The Elthamread is an initiative which aims to encourage everyone in Eltham to read the same book in October then come together to discuss it at various events. The idea is inspired by Cityread London which encourages all Londoners to read the same book every April. Author Wendy Moore, who lives in Eltham, first floated the idea of an Elthamread in SEnine Magazine in May. The idea is now a reality. The Elthamread is supported by Eltham Library, SEnine magazine, Eltham MP Clive Efford, local book groups and local businesses.


The Elthamread Book

The book chosen for the Elthamread 2016 is The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish. Set in an imaginary suburb of south London, called Elm Hill, the story centres on a lido which has re-opened after 20 years. The story is told through the eyes of Natalie Steele, a teacher, who is drawn into the mesmerising web of a former actress called Lara Channing, with devastating consequences for her and her family.

The Swimming Pool is a tense and disturbing story with flashes of warmth and humour which should appeal to many readers. It was chosen partly for the Elthamread because it is based in south London but also because the lido setting will trigger memories for many Eltham residents of the lido in Eltham Park which closed more than 20 years ago – never to reopen.

If you are new to group reading, then you might like to check out some useful discussion questions relating to The Swimming Pool. They may help you look more closely at the underlying plots.

So what are you waiting for? Dive in!

More about Elthamread book - The Swimming Pool

It's summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - wife, mother, teacher - it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

Click here to read the extract.

About the Author:

Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Sudden Departure of The Frasers (2015) and The Swimming Pool (2016), both published by Penguin. The Intruder at Number 40 (2016) is a short story featuring characters from The Sudden Departure of The Frasers.

Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly. Follow her on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at

louise candlish swimming pool author

Clive Efford, MP says:

Clive-Efford-MP-400“I am delighted to support the Elthamread and looking forward to reading The Swimming Pool. I hope the project gets as many people in Eltham reading the book as possible and talking about the ideas.”

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