The Drowning Pool

In Book Reviews on September 28, 2014 at 11:07 am
The Drowning Pool

HarperCollins 2011

Nutshell blurb: Sarah Grey and her son, Alfie, have moved to a small coastal town in Essex after she lost her husband in a traffic accident. She starts seeing visions of a ghost who has the same name as her as well as a dark past.

This book was pretty good. I had one of those baffling experiences whilst reading it where I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, however, I didn’t think that it was an amazing story.

Upon further reflection, I realised that I didn’t really connect with the main character. She is quite the ladette who likes being in a constant state of drunkenness. That’s not really something that I can identify with and it began to annoy me that she was constantly reaching for a drink during the story. No wonder she was seeing ghosts!

To be fair to her, she was still grieving over the loss of her husband and she had a little boy to take care of.

Before you think that I’m being all judgmental towards people who like to get drunk for recreational purposes, I want to say that I love cocktails but I just don’t like being drunk. I don’t enjoy going out and ending up being the only sober person in the room. I think that’s why I didn’t really connect with her. I couldn’t identify with her motivation much of the time.

The things that I liked about her: she’s highly intelligent and seems to always have Latin American music in the background.

The story was pretty interesting. The author seems to be well versed in the witch-hunting history of Essex, which I know pretty much nothing about. If that makes you wonder why I think that she’s well-versed in the history, it’s because I read the first chapter of another book that she’s written which is at the end of this book. It’s a completely different story, but also focuses on witches in Essex, so I’m guessing that this is a passion of hers.

That kind of passion seeps into the story and I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

The other problem that I had with this story is the unbelievable romantic entanglement that happens mid-way through. (Perhaps this part is a bit spoilerific, just in case you planned on reading the book…) I think that my problem from that stemmed from a lack of description of what the male character actually looked like. I remember him being described as being attractive, but maybe my mind tacked on ‘back in his day’ to that descriptor. So I pictured him as a craggy and thoroughly unlikable guy in his mid-sixties and all of a sudden she fancies the pants off of him. My reaction:

Which is not to say that it’s improbable that a 30-something woman would be attracted to a 60-something man. This man in particular was described in a way that I pictured him as a grumpy old git, so it totally threw me off that he turned out to be a few decades younger than I thought and that he was all of a sudden super dreamy and that they became involved with each other.

I feel like I’m really stepping in it here so I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ll just sum up by saying that this book has quite a few good points and that I was really sucked into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though there were a few things that niggled at me.

  1. I keep having the same “can’t stop reading but don’t really know why” experience especially with this kind of genre so it’s good to know I’m not alone! I’m not sure I like the idea of a constantly drunk protagonist either. I am the kind of person who drinks more than she should when she goes out but I don’t want that in a book, I feel like it could interfere in the narrative a bit too much.

    Also, why must there be a love story? If you’re grief is that fresh and you have a young son to raise and a ghost to deal with is jumping into bed with the first person who comes along really the best way to deal with these issues?! It’s something that really annoys me (in case you can’t tell)!

    • The love story was a bit annoying. It kind of made sense that they were drawn to each other because they both suffered some really bad stuff, but I don’t like it when authors do that whole ‘they hate each other but then fall in madly in love’ thing. Even if they have shared experiences.

      In the end, though, I was entertained. It was a good read but just had some annoying parts to it.

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