Into the Water by Paula Hawkins #BookReview

About this book…

Julia, it’s me. I need you to call me back. Please, Julia. It’s important . . .

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 . . .

My review…

Having been a huge fan of The Girl in the Train (book not film!) I was desperate to read Into the Water and about 4 hours after it was delivered to my kindle on publication day I was awake and completely immersed in it, reading 40% before I had to get up. I had deliberately stayed away from reviews so I could go in blind with no preconceptions. It must have been difficult writing that dreaded second novel for Paula Hawkins. Would she have to endure the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” reactions from fans of her bestselling debut? She couldn’t keep to the same formula as before but by giving readers something entirely different are they likely to say ” It’s no TGOTT is it? “. Therefore I was determined to judge this novel for what it was, not who it was by or by what came before it. And my overall impression of Into the Water was very positive! I really enjoyed it and struggled to put it down!

There were peaks and troughs for me though. The first part I enjoyed but I was probably more concerned with getting my head around the large number of narrators who were setting up their stories. The second part I loved as I settled into who was who and started to form my own suspicions about what had happened to Nel. By part three the action had definitely speeded up (this is the definitive slow burner!) and this was probably when the book became totally unputdownable for me. And then came part four…….and I felt the last part of this storyline, unfortunately, came as a bit of an anticlimax after the previous dramatic happenings and left more questions than it answered! But that is the only negative I have here, and it may have been down to my high expectations more than anything else. I might read it again in a few months and have a very different opinion after that initial reaction!

The theme of water running through the narrative was what made this stand out for me. I have a love/hate relationship with water in that I always have to be near it, to see it and hear it from my home but I don’t like to be actually IN it! So the scenes where the women entered the water were the ones that filled me with the most fear- the authors perfectly observed, descriptive prose gave me goosebumps and chills that I wasn’t expecting. In fact, this book was just so beautifully worded, almost poetic, pretty much all the way through. There were phrases used that I was actually in awe of as they captured emotions and idiosyncrasies in a way I hadn’t expected to experience.The whole atmosphere felt dark and claustrophobic with the river always there, bubbling away in the background hiding its secrets from generation to generation. And as all the threads of the multiple voices came together, the water was always trying to get the last word in.

I actually feel as if TGOTT was the commercial success that allowed Paula Hawkins to head out into her own open water and see where her creativity and imagination would take her and she’s certainly crafted a book that will get divide opinions and get everyone talking about it (TGOTT flashback anyone?!) People WILL buy this book, some readers will compare it unfavourably to its predecessor whilst others will rave to the rafters about it-but ultimately, everyone will take away something different from it. Me? I will remember the poignant relationship between two sisters that transcends the secrets and guilt that has kept them apart. And the water…..

Into the Water: From the bestselling author of The Girl on the Train is now available to buy on Amazon UK.

About the author…

Paula Hawkins is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Girl on the Train, which was made into a major motion picture.


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

28 thoughts on “Into the Water by Paula Hawkins #BookReview”

  1. I really enjoyed this one as well, I think more than Girl on the Train. I tend to prefer books that are a bit slower paced that focus more on character development and I felt that is exactly what she did here, and I really loved seeing how the characters and the different relationships developed. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yes I think lots of people who weren’t as keen on TGOTT may prefer this one. I will definitely be recommending Into the Water as it’s a stunningly written book that needs to be judged on its own merits I think 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked her first book but I read it when it first came out before a lot of the hype. This is a very different book to her first so will hopefully appeal to a wider audience especially those who haven’t read TGOTT 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Jo, very well considered. I almost pressed the ‘go’ button on this the other day on Audible, then changed my mind and went for something else. Will definitely get around to it but I did appreciate what I think is your very balanced opinion!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I finally got home to my copy! I’ve read some mixed reviews and lots of talk of slow burning so I’ve decided to keep it for half term in a couple of weeks when I’ll have more time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Glad you’ve got you’re copy! I definitely recommend reading when you have time to connect with all the characters at the beginning. I think it needs to be read in large chunks. Looking forward to hearing what you think 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed GOTT but don’t have a copy of this one yet – I was a bit concerned about the huge number of narrators but I have a feeling, like so many books with complex structures, that if I can read enough large chunks it will all become clear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I would thoroughly recommend doing it that way especially part one when you need to connect to all the narrators. Reading the first 40% in one session probably increased my enjoyment of it compared to others.


  5. Excellent review, actually funnily enough I thought of you when I heard an interview with her on the radio as I remembered you saying you’d pre-ordered and not applied for it. I could be wrong but I think the interviewer was saying that she has other books out under a different name, maybe they’re another genre, but he said that he’d keep calling this her second books so people didn’t get confused as he was more interested on what you were saying above, the difficult second book syndrome. He asked her what the feedback was and she said, it’s only just out today, give it a chance! Which was what I was thinking too! (She did go on to say Advance reviews had given good feedback).


  6. Happy to hear you enjoyed this one despite a few issues! I’ve read some reviews that it was a little chaotic feeling and that the ending was a bit of a let down.

    I have the same love/hate relationship with water. Water freaks me out, but I like being near the water… something about the nothingness underneath me (shivers)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Did you see about a week ago Paula Hawkins interview on BBC Breakfast show Talking about her new book Into The Water? I have this book in book case to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I missed it! I actually wanted to forget it was by her so I could just read it for what it was and review it as if I had no idea who wrote it. Which worked well for me! I enjoyed it very much so hope you do too. Would recommend reading it in large chunks to begin with due to lots of voices 😊


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