Title: Across the Water
Author: Ingrid Alexandra
Published: August 5th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter GB -HarperCollins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars
In a remote, boat-access only house, Liz Dawson’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she watches the people who live in the three identical houses that sit side by side across the creek. But it’s the middle house Liz finds herself drawn to most: the beautiful young mother, Delilah Waters, and her baby.
When Dee and her baby go missing, last seen by the murky waters of Oyster Creek, it is a suspected murder-suicide. After all, it’s no secret that Dee Waters never wanted children. She wasn’t coping with the baby. Everyone in the town believes she leapt to her death, taking her child with her. Everyone except Liz.
Wrestling with her own demons, Liz risks everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. Of all people, Liz knows that just because someone is a reluctant mother, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their child. And it doesn’t mean they’re capable of murder… does it?
The Woman in the Window meets The Hand that Rocked the Cradle, Across the Water explores the darker side of motherhood, the pressure to conform, and how women’s choices shape their fate.
‘I don’t know how anyone could live here permanently. And they don’t, really. Not on this side of the water.’
The weight of secrets and the art of concealment underscores Ingrid Alexandra’s second novel, Across the Water. Following the success of her debut, The New Girl, Ingrid Alexandra serves up another gripping domestic suspense tale. With a searing look at motherhood, relationships, choices and fate, Across the Water issues readers with an intense read from cover to cover.
Set around an isolated Australian township surrounded by murky waters, Ingrid Alexandra’s second novel follows the lives of three different women. each of these these women find their lives tangled and complicated further by the secrets they carry. We meet Liz Dawson, a newcomer to Oyster Creek, who seems to find some comfort in spying on the suspicious actions of her neighbours from afar. Liz is a lonely woman, haunted by a past trauma and Liz’s obsession with her neighbours from across the creek seems to be a welcome distraction from her troubles. On the other side of the creek is Delilah, a woman battling with her new role as mother to baby Ruby. When Delilah and her infant daughter disappear, it is deemed as a possible case of suicide. It was no secret that Delilah was struggling with her parenting duties and a murder-suicide is the only plausible explanation for the disappearance of the mother and her baby daughter. But Liz is very apprehensive about this conclusion and she is certain that Delilah didn’t choose to end her life and the life of her child in the waters of Oyster Creek. It is up to Liz to debunk this theory and uncover the truth to this dark situation.
With comparisons drawn between this novel and The Hand that Rocked the Cradle, I was expecting big things from my first Ingrid Alexandra novel. I am so glad that I discovered the writing of this new author. I really enjoyed Across the Water, it was an addictive read!
From chapter one, we are immersed in the cool, icy, shady and mysterious waters of this remote Australian backwater locale. Alexandra does an excellent job of setting her scene. I could easily envisage the landscape of Oyster Creek. There was almost a surreal and eerie quality to this isolated Australian township. From the onset, I was very suspicious of what I would encounter as the events of the book surfaced. I also felt rather edgy and nervous of what I would be confronted with as Alexandra offered plenty of surprising shocks, revelations, suspects, red herrings and narrative blocks. It was really hard to keep my head above the water with this one, Ingrid Alexandra was constantly trying to pull me under!
Structured via three viewpoints and told in the form of multiple timeframes, Across the Water is rich in perspective and psychology. I enjoyed delving into the mixed up and complicated mindsets of the troubled characters of Alexandra’s latest tale. Each of the main protagonists has their own personal issues and baggage to contend with, which is dispersed as the book travels down its tumultuous path. This allows Alexandra to competently examine themes of relationships, marriage, trust, friendship, loneliness, isolation, disconnection, infidelity, motherhood, trauma and loss. I appreciated the way in which Alexandra critically interrogated these topics. With the added complication of an unreliable narrator added to the mix, Across the Water is a novel full of deceit and grey areas. Despite these gaps, I felt the pressure to read on and on, until I reached the bitter end of Alexandra’s new novel. What a journey!
If you are a domestic thriller fan, you will revel in Ingrid Alexandra’s moody, creepy and edgy new novel, Across the Water.
Across the Water by Ingrid Alexandra was published on 5th August 2020 by One More Chapter GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Across the Water, Ingrid Alexandra visit here.
*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Across the Water is book #120 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge