The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances... What makes this novel shine are its revelations about the dark side of Southern society and Thalia and Laurel's finely honed relationship, which shows just how much thicker blood is than water.
Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the very literal family skeleton stays buried or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neat and on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 14-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.
The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.
Select Reviews for The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
"A ghost story, family psychodrama, and murder mystery all in one. Jackson's latest is a wild, smartly calibrated achievement. A-."
"...spellbinding southern-gothic tale...."
- Family Circle
"...a great tale. It's a southern mystery filled with troubled characters and a whodunit crime. The story builds to an exciting and violent ending, one that surprises yet seems to fit. Following the twists in the odd, sultry story is not unlike traveling a hot, dusty lane down in Florida, where colorful characters and unexpected behavior become the norm."
"Bottom line: The ghosts of suburban life, a breakthrough novel for the Powder Springs author. Best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson's third novel...is a buoyant and moving examination of the power of the supernatural to reveal meaningful truths behind hidden family secrets....beautifully balanced between magical and realist fiction and is closer in tone and voice to Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" or Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe trilogy."
- Atlanta Journal Constitution