Do you ever finish a really good book and walk around for a few days basking in the ambiance of the writing, wishing there was more to read? I am feeling that right now thanks to Paula Hawkins and her newest novel entitled Into The Water.
Hi readers! I am back after a much needed mental hiatus. My most recent post, A Writer’s Block, discussed my most recent writer’s burn out. I’ve talked about how to avoid writer’s burn out here, but I failed to take my own advice and ended up with a most unpleasant month of frustration.
In this case, I found that the best way to get out of that funk was to read a really good book. Luckily, Paula Hawkins never disappoints. I read her first novel, The Girl On The Train, in January of this year and loved it. I couldn’t put it down! So when my sister let me borrow Into the Water, her newest release, I jumped at the opportunity to read it.
Let me start by summarizing the book.
Into The Water | A Review
If you are new to Paula Hawkins as an author, she is known for her intricately woven plots and characters. Into the Water explores the supposed suicide of a woman, Nel, through her daughter’s, sister’s, and communities’ perspectives.
The book takes place in a river town, which was perfect for me because I was currently vacationing at a lake house when I read the book. My surroundings fit the story so well. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much. I could smell the water and was surrounded by the same grey atmosphere as Hawkins describes in her book.
The plot eludes to some deeper mystery by drawing correlations to an old story about how they used to drown witches in The Drowning Pool, as it is referred to in the book. But what I love so much about her writing is that it never actually crosses the line into horror or paranormal. There is nothing witchy at all about the events of her story, even though there are some key breadcrumbs spread in there for the superstitious readers out there.
Her story is so real that it could happen anywhere, to anyone. It touches on so many relatable issues such as losing a sister to suicide, losing a mother to suicide, rape and the mixed feelings that go along with that very delicate subject. She explores all of these sensitive subjects in an intimate way through her characters, but always tastefully and without the “shock value” that sadists often look for when reading modern fiction.
Paula Hawkins must have watched a lot of true crime, because her books always read like one of those captivating murder mysteries. As a reader, I haven’t delved too deeply into the murder mystery genre, but if there’s any author that would serve as a “gateway drug” into the genre, it’s Paula Hawkins.
Into the Water reads quickly. Her writing style keeps you turning the pages. Is it earth shattering classic literature? No. But it does have the depth and intelligence that so many other books lack in this era. Maybe I’ve just been reading a lot of boring fiction. I don’t know. But this book is perfect for a summer or vacation read. I think I finished this book in four days, and only because I kept getting interrupted. It offers just enough mystery to keep you guessing so that you can feel like you are a sleuth on the case, but it doesn’t try to confuse you.
Hawkins rides a very fine line between leaving the mystery up to the reader and spelling it out for them. You are allowed time to think about the unfolding storyline as she drops hints and (sometimes) misleading information, but then she pulls out those pinnacle plot twists that make the reader go “OH MY GOD, I WAS RIGHT/WRONG!” Which I think is a super fun way to go through a book, don’t you?
I can’t wait for her next novel to come out so I can devour it. And I can’t say that about very many authors. Can you? Leave your comments down below!
Have you read Into the Water? What were your thoughts?