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The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

by Joshilyn Jackson

      Laurel Gray Hawthorne smoothes out the unseemly edges in her life, like locking bedroom doors to safeguard her sleepwalking, ignoring literal and figurative ghosts from the past, and maintaining the distance between her husband and her over-the-top actress / sister Thalia. Laurel is a devoted wife to a college lover turned video game designer and an attentive mother to only daughter, Shelby. Her quilting even mimics her rounded life. Laurel's whole world unravels the night a new ghost visits her in the manicured prettiness of Victorianna, and she scrambles to fix the messiness.

This not-to-be-ignored ghost leads Laurel to a nightmarish scene: a young girl lying at the bottom of her pool. Police rule the drowning an accident, but the report doesn’t tie up the tragedy in a neat package. Laurel calls the one person who can simultaneously make the situation better and worse: her sister. Thalia descends on the Victorianna neighborhood, in a quest to find the person responsible for the girl's death. In short order, Thalia unearths other troubling circumstances, which tear down the rest of Laurel's safety net. Laurel must step up and confront the ugliness: her husband's possible affair, her daughter's possible involvement in the girl’s death, and truth behind her own childhood traumas.

Author Joshilyn Jackson was's February author of the month.  In The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Jackson takes readers on a soul-drenched, heart-breaking adventure. Her well-drawn, southern characters breathe with humorous quirks and familiar nuances that will strike a chord with readers. I love Jackson's work; she shares stories that make you laugh, cry, and think.  Jackson is a master storyteller, and her characters will live in your heart beyond the close of the book. Highly recommended.

The Book

Grand Central Publishing
March 2008
0446579653 / 9780446579650
Fiction / General
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The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008