Welcome to another Book by Book reading challenge review. For June, we were tasked with finding a great summer read. In my mind, that would probably be something light and fun and not too deep. Somehow, the book I read for this prompt was none of the above. But it was so good. And I think being a great read probably trumps being light and fun.
When we were together for our trip to Cleveland Clinic, my daughter Lauren had just finished reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. We had both read and enjoyed The Girl On the Train by the same author, which I just happened to have reviewed right here. Lauren and I tend to like similar books so when she shared a little synopsis of this book, I was sold.
Into The Water
The Fine Print
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Edition edition (May 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735211205
- ISBN-13: 978-0735211209
- Amazon average customer review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
- Goodread’s average customer review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
“Hawkins returns to the rotating-narration style of her breakout debut, giving voice to an even broader cast this time… Order by the ton.” —Booklist, starred review
“Thrilling… we [are] kept guessing until the sobering conclusion.” —O Magazine
“[A] succulent new mystery… Hawkins, influenced by Hitchcock, has a cinematic eye and an ear for eerie, evocative language… So do dive in. The payoff is a socko ending. And a noirish beach read that might make you think twice about dipping a toe in those dark, chilly waters.”—USA Today
In the last days before her death, Nel 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. [source]
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 book haunted me. From the start, I was lured into the murky depths of Into the Water. Probably because it opens with a scene that is hard to read, or in my case listen to. The setting is a drowning pool in England hundreds of years ago. Members of a community have gathered to determine the innocence or guilt of an accused witch. From there the story follows several present day families whose lives have always been entwined as happens with neighbors in small towns. But the Drowning Pool draws them all closer together. Or perhaps it drives them apart?
Paula Hawkins uses words like an artist uses brush strokes to breathe life into the characters and to transport the reader into the English village where the story is set. On the Audible edition, narrator Laura Aikman uses her voice to make the characters even more real. The combination of Hawkins’ words and Aikman’s voices is spell binding, or was for me. So much so, that I thought a lot about the characters. At night, images of this black pool darkened my dreams.
In preparing this review, I discovered a number of one star reviews on Amazon. Enough that had I read those reviews first, I probably would not have taken a chance on Into the Water. The most common complaint concerns the number of characters. And there are so many that it is hard to say this is the story of Nel, or Julia, or even Leena. But I think that is because their stories are woven together so well. You can’t pluck out one strand, one character without the story unraveling all together.
When I worked as a librarian, the books about the Salem witch trials in 100s area of my nonfiction section were rarely touched. But as a young girl living in New England, I was interested and simultaneously appalled to learn about them. Maybe that is another reason this story spoke to me. Often times history is more horrific than fiction.
So, thank you, my darling Lauren, for recommending this book to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it each morning as I took my 20 minute walk and each evening (maybe not the best time to have read this) before bed.
Have you read The Girl on the Train or seen the movie? I would venture to bet – ha, I was going to say I venture to bet that this book will be made into a movie, too. And Google confirms that by golly, I’m right. No release date that I can find but I can’t wait. Probably fair to say you have time to read or, better yet, listen to the book before the movie debuts. And to make that happens for one lucky reader, I think I will throw a book giveaway. To enter click below. And be sure to bookmark the reader’s guide, here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Looking for a reading challenge to join the second half of the year? Take a look at the prompts for Book by Book to see if they inspire you.
My little virtual book club will be selecting its third read of the summer in a few days. We are still reading Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (some more slowly than others…takes me forever). And we all enjoyed our first book The Wife Between Us by writing duo: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, which is also due to be released at the cine. Have a look.
Would love to have you join our little virtual book club. Please holler if you are interested! And if you hurry, you can help choose our next read!
Have a restful, sparkly 4th of July, U.S. friends. Hope you will make time to stop back by again soon. Love having you visit.
Hugs and kisses,