the bad things in life, is a typical teenager. Laurel's sister, Thalia, has a marriage of convenience with a gay man and together they run and act in a small theater. She's always looked down on Laurel's life and can't believe she's happy being a wife and mother. Thalia and David despise each other and she and Laurel haven't spoken in months. Their mother grew up dirt poor in Delop, Alabama, and now tries to forget except each Christmas when she takes her daughters and goes back to her hometown to distribute gifts to all her distant relatives. And there's distant cousin Bet Clemmens, the same age as Shelby,but who's grown up living a very different life in the squalor of DeLop. She's came to stay for the summer. All these people interact so strongly and make the story so interesting. I think this book would make a great movie. There's are super- natural occurrences, possible incest, sex, (adulterous and otherwise), murder, and finally, understanding. As Laurel tries to figure out what's going on, one thing kept going through my mind - the adage 'assume makes an ass of u and me'. Maybe she shouldn't have always assumed that everyone is telling her the truth.
The book was written in a very easy to read style and the author drew me in to what Laurel was feeling. I really liked the book and would like to read the author's others stories, gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia.