Personal interests often vary, and those with no knowledge or even care about those things which others see as unique and interesting, are a part of what makes each and every person individual. I do not profess to know much about swimming, nor do I understand the thoughts of those who live to swim, so I was quite surprised to find myself immersed in The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant.
The Night Swimmer tells the tale of a couple very in love, who find themselves in a place that they little imagined. Winning the ownership of a pub in a small town on the coast of Ireland, Fred and Elly Bulkington find themselves in a place full of resistance to strangers, and next to a powerful and wild North Atlantic sea. The land itself is shaped by the storms and wild waves surging into the land become a source of the belief and heartache of the natives of this wild and harsh terrain.
While Fred works at making the pub successful, Elly realizes her love of swimming and finds solace in the surging waters of Cape Clear Island. It is hear she first becomes involved in the age-old feuds and dangers of life in the remote islands of Ireland, where danger seems to lurk everywhere.
As her marriage begins to unravel, so too their idyllic lives begin to fall apart, with danger threatening from those who do not want them there. Can they get through the anger and build their life together as it is meant to be? Can they help to stop a feud riven before time and full of heartache, or will they too be lost to the dangers and harshness of the land?
Bondurant has given us a group of characters full of life and danger. The descriptions of the land pull you there and engrave the beauty as well as the danger in the storm-driven waves.
The sadness and hurt of past disasters hold the residents in sway and have a part of everything they do. Those who are not born in the wilds of this beautiful country are treated as outcast and are made to understand their place. But even the vilest of those who make life miserable for the outsiders have a story that tugs at your being. Yet not everything can be forgiven.
As hurt and anger take their toll, bodies begin to turn up, and lives are changed in an instant. Can Fred and Elly survive the onslaught of such anger and make a home for themselves in such a dangerous and hostile place or must they give up their dreams? Through all the hurt and anger, Elly’s love of swimming and the sea take her to places and bring her in contact with others in ways that are hard to imagine.
I would recommend this story for those who enjoy romance and mysteries. With just a bit of the unusual and danger at every turn you will keep on turning the pages, wanting to know where the story is headed. The danger of the coastline as well as from the people is well told and daunting, keeping you guessing as to where it will all end.
This would be a terrific book for a reading group as well as a book club. This is a story that will stay with you and one that would be great for your library.