Night Swimming, by Laura Moore

>> Monday, January 26, 2004

I've been trying a lot of new authors this new year... new to me, that is. The latest was Laura Moore. I read her book Night Swimming (excerpt).

Lily Banyon and Sean McDermott have known each other since the cradle. Their mothers are best friends, as are their grandmothers. Growing up, Sean and Lily tormented each other -- sometimes deliberately, sometimes unwittingly -- and challenged each other, but although neither would have admitted it, they also admired and respected one another. And both of them secretly yearned for the other's love. Lily left Coral Beach ten years ago to go to college, and she has never been back . . . until now. . .

Although their work doesn't bring them into frequent contact with each other, their grandmothers do. Both Lily and Sean are dismayed to discover that the attraction between them has not faded over time; if anything, it's even more intense now. But neither one is willing to give an inch because both are certain that with the other on the scene things will soon go to hell in a hand basket. Can these two old adversaries possibly work together for the sake of their hometown?
I think I liked it more than I should have. A B+.

The main reason I say maybe I shouldn't have enjoyed this, is that something I liked very much, which was Lily and Sean's relationship, was more than a little juvenile. Very much like pulling someone's hair because you like them, that's the level of maturity I'm talking about. This was especially so in the flashbacks to their teen years, and I loved reading those flashbacks... LOL, what does this say about me? There was something about all those hormones rioting that made it fun to read.

I must say, though, that their reactions to each other when they finally met in the present seemed a little overblown for adults who meet 10 years after they had an adversarial relationship as children and teens. I'd expect some prejudice, but not outright hostility! And then the dynamics of their relationship become juvenile, too. Guilty pleasure, all the way, especially reading about how Sean is feeling. Lots and lots of internal lusting, while thinking that it's impossible, because Lily hates him. God, that sexual tension was scorchingly good!

And that was the most enjoyable element in the book. The plot itself could have been very interesting, but the author used too heavy a hand. I'm very much a tree-hugging liberal, but this doesn't mean I don't prefer a little subtlety, even in my conservative, low-life developer villains. I actually started laughing at one point when there was this scene from the POV of the villain and he started to think about how those trees in the marina were boring, and a nice cement structure would be much better.

And then there was John, the member of Lily's team who allows himself to be corrupted to undermine the project. I just didn't get why he hadn't been fired months before. He didn't work particularly well, so his stunt with Lily should have got him fired in a minute.

Apart from those, the rest of the cast of characters were well drawn (John was well-drawn, too, actually. His continued employment was just unrealistic). There were a couple I was supposed to like that I detested, though, namely those matchmaking grannies -ugh! They were not cute, they were manipulative creeps, and if a grannie of mine ever called my boss to ask him to send me to a certain project, because she wanted to set me up with this guy she thought would be perfect for me, I'd kill her and hide the body.

Quite a few problems, but the interesting plot, involving relationship, excellent writing and beautifully done setting made up for them.


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