Into the Water is the new thriller from Paula Hawkins, author of the phenomenal The Girl on the Train. This was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2017 and I read through it in two days. So, was it worth the hype?
From the blurb:
‘Julia, it’s me. I need you to call me back. Please, Julia. It’s important…’
In the last days before her death, Nel Abbott called her sister.Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.
Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.
But Jules is afraid.So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.
And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool…
Jules Abbott always had a difficult relationship with her sister; when she was young, unpopular and overweight, Nel seemed mature, glamorous and far away from her embarrassing younger sister. Young Jules had some very bad experiences and blamed her sister for what happened to her in the small village of Beckford.
When Jules gets the call about her sister’s death they haven’t spoken in years, although Nel never stopped reaching out to her sister. Still, Jules knows that Nel would never have killed herself, especially not the way they’re saying she did…
As Jules moves back to the village to look after her estranged sister’s difficult teenage daughter Lena, and help with the police investigation, she sense that there is something not quite right underneath the pleasant small town atmosphere.
A number of locals were unhappy about the book Nel was publishing on the Drowning Pool, an infanous site where women were tested for witchcraft in the 17th Century, and the place where a few months ago 15 year old Katie Whittaker killed herself. People made threats towards Nel, including Katie’s mum. Did Nel kill herself, was it an accident, or was she murdered?
This book was okay. It wasn’t brilliant, it wasn’t terrible, it was just okay. The writing style in this book was very different to The Girl on the Train, almost impersonal. I also felt that there were waaaay too many character points of view. By page 30 I had counted sections from 7 – 7!- different perspectives. It was very complicated and confusing, it didn’t feel like you got a chance to really know any of the characters, and I didn’t know if the book was trying to be a crime thriller or a supernatural drama.
For me, the parts about spirits, seances and witches added nothing to the plot, and just added to the confusion. It would have been much better to stick to the voices of Nel, Jules and her daughter Lena, and explore how the deaths of the people close to them had impacted on their relationships.
I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads. It was a bit of a disappointment. If you are interested in a spooky book about witches and ghosts the Drowning Pool by Syd Moore is very good.
Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments below.