Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Into the Water is about the women who were silenced, and those who refuse to be silent any longer.
I may be one of the few people out there that did not really like The Girl on the Train. I couldn't connect to the characters and I think this is partly because I am drawn to books with strong female character (or characters that become stronger as the book progresses) and I felt as if the Girl on the Train was missing that.
I was curious but hesitant in picking up Into the Water, wondering if I also would not like any of the characters, but I was intrigued by the haunted town of Beckford and the tragedy surrounding the women who live there.
The pull of the river is something that Nel Abbott was never able to resist and she begins to write a memoir regarding the lives and legends of the women who have been taken by the 'drowning pool', tracing the history back to when they used to drown women for witchcraft.
The drowning pool has had its share of dangerous women who could not be quiet. Some have taken their own lives, some have had their lives taken from them. And there are some people in the town that prefer the past to stay hidden and shrouded in mystery.
Jules Abbott has never forgiven her sister and they haven't talked, really talked, in years. Jules was the younger sister, the less pretty of the two, the one who was fat, the one who was picked on, the one who wasn't believed, wasn't heard.
Jules comes back to Beckford to deal with her memories and to look after her niece after Nel becomes one of the women taken by the drowning pool.
Lena is unapologetically her mother's daughter. She is untamed and living her best teenage life when she loses her best friend and her mother to the river. Why did her mother want to die? Who wanted her mother to die? What drew her friend to her death? What secrets is Lena keeping under wraps?
I loved how Into the Water was about women. Some broken, some with tragic events occurring in their lives, some strong, some learning to be strong. It is about the women who came before and didn't make it, it's about the women who are trying to make it in a town where troublesome, dangerous women are silenced. It is about how history tried to drown and burn at the stake women who had to pay for the mistakes of men (cheating husbands anyone?).
The past weaves in and out and the narrative of the drowned women added to this novel to make it different from the other thrillers out there at the moment. The historic element of the witch trial, combined with a psychic townswoman who no one believes, a teenage friendship and the history of the two sisters made this book unputdownable.
The treatment of women, by men, however, was disgusting and I loved the line Lena has when she is discussing men with her aunt, with how women never seem to blame the man, just the other woman involved. This was true in the witch trials and is true to this day.
if The Girl on the Train wasn't for you, or if you usually go for novels with a dual storyline uncovering a family secret, I believe this book will be for you. A fascination with witches and female friendships is a bonus.
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Have you read Into the Water? How does it compare with The Girl on the Train? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.