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Into the Water & An American Marriage

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

I recently finished reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. First off, I just want to give myself a pat on the back for finishing two books so far this year. (That is a huge feat for me!) Secondly, these books were amazing in completely different ways. Thirdly, I am in a post book depression and need something to get me out. Help!

I’ll start with Into the Water. I was a huge fan of The Girl on the Train, so I was excited to find this at a used book sale for only $1. Into the Water is a fiction book set in dark and broody Northern England and follows the story of a small town, with a dark history. Over the years, several women have been found dead in the river that runs through town, assumingly all suicides. Each chapter bounces back and forth between different characters and also different points in time. The story focuses around budding writer Nel’s untimely death that is being investigated. Nel was writing a book about the infamous river, and then one day becomes a victim of it. Nel’s daughter, Lena, and younger sister, Jules, unravel the mystery of her death, and the women before her. Each chapter has twists and turns, some more surprising that others, and covers a variety of topics including death, love, sexual assault, and relationships.  {trigger warning}

The book was slow at first and difficult to remember who every character was, but after 50 pages, I was hooked. What I loved about The Girl on the Train is how you get bits and pieces of the story throughout the entire book. The last chapters pull everything together, like the beautiful bow on the top of a nicely wrapped present. Into the Water is satisfying, though I wouldn’t put it above The Girl on the Train. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for a psychological thriller and are game for following several character’s storyline.

An American Marriage has been on my TBR list for months and I finally snagged a copy at my local public library. This storyline is different than what I typically go for, but drew me in. An American Marriage is a fiction book set in the south. It follows the story of Roy and Celestial. Two love birds who have been married for a year and have their whole lives ahead of them. They travel to Roy’s hometown, Eloe, Louisiana, to visit his family, but find themselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Roy is accused of a crime he did not commit and finds himself behind bars, serving ten years. Celestial struggles at home between the man she loves and the life she has ahead of her. She finds herself torn between waiting for Roy and moving on with a new love.

This book had a strong story that leaves you thinking when you’re done. You learn the story from everyone’s angle and it is hard to make your mind up on what you would do in that situation. One thing I took away from it is that marriage is precious and fragile. It needs to be nurtured if you want it to grow and stay strong. I also took away that you may have your life planned out, but the universe has its way of changing that in a heartbeat and we have to roll with the changes and formulate our new future.  Even if it wasn't what we initially planned.

I finished this book in about a week and I had a hard time putting it down. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I finished it feeling satisfied, but also could not stop thinking about the situations these characters found themselves in. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something that is lighthearted at times, other times heavy, while also maintaining a deep and poetic story.

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