Writer: Paula Hawkins
Blurb: Just days before her sister plunged to her death, Jules ignored her call. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules must return to her sister’s house to care for her daughter, and to face the mystery of Nel’s death. But Jules is afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of this small town that is drowning in secrecy . . . And of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.
Firstly, I will save the suspense and answer your call; ‘no’, it’s not as good as Girl on the Train. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic book in its own right. Keeping Paula Hawkins’s style of short chapters from different characters’ points of view, you’ll find your self on the final chapter without even realising it.
Into the Water is a compelling and moody ‘who done it’ tale about the most recent death at a particular spot in a river known as the ‘drowning pool’ within the town of Beckford. The drowning pool is where suspected witches were drowned years ago, but the haunting tales and myths of the area are oppressive and obsessed upon by many.
“Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.”
Beckford is where many residence are said to be descendants of witches, and the river is as much a character as anyone. It courses like veins through the town, connecting all the characters as it weaves itself through their lives.
“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.”
We follow the story of Jules mostly, whose dark childhood of growing up by the river is reflected upon. She has had to return to the town because her estranged sister, Nel, is dead. Nel was researching and writing about the drownings in the river until she became the most recent victim. Was she murdered? Did she commit suicide like all the women she wrote about? Or was it something even more mysterious?
“You were never the princess, you were never the passive beauty waiting for a prince, you were something else. You sided with darkness, with the wicked stepmother, the bad fairy, the witch.”
This was a page turner in the same fashion that Girl on the Train was, with the same gritty, dark and moody themes. But unfortunately, like a Scooby Doo cartoon, the fear surrounding the almost supernatural river that claims lives in a trance-like way is soon unmasked to show nothing more than a body of water surrounded by superstition.
Into The Water is less about witches and curses and unexplained deaths, and more about female victims becoming strong, and male villains getting their just deserts. Which, was disappointing for me.
“No one liked to think about the fact that the water in that river was infected with the blood and bile of persecuted women, unhappy women; they drank it every day.”
Nevertheless, there are a couple of twists in there, with one twist being the final line on the final page. (So don’t rush through the ending.)
If you enjoyed Girl on the Train, I still think Into the Water is worth a read. I praise Hawkins’s style of writing, which makes for addictive reading. It’s absolutely brilliant.
Jodie’s rating: 6/10