Night Swimming

Author: Robin Schwarz

Publisher: Warner Books

Release Date: June 2004

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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For quiet, overweight, unassuming Charlotte Clapp, life can be summed up by a single phrase - "some men die with their music still in them." All of her life, she's lived in a small town where the only thing more stifling that its inhabitants are her own thoughts. But, when she gets the news from her doctor that she's dying, and has only a year to live, letting the music inside of her out has never seemed more important.

So, she robs a bank. Yes, a bank-the very same bank that she's worked at for the past fifteen years. After all, she's dying, and if she wants to realize her dreams - which include going to Hollywood, California, meeting Tom Selleck, singing karaoke, riding in a hot-air balloon, and finding a man to love who will love her in return - she's going to need money. Lots of money. Money in the form of two million dollars in small bills, to be exact, which just happens to be sitting in the bank in small town Gorham, Massachusetts.


And so begins Charlotte's transformation; first into the life of Blossom McBeal, a woman who unconsciously strips off over a hundred pounds of comforting body fat, meets a widow who throws parties for her dogs, and falls head-fast into lust with the pool boy. And as the people of Gorham believe that Charlotte has committed suicide over the news of her impending death, Blossom comes to terms with who she is. She's a woman who has so much to give, and so much to give up-anger, resentment, and, above all, she must hand out forgiveness to everyone who has hurt her, and must also forgive herself.


As Gorham's Police Chief begins to suspect that quiet Charlotte, all two-hundred and fifty-three pounds of her, may have been behind the bank heist, opinions in town flow fast and free. It seems that Charlotte was much loved, more so than she ever knew. But out in Hollywood, Blossom is learning to live again-through nightly swims in the pool at her apartment complex.


NIGHT SWIMMING is a wonderful, wonderful book, a mixture of women's fiction, mystery, adventure, and romance. Ms. Schwarz perfectly blends the story into a book that you won't be able to put down. Charlotte is me -she's you - she's every woman whose ever had dreams that have been put on hold, stuffed into the back of an old drawer. She's the woman we wish we could be-brave, spontaneous, forgiving, loving. Charlotte is Blossom, who is Lila, who is all of us.


As Chief Makley closes in, as her friendship with her neighbor Dolly comforts her in her sadness, as her relationship with lawyer-turned-pool boy Skip turns to love, the message of NIGHT SWIMMING is clear-no regrets. Live your life to the fullest. And no matter what, you cannot be allowed to die with your music still inside of you.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Jennifer Wardrip

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