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Into the Water
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Archive - Group Reads > Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (spoilers) - July 2018

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Gem  | 1422 comments Mod
Hello fellow Crime, Mystery, and Thriller readers! This discussion is about Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and your host is Nguyen.
Information about Spoilers

Please note if you have not finished reading the book spoilers are permitted in this discussion from the start.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

2017 Goodreads Choice Award ~ Best Mystery & Thriller


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 . . .

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Nguyen Xuan | 16 comments As I read it (edit)
Legend had it that what was referred to as the Drowning Pool in Beckford - actually a meander in the river - owned its name to the fact that long ago a woman went off the edge of a cliff to meet with death in its water after she killed her husband. More recently, in 1983, the wife of a policema in the same way, survived by her husband, Patrick Townsend, and their son Sean, seven years old - now police DI Sean Townsend. According to some rumors the woman had a lover but no man was pointed at or even seen anywhere.
Lately Nel Abbott, a beautiful and brilliant young woman, a native of Beckford who had developed a lifelong interest in the legend and set out to inquire about the case ended up dying exactly in the same manner, leaving behind her a teenaged daughter and a younger sister.
By the sheerest coincidence the sister got hold of the bracelet the deceased woman was presumed to be wearing. It was found in the possession of DI Townsend's wife Helen- of all places, in a drawer of her desk. Confronted with the evidence, Helen was spellbound but her father in law, to everyone's surprise, sprang up to take her defense : "I ripped it off that whore's wrist before I threw her over." In the process he also confessed to the murder of his wife - he killed her, he said, as a result of a scuffle that left her fatally wounded.
What he did not tell was he was no ordinary father in law nor ordinary father for that matter.
He made no secret of his being deeply in love with the wife of his son, publicly calling her "Darling" and kissing her on the mouth, causing Sean and Helen to get irretrievably estranged from each other. Not only that, he was also a ruthless domestic tyrant. When he found out Nel Abbott got in touch with his son and the two fell in love with each other he decided to put an end to their romance and mercilessly beat his son, for fear that she might tell him his father had killed his wife. Worse still, when Sean, while he was a young boy, told him that he remembered seeing his mom severely wounded and being helped into the passenger seat of the family car and reaching out for him the day she died, while he got scared and pushed her away, his father threw him against a wall, even cut across his wrist with a knife and threatened to cut the other wrist if he ever dared to mention his mother again.
The retired policeman's confession and subsequent conviction, however, were neither the whole truth nor the end of the story. The ultimate truth lied with Sean Townsend's mind which often drifted as he remembered his maimed mother reaching out for him and he pushed her away.
No one would tell the end better than did Paula Hawkins:
"[Sean and Nel] stood at the top of the cliff looking down. I didn't see it from here, Nel, I said. I was in the trees below. I couldn't see anything. She was on the edge of the cliff, her back to me.
Did she cry out ? She asked me. When she fell, did you hear anything ?
I closed my eyes and I saw her in the car, reaching out for me, and I wanted to get away from her. I shrank back, With my hands in the small of Nel's back, I pushed her away."

Jamie Zaccaria I was hoping for more possible supernatural elements to the Drowning Pool, or at least more stories about the history of the women murdered there.

Anyone else feel like Patrick confessed too easily?

Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1298 comments Yeah it was sort of a let down. I really thought the wife killed her.

Donna Schmidt | 141 comments Yes! I too loved the back story of the drowning pool. The ending happened so quick.

message 6: by Nguyen (new) - added it

Nguyen Xuan | 16 comments Nguyen
As I read it (cont.)
I am afraid Into the Water might be misread, the reason being that part of it is misleading - I think on purpose.
Paula Hawkins seems to be fond of muddying the waters and tricking readers into being distracted from the real issues. Many hints and clues are apparently aimed at blurring the key concerns - guilt and love.
Guilt was what Patrick Townsend and his son were afflicted with, the father on account of his having deprived his seven-year-son of his mother by killing her and his grown up son of his wife with whom he fell in love, and the son since, at the age of seven, he was terrified and "cowered back in [his] seat," " trying to get far away as [he could]" while his badly maimed mother desperately "reached for [him] and touched [his] hand."
And love was what prompted the same fathe to confess and get convicted for a crime he did I not commit to spare his son or the woman he loved.
Guilt and love, however, were not the only concerns: underlying were domestic violence, sexual abuse, paedophilia, and incest, even the Lolita syndrome. As a matter of fact Into the Water is more ambitious in scope than The Girl on the Train and way more than just Grip-Lit.
As I read it (cont.)
The missing clue.
The only material clue to Nel's death was the bracelet she always wore, which was missing when her body was retrieved and would probably have vanished into thin air had it not been discovered by chance by her teenage daughter Lena.
How Lena discovered it - and learned if was her mother's - was a long story involving involving Lena's fifteen-year-old girl friend and fellow student Katia's having an affair with their teacher Mark. Katia had died a few months Befor Nel did and in the same way. Mark, who desperately looked for something having belonged to Katia, had ventured into the office of Katia's headtecher Helen, DI Sean Townsend's wife, where he found the bracelet in a drawer of Helen's desk. He decided to keep it, knowing it was Nel's but not knowing what to do. He then reluctantly gave it to Lena, telling her it was her mother's, as a part of a deal by virtue of which Lena would cease harassing him for Katia's suicide.
That was how Lena's aunt Julia was able to confront Helen who was known to nurture a deep dislike of Nel.

Donna Schmidt | 141 comments I love how you wrote your review! Love and guilt!

message 8: by Nguyen (new) - added it

Nguyen Xuan | 16 comments Thank you, Donna Schmidt !

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