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.
‘Into The Water’ is the second book by Paula Hawkins and if you’re expecting another voyeuristic tale about a woman on a train, then you’re in for a surprise, even though the book is about a female protagonist set against a bleak atmosphere with a bewitching plot line, that is where the similarities end.
In book, we meet Julia who returns home after receiving word that her sister, Nel was found dead in a notorious suicide spot. But Jules is convinced, that even though her sister was quite troubled and had a weird fascination with suicide and water, that she wouldn’t kill herself. But, it’s not only Jules who is thinking this, police officers and residents of the town are also wondering what happened at the infamous spot and is there indeed something in the water that making women take their lives.
The story is seen though many narratives, from Jules coming to terms with the death of her estranged sister and the police investigating the case but there is also the inclusion of residents of the town, who also question Nel’s death. There is also a sub story that prior to Nel’s death, a teenage girl called Katie took her life in a similar fashion, the mother’s perspective is included as she struggles to deal with Katie’s death and as the story progresses and delves deeper into past and present narratives that we discover that there was a lot more going on in the two women’s lives, a lot more than the reader is led to believe.
I loved ’The Girl On The Train’ and would even regard it as one of my favourite books, so when I received ‘Into The Water’ I approached it with an open mind and that it was not going to be a sequel to the bestseller and I was right.
The story starts cleverly right at the moment that Jules receives word that her sister is dead and from that point on, the story flows at a fast pace that immediately hooks the reader in. We don’t really meet Nel, we only see her through flashbacks with Jules and she seems quite an unlikeable character, she was popular in school whilst Jules was chubby and naive which Nel seemed to take advantage off. I didn’t really feel much sympathy for Nel, as Jules had painted her in quite a poor light, but as the story flows, we see a different side to her, that I did feel some empathy, as she was quite a troubled and misunderstood woman. Whereas Jules, is a bit of loner, having not really fully recovered from an incident from her childhood.
The many perspectives of the plot line makes for exciting and compelling reading, filled with desperate and helpless characters and set against the bleak background of a dark and troubled town, this moody thriller injected with magic made for unexpectedly gripping reading. Beautifully and descriptively written, with short chapters that made the book impossible to put down, ‘Into The Water’ is a haunting and disturbing tale that is completely different to Paula’s debut and a book I would highly recommend.
You can buy Into the Water from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.