Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Discussion points: contains SPOILERS

Warning topics covered include rape and suicide. I appreciate that these are complex emotive subjects and I have made simplistic comments as prompts for discussion.

  •  As mentioned the book has lots of narratives. Also I think Hawkins does not make the family relationships particularly distinct. With Katie’s family, Katie was not introduced straight away, making, making difficult to see how the family fitted in. At one point when,  it was unclear who Katie was I may have got Shaun and Josh, confused because both young boys. I got particularly confused about Patrick’s family. Lauren was not named much; she was often just referred to naturally by Shaun as his Mum. Then I think at some point I was thinking of Helen as Patrick’s wife because she lived with him.
  • If you have been eager to read this book, then the temptation is to tear through this book but perhaps, it needs to be read slower, to get familiar with the characters; I still think a character list would help; hence me providing one in my review. Unlike with Girl on the train where it is about the end destination perhaps this one is more about the journey; and time should of be taken to appreciate all the characters and sub plots.

A reviews of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Author of Girl on the Train). For those reading it or thinking of reading it onwards. Including a character list (without spoilers) which I think would have been handy at the front of the book.

  • I think more could have been made about the rape of Jules. It is certainly statuary rape, because she was below age of consent. The book did not go into enough detail about the actual event for the reader to really engage. It could have been made dynamic; perhaps she partly did it as revenge against her sister for not standing up for her or at least allowed him to kiss her to get back at her sister / feel better about herself but he then kept going further. That would have made the story more interesting.
  • I also felt that the relationship between Mark and Katie; could have been explored in more detail. Was it love? Was she taken advantage of?  More could have been made if the juxtaposition between Jules and Katie. Was Jules more innocent then Katie? Did Katie seduce Mark albeit she was too naive too anticipate full emotional impact. As men are less mature the age gap between a young man and mature teenage can seem smaller than it is. Yes of course he, should have had more sense but these things happen and exploring it more would have been fascinating.
  • So hard to understand why Katie thought things, were so bad she had to kill herself. Not sure how well researched that was; but perhaps such deaths can often seem illogical, so it is realistic. Perhaps the history of place but suicide in mind. This week I was thinking about how when places get a reputation as a suicide spot; it can be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Mental Health Awareness: Suicide Reporting Guidelines

Also did Jules went to kill herself; pergapas that juxtaposition could have been explored too.

  • I do not think it was ever revealed why Nell had been so keen to talk to Jules. Had she suspected Patrick was a murderer? Or was it one of her routine calls to Jules?

A reviews of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Author of Girl on the Train). For those reading it or thinking of reading it onwards. Including a character list (without spoilers) which I think would have been handy at the front of the book.

It’s a unique book rather than being a copy of Girl on the train. It is not centered around a unreliable narrator. In fact it has several narrators. Different narrators are in different time zones and some narrators speak from different time zones. I could not remember Lauren’s name at the end because I just thought if her as ‘Shaun’s Mum’. The chapters just had people’s first names, not surnames so it was difficult to remember who was related.  I felt I could have done with a character list at the front of the book to flick back to therefore I have provided one below. 

I do feel that the book could have been more streamlined with less narrators; for example do not think needed narratives from Nicky or Erin. I think chopping and changing between characters, prevented suspense building, whereas of course Girl on the train built a lot of suspense. I also think the book incorporates some interesting topics. However I would have liked some of those topics to be touched upon deeper; I will write another post with those thoughts, so as to not present spoilers here. It is unfair to judge any book against Girl on the train because that was exceptional. It was an interesting, enjoyable read but I think it has not reached the potential in that although author writes in an engaging way and it flows nicely, it lacks impact. Although  I have read reviews from those who were were underwhelmed by Girl on the train. To be fair I think I had got Girl on the train dissed by the end, yet the suspense was still there; dramatic last pages and you were not sure whether there was gone to be a last twist. Whereas this book is more about story telling; the last part tails off in an attempt to tie up lose ends. That being said; Both books are good holiday books for the summer!

Reference character list

Libby  Seeton suspected witch drowned in the pool 1679.

Anne Ward died in the Water 1920. 

Prior to 1983 the book mentions the following had also died in the pond but does not give details of when although possibly they were between Libby and Anne: Mary Marsh, Ginny Thomas, Lauren Slater.

Lauren Townsend found dead in the pool 1983.

Patrick Townsend. Lauren’s husband. Policeman before retirement.
Shaun Townsend Lauren’s son a child at the time of death. By 2015 a policeman.

Katie found in the pool June 2015
Louise Katie’s Mum.

Josh Katie’s brother

Nell Abbott found in pond August 2015. She has been researching the other deaths in pond. She had a daughter (Father unknown) and a sister.

Jules Abbott Nell’s sister. 

Lena Abbott: Nell’s daughter

Mark: Katie and Lena’s teacher.

Nickie Sage Local tarot card reader, seance host.

Jeanie Sarge: Nickie’s daughter I think (correct me if I’m wrong). She is a police lady.

Erin police lady

book review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Finished into the Water last night… review coming later. Unlike in re ire below I probably liked Girl on the train more. But now read below, do remember I had worked out what had happened in Girl on the train, well before the end.

pace, amore, libri

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INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins
★★★★
US pub date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Riverhead Books
My review on Goodreads

As someone who liked but didn’t love The Girl on the Train, my expectations for Into the Water weren’t particularly high. If anything, I was expecting another entertaining but fairly run of the mill thriller with a predictable outcome. (Honestly, I only added Into the Water to this month’s BOTM box because I loved the cover so much.) But I loved this, and if I was secretly expecting Paula Hawkins to rest on her laurels a little bit with her sophomore novel, I was proved very, very wrong. Into the Water outdoes The Girl on the Train in just about every conceivable way.

Into the Water begins when Jules Abbot gets a call that her sister Nel is dead, drowned. This brings Jules back to the small town of…

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Book Scavanger 4

A book with an unreliable narrator:

Curious incident of the Dog in the nighttime.


A book with pictures

The curious incident of the dog in nighttime includes some diagrams which, add to the narrative style.


Book Set During wartime

No Angel by Penny Vincenzi

This book covers from the Edwardian era to the First World War. Later books go up to an beyond Second World War.


A book with a month, day or meal in the title

This was originally meant to be one with month or day in the title but, could not find one. So added meal to the catergory; as saw Breakfast at Tiffanies  on the shelf. A very short book as novella rather than novel; only little action but a gentle mysterious aura.


A book bought on a trip

I bought Mark Haddon’s (who also wrote Curious Incident of the night) in Amsterdam airport.

Reading short stories: Mark Haddon and Emma Strout

A book with a family member in the title

Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. In this book the daughter in the title, is born with Down’s syndrome along with a twin brother. Her Father a doctor, who delivers, her tells his wife that the baby girl has died and gives the baby to the nurse to take to an orphanage. Inevitably the secret does not remain forever.


A book with character’s name in the title

The ‘classic’ Heidi.


A book set in two time periods

The midwives confession by Diane Chamberlain

The book flicks from 1988 early 90s when two babies were born to 2010 when the girl’s are teenagers and the midwife of both kills herself. The book has many twists and turns, before the secrets that prompted the midwives suicide are revealed. I was captivated and read this book in one sitting.

A book bought from a second hand shop


Captain Correlli’s  mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

I have not read it yet. I have been interested in it, since heard a reading from it at someone’s wedding therefore at 50p in a charity shop, it made sense to buy. If nothing else the cover is pretty to look at.

Queen Elizabeth 11 Drop Scones; recipe from Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher

One of the major selling points of this book was it contained a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Presidents Eisenhower, written in 1960. Which included a recipe for drop scones that she had served him.

The book includes clear photos of the original letters and also a transcript of the letters, in case any of the handwriting is difficult to read. Additionally there is a paragraph giving the background to the letter.

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Queen Elizabeth’s book is the first proper letter in the book (technically the first is a letter from Shaun Usher). It is amazing to see the Queen’s handwriting on Buckingham palace headed notepaper; I thought it would be fun to try to replicate her recipe. At first when I saw scones, I was thinking the type of scones you have with jam and cream. But another name for drop scones is scotch pancakes. They are denser than what , I would class as an English Shrove Tuesday pancake. More towards an American pancake hence why they may have appealed to the American president.

The recipe does not contain much method; it is mainly a list of ingredients, so google had to come in play for some of the method. Also google was needed because ‘our Liz’, did not seem to use scales. Instead in  the recipe; ingredients are measured in tea cups. I do not own a tea cup. I have interpreted a tea cup as about 130g and therefore where a quarter of a tea cup was listed for sugar, I used 30g. For the milk where 2 teacups were required I used 350ml. The recipe also called for two tablespoons of butter, so I faithfully tried to scrape butter up from block with a spoon; my first attempt was more like a half spoon, so then had to scrape another half spoon. Probably just cutting about 2cm in from a block of butter along short side would have been about right.

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When working out the quantities; I should have realised that the recipe was for 16 people. I’m afraid to say there was lots of waste. As there was no method I first tried, putting batter over whole pan like a normal pancake; that was a complete mess burnt in places despite not cooking in the middle as was so thick. I then read should be just a tablespoon for each scone ‘dropped’ in; clue may have been in the title! Even then I had issues getting middles cooked without burning the top and bottom.  I was cooking in butter in a pan; some methods called for a griddle pan, so maybe that would help.

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When cooked the drops scones should be quite spongy. I did not have cream of tartar, so I put in 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda instead of 2. The bitternessc of the bicarbonate of soda was overpowering; I would say do not put more than a teaspoon of it in! I ended up adding more sugar to the batter to try and compensate. I then smothered in golden syrup – is that a British item or do you get it else where?

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Not all the letters; give rise to such projects but, it is a good coffee table book to dip into; which gives glimpses into history. For example there is a letter from Queen Mary of Scotland, written in French their her brother the night before she was executed, a letter from Mark Chapman trying to sell the album John Lennon signed before later in the day Chapman shot him, a letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol as regards as album design and many more!

Book Scavanger 3

A Scavanger inspired by following; more of it to come next weekend.

Book inspiration including books made into films out in 2017

A book with season in title:

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux


In this book 3 women turning 40 together, get to see how their life would have been if they took another path. After seeing this vision they then get to choose whether to keep new or old life and with each option whether they get to remember or forget alternative path. Thought provoking about, whether life leading is best or could have been better.

A Story within a Story

Think as Olive Kitteridge is a novel made up of short stories, it counts as a story within a story. See previous posts for more information.

A book with multiple authors


Previous Victims is a true crime story. It is about a family who’s baby daughter goes missing and it is unclear what has happened to the baby. Three years later the families second baby daughter also goes missing; casting further suspicion upon the family itself. The book is written by Don W Weber a prosecutor and stormy who was a prosecutor in the case and Charles Bosworth an investigative reporter who covered both apparent kidnaps.

A book with a red spine


This is my last remaining Enid Blyton. Mostly I had old paperback Enid Blyton’s, but this one my sister bought me as a child for my birthday.

Giving a way my Enid Blyton books; must have spent hours of my childhood reading them …

A book with a cat on the cover

I thought there would be multiple to choose from but could only find this.

A book made into a film released in 2017.

I had zoo keeper’s wife because I bought it to read before I watched film. I was talking to a friend who works at a cinema last night and she says it is not being shown much because it did not do well in first week. This seems a real shame as one of those true stories that is so amazing that, it would be totally unbelievable if someone had written it. The one cinema I could find that was showing it, is not showing it this weekend. During the week it was only being shown at 15.00 and next week at 12:00; so it is now rather a self fulfilling prophecy that not main people will watch. I ended up with a private screening as no one else watched it at 15:00 on a Thursday with me.

Zookeeper’s Wife Film

Are all true stories: non fiction? Review of The Zoo Keeper’s wife.

 

 

Are all true stories: non fiction? Review of The Zoo Keeper’s wife.

I approached this book as a novel but looking it up after reading I see it is classed as non fiction. This means currently I’m questioning what non fiction is. Are all books based on true stories non fiction?

Approaching the book as a novel, I found it very text book like a times albeit not a hard core  arduous text book to read. But spinning that round, if it is a textbook it is a user friendly text book because the chronological order has a good narrative running through which keeps you wanting to read more. The opening chapter draws you in. It is very descriptive; describing the central characters Jan and Antonina and their zoo but it a more free flowing natural way then later passages that seem more text book like. The opening chapter and the book’s title the zoo keeper’s wife create a homely, wholesome image which creates a sharp contrast to the war that follows the opening chapter.

The book is obviously well researched, but sometimes it felt like superfluous facts were shoe horned in such as when describing someone thinking; describing Neuron pathways.  The book did make some interesting points comparing animals to humans. Overall it was a good read, but I’m looking forward to seeing it brought to life further in the film which I will capture the colour and quirky atmosphere of the zoo and  engage on a more emotional level. I think watching film first would not ruin this book as the book, is very factual and could be dipped into after to check accuracy of the film. From looking at stills from the film, it looks like in glamorises the book. Considering Antonina mucks in with the zoo and was bed ridden for part of the war; I’m not so sure she looked as glamorous as film on surface portrays.