"The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. 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"--
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Into the Water (ITW going forward) by Paula Hawkins is a book about two women who have drowned in…the Drowning Pool. It is here, legend holds, that witches were drowned and countless women have committed suicide.
Early in ITW,
Danielle ‘Nel’ Abbot (deceased) – via a manuscript of her unpublished book
Jules Abbot – sister to Nel Abbot (also called Julia often/confusingly)
Lena Abbot – daughter of Nel Abbot
Mark Henderson – teacher
Erin Morgan – inspector
Nickie Sage – charleton or medium
Helen Townsend – wife of Sean
Patrick Townsend – father of Sean
Sean Townsend – inspector
Josh Whittaker – brother to Katie
Louise Whittaker – mother of Katie
Lauren, Libby and Katie (deceased) – drowned women
(Feel free to print this list and use it while reading the book. It may be the only way you can remember everyone and how they relate to the story. I found myself looking back to earlier chapters to figure out who was speaking well into the middle of the book. While compiling the above list, I had to refer back to the book to figure out the cast and how they related to each other – even after finishing the book!)
Hawkins would have better served her characters, and her readers, had she focused solely on Jules’ and Lena’s viewpoints and Nel Abbot’s manuscript.
Having just finished reading, I can tell you that I am truly, deeply disappointed with this ending. The only real twist in ITW was related to the reason behind the two sister’s bitter, long-lasting feud. After this first startling reveal, I expected sweeping revelation after sweeping revelation to close out the novel. Unfortunately, I was only to be let down by the resolution of the rest of the story lines – and no remaining shocks, surprises, or twists to hold my attention to the end.
What long-submerged secrets does the
Despite the descriptive writing, especially in the depiction of the town, the large cast of unlikable characters hampers the telling of the tale and by the time the plodding plot reaches its final reveal, readers may no longer care about it.
I did finish the book with the hope that I would become vested or connected to the characters. I simply felt a sense of accomplishment and completion when it was done. I was not interest in reading more when the book was finished. As a reader, wanting a story line of the book to continue or having learning something new, or looking forward to reading another book by the same author are usually present when I have enjoyed or appreciated a book. None of these were a reaction to Hawkins' book.
Fear of the water, the river and drowning pool or just going "into the water" kept resurfacing but not with any sense of terror or suspense. I give this book 3 stars.
Ok as a quick read, but not gonna win any awards in my opinion.
This is quite a complex story involving many characters. The book goes back to 1679 during the Witchfinder Trials, where women suspected of being witches are thrown with bound hands into the water with the idea if they floated, they could be declared witches. But if they drowned, oh well, guess they weren’t witches after all. Legend has it that The Drowning Pool is haunted by one of these girls.
The author jumps back and forth between the story of the girl drowned for being suspected of witchhood to the present story of Nel’s drowning, the recent story of Katie’s drowning and also a woman who had died a couple of decades ago. I thought the author did a very good job of creating an eerie, haunting atmosphere and I enjoyed that part of the book. However, I never really got too involved in the mysteries of these drownings and felt the red herrings went into too many directions and became confusing. There were an overabundance of statements such as “after what I did” or “how can I bear this guilt”, which of course left you hanging not knowing what they did. But I can’t say that I ever really cared what they did or didn’t do or who did what to whom. Though I did enjoy parts of this book. I think it just went in too many directions.
It’s quite a different book from “The Girl on the Train”. It had great potential of being a good psychological character study but I can’t help but feel that the author was trying too hard. The stress of writing a follow up to her immensely popular first book must have been quite intense. Here’s hoping that her next one will pull together better as there’s no doubt that she’s a talented author.
* Why does Jules hate her sister Nel?
* Did Nel commit suicide or was she murdered?
* Are Nickie’s accounts of murder reliable or is she just a nut?
* Why did
* Are Nel’s stories of all the women throughout history who have jumped or been thrown into the river fact or fiction?
* Why does Patrick maintain the cottage by the river? What went on at this site?
* What is Lena hiding that might give more insight to the reason Katie would commit suicide?
* Why does Helen have Nel’s bracelet? Does this mean she murdered Nel?
* And why has the river that runs through Beckford been the scene of the suicides or murders of so many women there? Why is it alluring?
These are only some of the mysteries going on in this book.
This complexity is good. But don’t expect INTO THE WATER to be like Paula Hawkins’ other novel, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. They’re not alike at all. That is not only in storyline. While I criticized THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, I also admitted that it is unputdownable at times. INTO THE WATER isn’t, ever.
Partly that is because most chapters of INTO THE WATER are first-person, some third-person, accounts, each by one of the characters in the story. While the book thus moves along, you may find, as I did, that this becomes an exercise in memorization. There are so many characters, each with his or her own viewpoint and mysteries, that I spent most of the book trying to keep them all straight and remember who did and said what. Many times I had to page back to previous chapters to remind myself.
INTO THE WATER is a good try. But, probably, readers who liked THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN will be disappointed in INTO THE WATER
Jules is returning to her hometown, not because she ever wanted to see the place again, but because her sister has died and her fifteen year old daughter Lena is alone. Nel
"Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women."
Into the Water is told from many, many different voices - there are actually 14 different points of view, which I admit I did find a bit confusing in the beginning, until I sorted them all out in my head. There are lots of unreliable narrators to choose from! The narrative also switches from present to past for the key players. We slowly find out what has happened in the past that may, no - does, have an impact on the present.
There are many secrets in this village as well. The reader slowly becomes privy to them as they are revealed by the salient characters. The choices for those with a reason to kill Nel are many. But why the teenager? There is a character included who claims she is a psychic and more. Her inclusion had me wondering if there would be a mythical element to the current day deaths. There are other mentions of smells and glimpses of someone there, but not, that added to that ethereal feeling.
"Some say the women left something of themselves in the water, some say it retains some of their power, for ever since then it has drawn to its shores the unlucky, the desperate, the unhappy, the lost. they come here to swim with their sisters.
I found I was not as drawn to lead character Jules as much as I was to some of the supporting players. She is emotionally wounded from her childhood in Beckford, but despite her past, I found it hard to connect with her. (There are many wounded souls in this village.) I did find myself quite drawn to Lena and old Nicky, the psychic. The water is a key character in the book as well - water imagery flows throughout the book.
...they never saw what the water really was, greenish-black and filled with living things and dying things."
The path to the final whodunit is clever. With so many characters with reason and motivation to kill, it's impossible to determine who the final whodunit might be. And I'm happy to say I was wrong - Hawkins includes a nice little twist at the end that negated my guess.
For this reader, Into the Water didn't quite reach the same level of suspense as The Girl on the Train, but I still found it to be a page-turning read, as I could not predict where the story was going to go. It's slower paced, but no less addicting. Add this one to your summer reading list.
So was it any good?
Yes and no. There were several story arcs going on in this novel which was alright and easy to follow. I’d rather enjoyed reading most of them. I
In the beginning of the novel, I found it a little hard to follow at first. Each chapter is told in the point of view of another character and rotates all throughout the story. So you have to be aware of who’s who early in the story. There’s also flashbacks involved (those aren’t hard to follow though.)
I’d have to say, the character I enjoyed reading the most was Lena because of her fiery personality and her attitude (typical teenage angst but it was well done.) The rest of the characters were all right to read but don’t really produce enough of a presence to make such a huge impact on the book. Patrick, Mark, and Sean make your teeth grind though. The three of them being odious spineless bastages who need to get their due. Unfortunately...well...one of them gets their due. (Won’t spoil it any further.)
Plot wise, it’s a subtle slow moving mystery. The reader is kept guessing and although it may seem obvious as to who has done it, there’s more to just a whodunit. There’s a reasoning behind the deed that has taken place. There were few elements of some sort of supernatural characteristics in the plot but it’s nothing to be in awe about and it doesn’t really put any depth into the story or make the plot go further. It could be considered as just to fill in the blanks into the novel. Which I wasn’t too crazy about.
I ended up finishing it because it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best I’ve read either. Would I recommend it? Not really. Worth the read? It’s all right. Some people may like this type of story some might not. (It has a feeling of a TV movie to it, in my opinion.)
From The Book:
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
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.
This one was so much better than [The Girl on The Train]. The characters here were real and their emotions grabbed you from the pages of the book. You could liked them...you could grieved with them or rejoice with them...you actually wanted to get to know them better. The only down side that I saw was that it wasn't an easy book to read because of the sheer number of those same likable characters that sometimes spoke in the present and sometimes in the past and some just added their opinions leaving the reader to try to figure out who was talking and did it pertain to the past or present.
While Into the Water did captivate my attention sufficiently to finish the book, I must admit that it suffered from several flaws: too many characters, too many shifts in time that were difficult to follow, and a lack of a consistent message or
Though four different narrators were used, I also found distinguishing between all but one of them difficult. Moreover, the one I could identify, suffered from an overly breathy delivery or audible breathing.
Nonetheless I did enjoy sleuthing who the villain(s) were. Moreover, this is a book that I found that left me in contemplation mode constantly trying to discern the angle or moral of the author's purpose for telling this story. In the end, I decided that perhaps the lack of direction may have been intentional--in order to allow the reader or listener to come to their own conclusions. This book therefore is certainly a good one for a book club discussion as it provides many different perspectives and possibilities that provide good fodder for discussion.
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.
Into the Water seems to me a better novel than Girl. The only flaw was a confusing number of characters which took me quite a while to sort out with the help of several family trees. Once I had a clear picture of them—at about page 60 and yes, I did violate my rule of 50—the state of affairs became clear. She also provided a handy set of epilogues for the surviving main characters.
As the story begins, Nell Abbot, a single-mother has drowned in a river a short time after a teenager has done the same. Nell leaves behind her teenage daughter in the care of her sister, Julia “Jules” Abbott. A popular teen, Katie Whitaker preceded Nell in the river. The twists and turns had me guessing all the way to the end. A discerning reader needs to get a handle on the list of suspects as early as possible. Think three or four family trees.
Each chapter shares thoughts and ideas with the reader. In this instance, Jules, Nell’s Sister, thinks about her own death. Hawkins writes, “I pulled over to the side of the road and turned off the engine. I looked up. There were the trees and the stone steps, green with moss and treacherous after the rain. My entire body goosefleshed. I remembered this: freezing rain beating the tarmac, flashing blue lights vying with lightening to illuminate the river and the sky, clouds of breath in front of panicked faces, and a little boy, ghost-white and shaking, led up the steps to the road by a policewoman. She was clutching his hand and her eyes were wide and wild, her head twisting this way and that as she called out to someone. I can still feel what it felt like that night, the terror and the fascination. I can still hear your words in my head: What would it be like? Can you imagine? To watch your mother die?”
Another interesting character is Nickie. Some see her as a nuisance, the children as a witch. Hawkins writes, “Nickie had a flat above the grocery shop, just one room really, with a galley kitchen and a bathroom so tiny it barely warranted the name. Not much to speak of, not much to show for a whole life, but she had a comfortable armchair by the window that looked out on the town, and that’s where she sat and ate even slept sometimes, because she hardly slept at all these days, so there didn’t seem much point in going to bed: 16).
One good thing about some English mysteries is the lack of guns and shooting. I quickly found myself trying to untie some of those knots with nothing but the same clues, rumors, and innuendo the police and the family. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins has about as much suspense as anyone could hope for. 5 stars.
When the story begins, a young girl is being immersed into “the drowning pool” in order to discover if she is a witch. If she floats, she is one; but if she sinks she is
The Abbott sisters, Julia and Danielle had been estranged for years because of an incident that occurred in their teens. When one suddenly drowns, the events surrounding her death grow more and more curious. At first, it was believed that while investigating the area, Nell (Danielle) slipped and fell into the water accidentally. She had been conducting research for a book she was planning to publish on the town’s unusual history of drowning deaths and had been at the site of the “drowning pool”. When her sister, Jules, (Julia) returned to become the guardian of her daughter, Lena, the situation became fraught with tension. Lena was defiant; she disliked her aunt immensely based of stories her mom had told her. Aunt Jules was still resentful and angry with her sister, because of how Nell had treated her when they were young. She believed Nell had a mean streak. Jules had been overweight and unattractive. Nell had been a beauty who made fun of her sister. She thought Nell was cruel and designing, and as the investigation into her death began, it became enmeshed in tangential theories which created disharmony in the community and conflict in families. The community wanted their secrets kept.
There were a great many characters to sift through as the mystery developed, but each chapter in the book is labeled with the name of a character so that it was relatively easy to sort them out and follow the thread of the story as it proceeded or to refresh one’s memory about the circumstances surrounding each character’s place in the novel. There was a feeling that evil was lurking behind closed doors, and there was definitely an overlay that hinted at elements of the supernatural as some characters appeared to be communicating with the dead who provided them with clues about the unnatural circumstances surrounding some of the deaths.
What started out as a simple investigation into the death of Nell Abbott, surrounded by a bit of controversy since her project was widely resented by the residents of the community who did not want the drowning pool’s history published or used for personal gain, soon evolved into a mystery concerning other deaths and affairs of the heart.
Many of the characters harbored deep resentments toward each other, and many seemed to be hiding secrets or were withholding information. Because of the existing biases toward some of the townspeople, clues were misinterpreted and false assumptions were made pointing fingers in all different directions, accusing some of crimes they did not commit and misdirecting those involved, preventing them from discovering the truth. The misinterpretation of events created chaos.
In the end, there were two connected crimes that were revealed. Both were related peripherally, but they were separated by more than four decades. In the end, the loyalty and devotion of parents and children was examined and the lengths to which a parent would go to protect an offspring was exposed.
The narrators were wonderful, creating mind images so that the story played out like theater in the mind. I do have a preference for narrators with British accents, as I find that the Brits seem to portray the characters very well without getting in the way by putting too much of themselves into the story. I have both the audio and a digital copy, without which, I would have been a bit lost because of the different themes and numerous characters introduced. Although I loved the audio, I recommend the print copy for that reason. It is simply easier to refer back to a print copy.