Review

Night Swimming

by Robin Schwarz



NIGHT SWIMMING is the debut novel of Robin Schwarz, a New York City
advertising firm executive. She has plotted an unconventional story
that takes her heroine from Gorham, New Hampshire to Los Angeles,
California.

Charlotte Clapp gets a death sentence from her doctor in a routine
physical exam. Snapping, she breaks free from the shackles of a
boring existence. Charlotte abruptly quits her humdrum job at the
Gorham local bank, robbing it before she locks up for her last
night. Like a robot, she steams into action to cover her tracks,
faking her own drowning. With the final acceleration of the gas
pedal and her car's entrance into the murky river below, our
250-pound heroine makes a new start. She packs her cache into four
suitcases and heads west, with a detour to Louisiana.

There, she picks up a new name, Blossom McBeal, a poor soul whose
funeral she attends. For two weeks, she vacations in New Orleans.
She revels in the sights, smells and sounds of New Orleans, foreign
to her mundane existence in Gorham, NH. She feels alive and free
from emotional bonds to the past. But she thirsts for the one
emotion she has never felt --- romantic love.

NIGHT SWIMMING is the combination of a search for love, a flight
from the past and reconciliation with the present, enduring bumps
along life's journey. Blossom has evolved from a secure adolescent,
through an insecure young adulthood, to an unhappy adult who has
drowned her disappointments in food. She has been a caregiver to an
ill mother, foregoing personal happiness in love. She has alienated
herself from her best friend, Mary Ann. Their friendship evolves
from childhood sharing to downright animosity as adults. They
cannot share the same boy friends. Blossom loses out on all counts
in that department.

Schwarz arouses genuine sympathy from her readers. When the police
decide that our heroine's death may not be fact, we cheer that she
will not be caught. Meanwhile, she finds respite in the swimming
pool at her California apartment. Nightly, she glides through the
water, shedding pounds with each lap. Meanwhile, her heart flutters
like that of a schoolgirl when Skip, the pool man, enters the
scene.

Her carefree existence becomes muddled when the Gorham detective
arrives to confront Charlotte. She now has no resemblance to the
fat girl in his "wanted" file. NIGHT SWIMMING climaxes with loose
ends put back into the puzzle, but with a less than realistic
conclusion.

NIGHT SWIMMING can be categorized as a "girl's book" because the
plot is driven by emotion. Lovers of mystery who enjoy suspense
will be disappointed, though. Schwarz begins with a witty premise
but bogs down in a lengthy mid-section. I did, however, read on
because I needed to know the outcome. One could take it to the
beach and perhaps paddle off pounds between chapters.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 13, 2011

Night Swimming
by Robin Schwarz

  • Publication Date: June 29, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • ISBN-10: 0446532533
  • ISBN-13: 9780446532532