Cover Image: The Woman Underwater

The Woman Underwater

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for the advanced digital copy of The Woman Underwater by Penny Goetjen in return for my honest review. 

While there was a good deal to like in this novel, it fell flat for this reader. I think it’s the expectation that the story is a suspenseful mystery, and although the reader will discover what happened to the main character’s missing husband, at least half the book is about how the main character was affected by his disappearance rather than uncovering the truth to his disappearance. Is it woman’s fiction, academic suspense, domestic drama, or mystery? I suppose it could be any or all of these genres, but not focusing on one led to a bit of an identity crisis. That being said, I enjoyed the novel. Penny Goetjen is a new author for me, and I will look for more of her books to read. 3.5 stars.
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I received an advanced reader copy of “The Wiman Underwater” by Penny Goetjen from Net Galley to read and review.
  In the prologue of  mystery thriller novel, the reader is introduced to  Victoria Sands who is suffering a nightmare of drowning. When awakes , shivering, alone in her bed, she is once again , as she is constantly, swamped with deep longing for her husband, Robert. He has been missing for seven years, disappeared on a trip to New York City. Neither he, his body nor his car has ever been found.
 After the prologue ,the author uses the device of going back. In time seven years to the day Robert left. It is a typically busy morning , with her two teen sons teasing one another , Robert trying to get on his way and Victoria attempting to micromanage everything and everybody. This scene give the reader a good look into her personality- and the story to come. 
   Victoria’ s character across, at least to me as a neurotic, “ helicopter” mother who tries to watch over and control her sons lives, all the while she feels the empty spot in her life left by Robert being gone. It the little and apparently New England- type town where Robert taught at an academy or prep school, we seen her as being barely able to cope. Living in a quaint cottage in the college town, she drives a Mercedes that her husband purchased  for her as a status marker. She lacks for nothing except for emotional stability. Emotionally she is a wreck, financially her travel agency is slumping.. She worries that her tenuous relationship with Vince the male friend in her life will not survive much longer her inability to commit to him and the reality that her husband is gone.  . It does not help that her mother “ has dreams” that Robert is nearby. This is a thriller so the reader can be assured of some turns and twists in the plot line, assuming that the reader can stand ( and sympathize with)  the emotional wreck that is Victoria.
  The Woman Underwater” sounds  like, reads like and could  probably be turned into a lifetime Woman -in - Peril movie. I had a hard time staying with it because the main character was so in need. But then again, as a male, I felt  that the books was aimed at the woman audience.  The author writes well and her character definition of Victoria is certainly clearly meant to be sympathetic. Readers with a good sense of emphathywill enjoy the book.
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Beautiful cover; very average book.

More contemporary fiction than suspense. There was no "chill up the spine" or rush to turn the pages.

Main character, Victoria would explain something to the reader, then change course. I think that was just bad styling, rather than wishy-washiness, as the same character was used to show both sides of a situation. That said, one often got different vibes from Tori on how she felt, in order to advance the plot. Well spelled out internal conflict would have been good, but that wasn't really evident.

On a positive note, it was nice to read a current novel that wasn't chock full of forced-in "diversity points". The characters were simply characters, without having to go into detail on physical characters or sexuality, which was nice.

Overall, it's a decent beach or cozy read.
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Though Victoria Sand's husband disappeared without a trace seven years ago on a school trip to New York City, she can't seem to let his memory go without any answers about what happened to him. Even as everyone around her urges her to move on, she feel compelled to search for answers about her husband's last days. And as her younger son perspires to go on the same trip, Victoria, dealing with other personal issues, finds herself questioning everyone around her as she finally feels the truth about her husband is within reach.

I would classify this as more of a domestic drama, rather than a mystery thriller, though there is a good mystery at its core, that of course being, who happened to Robert Sands seven years ago. But the mystery isn't really unabashed central focus of the book. The focus is more on Victoria, and how she is dealing with being left behind with no answers. She struggle with moving on and the decisions she has to make. She is kind of dating, but doesn't know if she should take it more seriously; she doesn't know how to rally reach out to her sons anymore; etc. It's seeing that journey that we connect with the most. And it was really interesting and meaningful to see her grow throughout the novel.

But of course, we do get involved in the mystery of what happened to Robert, and that is something that does get resolved by the end of the book. It wasn't a huge surprise who the responsible person(s) were, but it was a good ending and the clues were all there, so it was great to see all play out.

The only thing that was kind of random was the whole issue with her mom. At first her mother was in an assisted living home with presumed dementia, but then we were led to believe she may not have it, I guess. Then there was an added component that she also hs a bit of psychic ability, like a bit of "Seeing" ability. The whole thing was a little confusing and bizarre.

But overall, I liked this book. It didn't take me long to finish it and I was really invested in the characters, particularly Victoria and her mother, to see how they were going to make it through everything. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great drama with a bit of mystery thrown in!
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This was such a goob book. Very suspenseful. i really enjoyed the book and how the characters developed throughout the story.. This would be a great book for a book club to discuss. Lots of different angles to each of the characters. Also a great winter day read.
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A good plot with uneven pacing and a rushed climax and resolution which left a lot of unexplained points. Initially, the story seemed to follow a day to day/week by week timeline but later on the timeline started jumping forward that it became confusing to keep track of how much time had passed between the incidents. It took Victoria seven years to finally get the answers to her husband's disappearance and I liked how she never gave up even when she was advised to move on. It was good to see her two sons and her lawyer boyfriend also come aboard to help her when they also find clues that raise red flags.

The cover design is quite eye catching; it was what attracted me to the book.

My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Secret Harbour Press and the author for the e-Arc of the book.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫
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Victoria Sands experiences re-occuring dreams of drowning in water. She's convinced that something related to water explains the disappearance of her husband Robert seven years ago. This book tells the story of Victoria trying to adjust to the loss of her husband as she navigates a new empty nest and shelters her aging mother Millie. 
I like Millie. She's a spitfire even if she does say "ha" almost every time she talks.
This book doesn't flow well, though. It's choppy. And some plot details don't make sense or are left unresolved. For example, Victoria bakes cupcakes for a living, but that happens out of the blue. And her car and phone aren't synced, but we never find out why.
I also didn't connect with the mystery. While I wanted to know what happened to Robert, I almost abandoned the book because it wasn't engaging or interesting.
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The Woman underwater was hard to put down, I was really intrigued and just wanted to know what was going to happen next. The twists and turns actually surprised me and the eerie nature of the story had me on the edge of my seat. Definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
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One of my favorite things about being so present within the social media book clubs as well as Netgalley is the introductions to authors I would have not known about had it not been for these sites. Penny Goetjen, is a "new to me author" but instantly became one of my most favored authors. 

I read The Woman Underwater in one sitting. I was completely consumed by Goetjen's writing style and in awe over the way she was easily able to narrate such an intriquite and deep story. Most of us have to work hard to put our best foot forward, however, with Goetjen, you can tell this is a natural talent. 

Since concluding The Woman Underwater, I instantly went on over to Amazon to download 4 other books by Goetjen that sound equally as amazing. I just can not get enough! 

The Woman Underwater is filled with twists, turns and plenty of "shock factor" . The amount of detail and research that went into this book shows on every page. The character development was on point, I easily related to Victoria and was rooting for her the entire time. The plot was realistic and not far fetched, as sometimes thrillers tend to be. 

The Woman Underwater is an easy 5 star read that will have the creatures of social media chirping for a long time. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to read and review The Woman Underwater in exchange for an honest review! 

Great job, Goetjen! You killed it!
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The Woman Underwater
⭐⭐⭐ 3 out of 5 stars

It’s been seven years since Victoria’s husband Robert disappeared. During those years, no
witnesses, evidence or body was found. Victoria was told repeatedly to either divorce her
husband or consider him dead. But something tells her that he is still alive, wounded or lost, trying to return to his family...
This is an interesting but quite schematic position. Written in simple language, the novel
starts slowly. Just too many details from Victoria’s life are described before the first
pieces of the puzzle of her husband’s disappearance are revealed. The novel would benefit
from shifting the focus to mystery.
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This was a good read. This was the first time reading this author and she did not disappoint. The first few pages grabbed me in this story and did not let me go. Highly recommend.
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This book is a slow burner, but is definitely worth persevering with. I wasn't really sure where it was going at first, but once it picked up I was hooked and couldn't put it down. Plenty of twists to keep you guessing.
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The Woman Underwater
By Penny Goetjen

I would certainly consider this a slow burn domestic suspense/thriller and as the plot thickens, so does the thrill. The best way I can describe what my experience reading this book is like riding a roller coaster - you're sitting in the car painstakingly chugging upwards, then there's a moment where you've seem to on a precarious plateau. Any second now, you're going to plummet down the tracks and you're uncomfy and anxious. You knew well before hand that what goes up must come down, but once your car has started its rapid decline it seems like the car is falling faster and faster. Until finally, the ride is over and you're back on solid ground. 

This book has nothing to do with roller coasters, but the experience for me was one in the same. Our protagonist Victoria has two sons who she dearly loves. Her husband Robert went missing seven years ago during an annual field trip that the school Robert works for - the school that their son now attends. Victoria has been in grief for the entire seven years and can't let go of Robert - she refuses to move on when it seems like everyone else has. Robert just disappeared with no trace and Victoria is confident that he's still out there somewhere...Someone has to know something and Victoria refuses to give up hope until she gets some answers. Answers that are closer than she, or anyone else, realizes.
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I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This was a very interesting story. I find murder mysteries to be extremely interesting and super entertaining so I did enjoy reading this! I did find that at some points the story seemed to drag on and that at other times there was a lot of information all at once that just seemed to resolve a little too quickly. To be honest, I feel like it was just missing something.
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The Woman Underwater was a great thriller, fast paced and gripping. The story and mystery unravel so neatly that you can’t stop and must read on to find out what happened to Victoria’s husband. A must read!
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I loved this book! Penny Goatjen is a fabulous author and I have liked most of her books. While the ending told you all the things you needed to know, I found the epilogue more thoughtful than book related. Kept me wanting more from the author so that was disappointing but still a great book! Looking forward to more books from Penny! Thank you @netgalley for another amazing ARC
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No one disappears without a trace….

Don’t try to tell Victoria Sands that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t work that way for a woman who’s lost her husband the way she did. She was never able to say goodbye. Never able to arrange a memorial. Receive friends at the service. Write thank-you notes for the flowers and donations sent in his name. Because it didn’t happen that way.

Victoria’s husband never returned home at the end of a work day. And no one seems to know what happened to him.

In the seven years since his disappearance, no witnesses have stepped forward and no credible evidence has been collected—not even his car. The few tenuous leads the police had are now ice cold. He simply vanished on a field trip with the private boarding school where he taught behind stone walls—the same school their son now attends.

But someone has to know what happened……
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This was an interesting book. Lots of plot twists and turns. The book had a slow start but it was worth the read.
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Thank you to Netgally, Secret Harbor Press, and Penny Goetjen for allowing me to read this book and review it.

This was such a quick read for me. It gripped me from the very beginning. The writing, characters, and plot were excellent. Definitely a great, quick, and easy read for any mystery/thriller lovers. 

You get to know each character so well throughout the story, even just background characters. Everyone mentioned has some sort of impact in the story line, you just don't know every impact until the very end of the story.

You will think you know everything before the end of the story, but you won't know everything until the very end. There are so many twists and turns throughout the story, but it all wraps up so well at the end.

I knew something was wrong with Emerson from the very beginning of him being introduced. He made me so uncomfortable. However, Vince also makes me uncomfortable because of how controlling he is. I know it hints at how him and Victoria were going to work out the control issues now that they can move forward in their relationship, but it still bothers me.
***********************SPOILERS *********************************
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The Woman Underwater is a story about a woman who’s husband disappeared, and is raising two boys on her own.  Seven years later, still with no answers, Victoria is trying to move on.  Her story is one of grief and loss. It’s heartbreaking.
 The mystery of the story is what happened to Victoria’s husband. As clues start to present themself, and everyone becomes as suspect, the story starts to pick up. I did put the pieces together rather quickly, and was happy with the end.
 The real star of the show was Victoria’s mother, Millie. Millie is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, and it’s a bit nutty with no filter. I absolutely loved her, and found myself waiting for her to keep popping in. I think Millie needs her own book.
 The Woman Underwater is a quick read, mostly dialogue to push the speed. It’s a light mystery, with no blood.
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