REVIEW: INTO THE WATER, BY PAULA HAWKINS

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
 
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
 
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
 
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

My Thoughts: After the body of Nel Abbott is found in the water, the police conclude that she jumped. But her sister Jules and her daughter Lena, a troubled teen, are not convinced.A short time before her mother’s death, Lena’s best friend Katie had died, also in the river, and Lena is keeping a big secret about the events leading up to Katie’s death. Lena and Katie’s brother Josh are holding what they know close, pretending ignorance.

Because of the history of the Drowning Pool, with suicides ending up there, and then, as Patrick Townsend had been known to say, the river took care of “troublesome women,” some of the women in the English village of Beckford are starting to speculate. Like Jules. And like the psychic Nicki. What stories are the women telling Nel, who is writing a book about the history of the river? Her focus is on how the women are punished, even though the men were also behaving badly.

Years before, Patrick Townsend’s wife Lauren, the mother of Sean, a police officer, died in that river. What had happened? Had she been troublesome? Why does Sean blank out suddenly, and why does he tug at his arm, where someone cut him at some point? What memories are he suppressing?

What really happened between the teacher, Mark Henderson, and Katie? What does Lena know?

Into the Water was a convoluted tale with many red herrings, too many characters, and a lot of confusing elements. At the very end, in the last lines, we finally realize what must have happened to at least one of the dead women. But was there more to the story? I could have enjoyed the story more if it had fewer narrators, but the themes of crime and punishment did keep me intrigued. 4 stars.

***
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19 thoughts on “REVIEW: INTO THE WATER, BY PAULA HAWKINS

  1. Pingback: HUMP DAY SPARKS: ENGAGING READS… | SNOW SPARKS

  2. Honestly, I can’t wait to read this. I loved The Girl on the Train! It’s so disappointing to hear that so many got frustrated with it. LIke you, I enjoy the crime/punishment themes and lots of twists and turns make it that much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been thinking about reading this but think I’ll pass after reading your thoughts. I wouldn’t mind multiple narrators, but can’t handle books with a lot of characters. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the book more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have some other reviews that mentioned ‘too many narrators’. Good to hear that Trish says the audio is well done. Might try it that way. You know, when I first read THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, I was not happy with it at all. I was so frustrated with the self-destructive attitude of the main character. However, as time passed, I liked it more when I thought back on it. I decided that she reminded me at times of my sister, who was quite self-destructive and made so many bad choices. I’ll keep an open mind about this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kay, and once we got past the opening chapters, and the characters were showing up with more depth, I found myself more relaxed in the story.

      I couldn’t hack the audio, as that would be even more confusing for me. But whatever works!

      Like

  5. I’m trying not to read what you’ve written, as I’m writing my book review for this, too (and don’t like to be accidentally influenced – hard when the reviews of this book are everywhere! LOL) But looking at your last comment, I think I feel the same as you! Once I adjusted to how it was written, I got really into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY…. | AN INTERIOR JOURNEY

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