girl on the train

Book Review of Into the Water

into-the-water-672x1024Many authors stumble when it comes time to follow up a phenomenally successful first novel – but instead, Paula Hawkins has no doubt given her legions of fans more of what they are looking for in the intriguing, if lightweight, Into the Water.

Into the Water is set in the fictional town of Bickford in the gloomy north of England, famous only for it’s drowning pool and the dark history of troublesome women finding their end in it.  Years ago, it was accused witches but more recently, a young mother and in just the past few weeks, a young local girl and the mother of her friend.  It is the death of this final woman, Nel Abbott – a writer and photographer fascinated by the history of the drowning pool – that sparks this story. Although Nel’s death and the one that proceeded it, have all the earmarks of a suicide, the motives for such actions are a mystery to those closest to them.

The story eventually unravels through multiple narrators, and it has the same feminist bent of The Girl on the Train, where poor women are suffering for the choices of violent and disturbed men.

Behind all of this though, is the story of two sisters.  Estranged for years, as one uncovers the reasons for her sister’s death a tremendous family misunderstanding is revealed, leading to a period of renewal amongst the grief.

There’s a lot to like here and Into the Water won’t fail to engage Hawkins’ legion of fans. The same dark sense of mystery and foreboding accompanies this tale.  It might even pick her up a few more.

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Book Review of The Girl on The Train

22557272This is getting a lot of buzz at the moment as many are comparing it to the hugely popular Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  So, I figured I had better have a bit of a look.

There are indeed lots of thematic and structural similarities to Gone Girl – including shifting narrators who each impart different elements of the story of a murder.

Rachel takes the train to work every morning, passing by the house she once lived in with her former husband.  He now lives there with his new wife.  She fantasises about the lives of those who live on the street – including an attractive young couple she dubs “Jess and Jason”.  She imagines their lives resembling the perfect marriage she once thought she had. Now, she is alone and often turns to drink to mask the pain.

Then she hears about the murder that takes place on the very street. And she feels she may just have some information that might be important?  Will anybody believe that the girl on the train could have the answer the police are looking for?

Engaging and not obvious, this is an enjoyable and easy read.  It lacks the shock value of Gone Girl, but engages with some more complex issues.  You will change your mind six or seven times as to who the culprit is.