I picked up Into the Water not knowing quite what to expect – I loved The Girl on the Train, but was aware that many of the Amazon reviews didn’t rate this one quite as highly. Hawkins’ second novel tells the story of sisters Jules and Nel, who have a complicated relationship. Just days after Jules ignores Nel’s phone call, Nel turns up dead in the (fairly creepy) village in which they both grew up. Jules reluctantly goes back to look after her niece, and to find out what really happened to her sister.
I have to admit this book did take me a while to get into (I even had a false start, coming back to it a few months later as I was determined to try again!). There are a lot of characters and the narrative structure got me in a bit of a muddle at first, as I struggled to remember who’s who and how they all fit together. However, I found myself gradually getting drawn deeper into the story until I couldn’t put it down and had to race through to the end. The story unfolds gradually, throwing the reader off the scent and not revealing everything until the very last page. The Girl on the Train is a hard act to follow, but I think Paula Hawkins has done a great job of this sophisticated novel filled with intriguing, complex characters, set in an eerie and at times terrifying village, and it is an engrossing read.
Published by Doubleday, 2017