May 21, 2013

Review: Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke

After reading the premise of this debut novel, I knew I had to read it and was thrilled when I got the opportunity for a review copy. Lucy Clarke's SWIMMING AT NIGHT struck a chord with me mainly because it is a story of two sisters who are not particularly close, are complete opposites and who have some unresolved issues between them. Personally, I can relate to that.  I have a tumultuous relationship with my own sister so this book really appealed to me on that level.

About the Book:
(No Spoilers)

Katie and Mia have recently lost their mother to cancer and have subsequently moved into a flat together in London. Katie, the oldest sister thought this would be a great idea and a way for them to have a closer relationship. Mia, the free spirit, wasn't so sure, but she reluctantly agreed to the arrangement. When Mia suddenly announces that she is going on an extended around the world trip with her best friend, Finn, Katie is taken aback and she becomes very worried by Mia's strange behavior. Its as if she can't get away from Katie fast enough. Even more troubling is that she rarely hears from Mia while she's gone. Katie's world is rocked when she receives news that her sister has died in Bali. What makes this tragedy even more alarming is that the authorities in Bali believe it was a suicide. But most troubling to Katie is that Mia didn't have Bali on her itinerary. She was supposed to be in Australia.  Katie can't rest until she finds answers to some very big questions so she sets out with Mia's travel journal and re-traces her sister's steps hoping some light will be shed on her sister's mysterious final journey.

My Thoughts:

Lucy Clarke wasted no time getting into this story of family, loyalty and secrets. It starts right away with Kate getting the news of her younger sister's death and the momentum keeps going strong. I felt an instant connection with these sisters and was drawn in immediately. Having a difficult sister relationship of my own made it even more real to me. I liked the way the story was told: alternating between Katie's 'here and now' and then to Mia's own voice as she wrote in her travel journal daily, sharing her innermost thoughts and worries. It was a clever way of bringing the two stories together.

The locales of this book were terrific as well. The book starts out in London, then goes to San Francisco, then on to Hawaii, Australia and finally Bali. The settings were so vividly described and added something extra to the book. I felt like I was right there with them with the sea air blowing around me. I was completely caught up in the story.

What I really liked about this book is that it was much more than a family drama. It was also a mystery on a couple different levels. Mainly, Kate needed to find out how her sister died, and the more she discovered, the more questions were raised. Kate went through a big transition herself as she made her way through this troubling adventure. She also learned a lot about herself and those around her. I enjoyed the journey very much and thought the plotline was original and genuine, like the characters.

I'm very glad I chose to read this novel and equally happy to have been introduced to Lucy Clarke's work. I will be looking out for her books in the future. I'd like to thank Jessica Roth from Simon & Schuster for providing me with my copy of this amazing debut.

Author: Lucy Clarke
Publisher: Touchstone Publishing, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster
Published: March 2013
Length: 386 pp
Source: Publisher
Recommend? Absolutely!


  1. Family drama with a mystery sounds good to me!

  2. Terrific review ... I have the feeling I'd enjoy this book!

  3. An instant connection with the characters is a plus.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful review. This is on my TBR list.

  5. Thanks for reviewing this one!! I really believe that I would like it a lot. I don't have a sister, tried to trade my brother in for one though, but I'm sure I would still connect to these characters!


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