Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
★ ★ Not for me, but I might recommend this to someone else.
The story was anti-climactic, but the setting, a twisty river with a tendency to lure victims into its depths, either by choice or witch trial, was a redeeming element.
There’s nothing too odd about the river that runs through the small British town, Beckford, except that bodies keep turning up. In fact, the river has a long history of deaths. The most recent victim, Nel, was a single mother with a teenage daughter, who is now being looked after by her mysterious and estranged aunt, who swore she would never return to Beckford. Full of mysteries, everyone is wondering the same thing. Did Nel go into the water on purpose or was she murdered?
If I’d read Into the Water, before The Girl on the Train it’s possible my rating would be higher, but unfortunately, in comparison, this one felt a little sluggish and hard to connect with. Actually, I tried to read this once before but just couldn’t get into it. I made it through this time, but it was mainly in hopes of a more satisfying ending.
There are too many characters and too many storylines, none of which really resonated. The writing is well done and it felt to me like the plot could’ve been successful if there weren’t so many distractions and sub-plots. The complex nature and unreliability of memory could’ve made this a successful suspense novel, but, overall, it was too scattered and felt overwhelming. I spent more time trudging through the different perspectives than trying to solve the mystery.
A few favorite quotes: “She had never realized before her life was torn apart how awkward grief was, how inconvenient for everyone with whom the mourner came into contact. At first, it was acknowledged and respected and deferred to. But after a while, it got in the way—of conversation, of laughter, of normal life.”
“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.”
― Paula Hawkins, Into the Water
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