The Drowning Woman

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Pub Date 07 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jun 2023
Simon & Schuster (Australia), Simon & Schuster Australia

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The bestselling author of The Party returns with a deliciously twisted story of friendship, retribution and betrayal about a homeless woman fleeing a dangerous past – and the wealthy society wife she saves from drowning, who pulls her into a dark web of secrets and lies.

Lee Gulliver never thought she’d find herself living on the streets – no one ever does – but when her restaurant fails, and she falls deeper into debt, she leaves her old life behind with nothing but her clothes and her car.

Parked in a secluded spot by the beach, she sees a sobbing woman throw herself into the ocean. Lee hauls the woman back to the surface but, instead of appreciation, she is met with fury. The drowning woman, Hazel, tells her that she wanted to die. She’s trapped in a toxic, abusive marriage, and is a prisoner in her own home. Lee has now thwarted her one chance to escape her life.
Out of options, Hazel retreats to her gilded cage. Lee thinks she’s seen the last of her, until Hazel unexpectedly returns the next morning. The women strike up an unlikely friendship and then, one day, Hazel makes a shocking request: she wants Lee to help her disappear. It’ll be easy, Hazel assures her. But Lee soon learns that nothing is as it seems – and that Hazel may not be the friend Lee thought she was …

Praise for The Drowning Woman
‘Pulse-pounding and deliciously unpredictable … Robyn Harding can twist a plot like a corkscrew’ Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here
‘I’m in absolute awe of Robyn Harding's talent and skill. The Drowning Woman is an astonishing, expertly crafted story … With one killer twist after another and a masterful plot’ Samantha M. Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge
The bestselling author of The Party returns with a deliciously twisted story of friendship, retribution and betrayal about a homeless woman fleeing a dangerous past – and the wealthy society wife she...

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ISBN 9781761422232
PRICE A$32.99 (AUD)

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Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

Lee Gulliver finds herself living on the streets, after a failed restaurant business during the pandemic. Then one day, she hears a woman in the water near where her car is parked, she is drowning. Lee goes to her rescue, only to find the woman, Hazel, is furious at Lee for saving her. She was trying to escape an abusive marriage and that was the only way out.

As the pair strike up a friendship, Hazel convinces Lee to help her escape. Only things don't go to plan and Lee finds herself in a more precarious position than she was before she met Hazel.

Another fabulous novel by the author! I don't even read the synopsis any longer, as I just know I will read every book she writes. This was so twisted and everything I thought when I started into this story was tipped upside down by the end and theories thrown out the window. There were a bunch of unlikeable characters but you can't help but cheer Lee on throughout. I could not put this down and it is one I highly recommend.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Australia for this gifted review copy.

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This book is just pure brilliance. Packed full of suspense, with so many twists and turns it'll make your head spin, The Drowning Woman is a must read for thriller fans. Having not read the synopsis at all I had no idea where this book would take me, and I really enjoyed this rollercoaster ride of a story. I was a total slave to my Kindle.

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC of this book to read and review.

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I discovered Robyn’s books with The Party a few years ago and have eagerly devoured her backlist. She is definitely the Queen of domestic thrillers. Told in four parts we alternate view points between Lee, a business who has fallen onto bad times and now living her her car and Hazel, the rich wife who has it all-or does she? Both women were intriguing characters but I never quite knew who to trust.

This one lures you in immediately and keeps up at a good pace the whole way through. By the end of part one, I was feeling pretty smug that I’d picked up the cliff hanger. I was sure I knew how it was all going to play out. I was so wrong. The twists and turns kept coming! I was quite happy with how it all came together at the end. Another fabulous thriller from a Robyn who’s now very solidly on my autobuy list.

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Robyn Harding delivers yet another suspenseful thriller to keep you guessing. I’ve long been a fan of Robyn Harding and her latest installment doesn’t disappoint; I didn’t even read the synopsis before picking this one up. The author sets up an interesting mystery which will keep you hooked until the very final twist. It’s easy to relate to and feel for the well-written characters found here. It’s easy to see why Robyn Harding is known as the Queen of the domestic thriller. I’m excited to see what she comes up with next. This read was fast-paced, gripping and easy to consume in one sitting. You feel immersed and investing in the plot which makes the pages fly by. Highly recommend this book and this author.

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A completely bingeable read, I was hooked from the start on this action-packed, twisty and admittedly faintly ridiculous story (I say that - but I didn't care, I was happy to strap in for the ride!). I've read a couple of Robyn Harding books before and this one did not disappoint - it was exactly the type of fast-paced, absorbing thriller I needed after reading a couple of heavier books recently. It deals with a lot of heavy themes, and while I felt sorry for so many of the characters who were victims of circumstances beyond their control, I couldn't really like any of them per se, and grew intensely frustrated at some of their decisions. But, I felt the reasoning behind their actions as a whole were well plotted out and I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend it to people wanting a 'vacation read' or simply something to become engrossed in on a rainy weekend. Robyn Harding should be a must-read author for fans of the thriller genre!

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Lee is down on her luck. In fact, she is on the run. Life wasn't always like this. Lee was living out her dream of running her own restaurant, but Covid hit and so did the bills. No longer able to pay her debts, fleeing was her only option. Now she calls her car home. Sleeping with a knife clutched in her hand and using whiskey as a sedative, Lee can't imagine how life will get any better. Across town, Hazel lives in a beachfront, glass mansion. She spends her day at the gym, lunching with girlfriends, or perfecting her highlights at the spa. Hazel's life may look glamorous but she's trapped in a toxic relationship. Hazel can't imagine how life will get any better. One afternoon, at the beach, their worlds collide and though their lives have, until this point, been led so differently, they're now inextricably linked.

'The Drowning Woman' is a psychological thriller that will keep you turning pages. Just when you think you've put all the pieces of the puzzle together, another curve ball scatters your theories. Although it took me a few chapters to really get hooked on the book, it was a gripping, pacy story. I've never read Robyn Harding's books before but I'm glad I took a chance on this one and I'll definitely look out for her work in the future.

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The Drowning Woman by Robyn Harding definitely has the WOW factor!

The story starts off with a homeless woman, Lee, living in her car and surviving as best she can. She saves another woman, Hazel, from drowning. Initially Hazel is angry saying she was trying to drown to get away from her abusive husband. Lee and Hazel meet in secret and form a ‘friendship’.

The story seems quite straightforward and even predictable until - suddenly it isn’t!! Twists and turns crop up and the story goes in different directions. An incredible thriller that keeps the reader guessing and totally captivated by the characters and the turn of events.

Highly recommended read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Simon & Schuster (Australia) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#TheDrowningWoman #Netgalley

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The Drowning Woman by Robyn Harding took me by surprise. I read the blurb and made some assumptions. As I started reading and met Lee and Hazel I pictured it... the way it was going to play out. I could see it clearly and felt disappointed. Knowing that what was to come was going to be an anticlimax. Predictable. I'd read many versions of this book before.

So... you can imagine my surprise when the first major twist comes and the book goes in a completely different direction. And it happens not once, not even twice, but three times. Or maybe it was more. I lost count.

Harding shares some of Lee's backstory. Borrowing money off the wrong person to open her restaurant. Then COVID hits. She declares bankruptcy but her dodgy investor still wants his money. Lee has no option but to take off and now finds herself living in her car, talking her way into public swimming pool locker rooms to use their showers and relying on free dinners from the bar she's working in.

Hazel's tale is almost too bizarre to be true as she's essentially married (contracted by 'Total Power Exchange') to a wealthy lawyer; treated like a slave and her movements monitored. Although I realised something was simmering beneath the surface, I liked their friendship. We're privy to the relationship through Lee's eyes and voice as narrator but it's obvious neither judged the other. They didn't even really offer pity, just a way out. For Hazel it's escape. For Lee it's a chance to get her life back on track and it's looking more promising as she's met someone she wants to be with.

And then things change. Spoiler alert, there's a murder. We knew something was coming but what comes next is what surprised me, and though I'm reluctant to spoil it for others, I'll offer this... we go back in time and our narrator changes. We're offered a different point of view.

This is a really clever and twisty read from Harding. I really liked the characters she offers us here, with layers of depth and full of surprises. I think I've only read one other book by Harding, The Perfect Family, last year. In my review I mention the twists and the fact she plays with the timeline but I didn't enjoy it as much as this. It certainly seems to be an indicator however that she's a writer I need to read more of. 

4.5 stars

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