Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

12:06 AM

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins | Rating: ★★★★☆

“Yes, it is. It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”

Not quite the masterpiece that The Girl on the Train was, it still had that signature Paula Hawkins prose we are only just getting acquainted with. My biggest problem was neither plot or pacing--it was the insistent changing of narration that knocked my rating down just a bit. Once I grew used to it, I found the novel to be enjoyable; thrilling, thought provoking and maybe a little bit dangerous. As always, the psychological aspects of this mystery were on fire. You never know who to trust.

Paula Hawkins treats her fanbase to a story of love, loss and the damaging history of the waters in one small town. I enjoyed the elements of mystery and the questioning of deaths. The water has secrets of its own, I'm telling you. If water could talk... I'd certainly listen. Kicking things off with the mysterious element and dark history of the story at the center of things is one narrator we know only briefly--Libby. Her story is, perhaps, the darkest and most compelling. It leaves a mark on you even in the short moments we see the water through her eyes many, many years ago.

“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.”

Cut to present day--two women have lost their lives to these waters in just under a year. One, a very young school girl who appears to have committed suicide with little to no reasoning for it. As we peel back the secrets of her life; three other women's stories come front and center, time tangles itself beautifully and tragically. History. Present.

A woman who murdered her husband and drowned herself.

Two other woman who appear to have killed themselves.

Everything is entwined in various ways. More than the mystery and tragedy of these waters, the story also explores the lives of the people some of them left behind. Some characters are forced to face the pasts they'd tried so hard to outrun. Some characters have to live with guilt. Secrets are in abundance. Some will make you breathless.

Each story is connected in different ways--but it always leads back to the water. It leads back to the relationships they had or lost, the people who left willingly or unwillingly, the ones who were left behind. It is explosive. Chilling. Heart wrenching. It is literature at its finest when it comes to its soul.

Positively thrilling, Into the Water is smart, spooky and tragic. Paula Hawkins does it again exploring the complexities of human emotions, the aftermath of death and the mysteries of a small town. I adored this novel and while the ending didn't shock me, and it had its moments where it lagged, it is definitely in my top releases of 2017 and I found myself highlighting so much.

There are various trigger warnings for this novel that should be mentioned. A relationship between a student and a teacher. Obviously drowning. Rape. This won't be for everyone and, as always, please protect yourself from harmful topics. 

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