I have to admit, I was not the biggest fan of Hawkin’s first novel, The Girl on the Train. I found the protagonist difficult to identify with, which made it difficult to enjoy the book. I was a little apprehensive trying Into The Water but thanks to Erica from Libretto Reviews I was lucky enough to win a copy. Into The Water starts wth the death of Nel Abbott only days after calling her estranged sister Jules for help. Now Jules must return to the old Mill House to care for her orphaned niece all the while trying to find what happened to her sister, while suppressing her terrible memories of this place. See, Nel was obsessed with the town’s river and the Drowning Pool, where many women have lost their lives over the years and Jules is certain she wouldn’t have joined them willingly.
I have to say I definitely enjoyed Into The Water much more. The concept immediately drew me in: the fascination with the Drowning Pool, the stories of women past, a fresh murder, estranged sisters. There is so much going on in this story, yet not too much to confuse the reader. There are so many threads to this story that the reader finds themselves racing to see how they knit together in the end. There were many aspects of the writing that appealed to me. I love a short chapter, particularly in books that written to be fast-paced, I find it keeps me interested. I also enjoyed the changes in perception, it was a little confusing at first but then I settle into the varied perspectives nicely. Each character narrating the story slowly revealed a little more of the twisted plot slowly tightening to one complete, tragic story. In particular I enjoyed learning about the individual stories of the past women who fell victim to the drowning pool.
Each of Hawkins’ characters were fascinating in their own way. I liked the range of unique characters, men and women, children to older adults, each had something to add to the novel and in my opinion, none were excessive. I loved the way Hawkins wrote Jules’ perspective and how she related and spoke to her deceased sister, it was unique and made sense to the characters and their relationship. The only slight let-down with this story for me was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, the twists and turns and the actual conclusion was great – I had no issues there. Somehow I just lost the pacing and the urgency in the last part. Perhaps the ending was little too protracted for my liking? I’m not quite sure but I found the first half of the book more of a page-turner for me. Overall, I would recommend Into The Water and found it an enjoyable read. I give Into The Water three books, an important part of this story, whether it be Nel’s manuscript or a young Jules reading The Secret History.