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The Woman Underwater

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Member Reviews

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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Penny Goetjen's The Woman Underwater is a stirring novel about loss, love, trust, and family. I honestly went into this thinking that it was a thriller novel, but it felt more like contemporary (women's) fiction.

The premise really hooked me. Sadly, the storytelling itself failed to keep me interested. I dragged through because I really thought it would have some kind of thrill or at least, an air of mystery to it. Throughout the book, I kept wondering where the story was going and what it really was about because it got confusing in some parts. The first 60% was so dragging and nothing was happening. The dialogue was so robotic at times that it didn't feel like humans talking. Some things in the book didn't contribute to the story at all.

The book kind of redeemed itself in the last 30%, but some things that unfolded didn't make sense. At some point, it felt like the author was just trying to make all the pieces fit. The reveal about what happened was so underwhelming. 

However, I did like the general message of the story. It's not the best, but it's not bad.
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The Woman Underwater is a poignant story about a woman, Victoria, who is dealing with the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Robert, a history teacher at a prestigious private boarding school. He disappeared during an out-of-state school field trip, in which he was a chaperone. Seven Years later, Victoria and her two sons, Jameson and Harrison, are still determined to find answers or any leads regarding Robert’s disappearance, unfortunately no one has been able to find any evidence, witnesses, or even information. Victoria’s friends and family have told her that after so long, it is in her best interest to move on with her life and relinquish her hopes of Robert coming back home one day.


Victoria is a very practical and anxious person who is devoted to her two sons. When her mother, moves back into her home from an assisted care facility due to her progressing dementia, Victoria has to readjust to having another person living with her and her mother’s outspoken and whimsical personality. As the annual senior school field trip is approaching for her son, Harrison, Victoria becomes increasingly anxious and worried for the safety of her son, since this was the same field trip Robert had disappeared from seven years prior. Slowly, more information regarding Robert’s disappearance comes to light when others find clues and discrepancies.


I liked reading this book and enjoyed the dynamics between all of the characters. Penny Goetjen tells the story with such detailed imagery and does a good job with building the suspense throughout the book. The characters are well-rounded, loveable, yet flawed. The ending is a bit predictable but also unexpected.
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Self-publishing is a tough road, with so much editorial responsibility to take on. This book is professional beyond reproach. Penny's writing is lyrical and engrossing, and while descriptions often overtake the page, the line-level writing sings. Will make sure to keep Penny Goetjen in mind for any of her future releases.
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Hm. I didn't like this as much as I thought I would...

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.
But someone has to know what happened. And that someone may be closer to Victoria than she realizes.

The first half of the book was very slow, very detailed, as if the intention was to first create the atmosphere and a sense of the characters without diving much into the plot or character development.
Throughout that part I didn't understand why everything was described as meticulously as it was and to be honest... I still think that most of it could have been left out without having a negative impact on the story.
After the halfway point I noticed a few inconsistencies and descriptions, as well as random connections and statements made by characters that really perplexed me. They just seemed to be plucked out of thin air.
Also, the pacing changed. Where in the first half the day to day was over-described, in the second half the chapters seemed more disconnected from each other and skipping actions in the storyline. It felt disorientating and kind of annoying.
Towards the end the conversations became wooden and unnatural and made it really hard to finish the book. The last chapters felt rushed as if to tie up last loose ends and the characters' actions just felt unrealistic and very over the top.
And even thought each character seemed to have their own distinctive voice, it didn't feel like I read a story but more of a authors cut of the book with additional commentary. Do you know what I mean? There was just too much of the author's knowledge in there.

The whole time I was aware I was reading a book and I wasn't as captivated by the story as I normally would have been.
I didn't connect with any of the characters and throughout two thirds of the story I actually forgot this was supposed to be a mystery(?). I'm still not sure about the genre to be honest.

What I will say, though, if you're somebody who enjoys experiencing a story with all five senses, this book might be for you. If you don't mind a slow-burn and a grand finale you should give this a go!
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This is the first I have read by this author and for the most part I enjoyed the book. The story was great and despite some areas where I thought it dragged a bit, I was captivated enough to stay with it. I’m glad I did because overall, I felt the author redeemed herself with the finishing touches. Though I was not riveted, I will read more from this author. I was given an advanced copy by Netgalley for an honest review and my opinions are my own.
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Victoria’s life has drastically changed since the disappearance of her husband, years earlier. She’s now a caretaker of her ailing mother and her son has left for school. She still suffering from the aftermath of her husband’s tragedy. The premise of the story was interesting and grabs the reader’s attention. In my honest opinion, it seemed like the story was scattered in different directions. But, it comes together nicely at the end, which is great. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Secret Harbor Press, LLC for this ARC, I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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The Woman Underwater by Penny Goetjen is my first book by this author.  When I read the synopsis and saw the cover, I was very excited, sounded like my kind of book!  The book has mystery and suspense, and even some paranormal flare to it.  It started out like it was going to grab you to keep reading, but I felt it slowed down goes off more on others things going on in the book.  What I thought was a murder mystery kind of fizzled out until the end and even that did not turn out to be a page turner for me!  I was a little disappointed that it was not what I expected, but I recommend you read it and form your own opinion.

Thank you NetGalley, Secret Harbor Press and Penny Goetjen for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
#netgalley  #secretharborpress.  #arc #pennygoetjen
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netgalley copy : i don't know how to feel about this, but it didn't throughly suck i guess.
"Yet the heart doesn’t always listen to reason. The heart yearns to love." i mean? poetic
but yea no i didn't really connect with it despite knowing i should? i don't know, so 2 stars.
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I really enjoyed reading The Woman Underwater by author Penny Goetjen. It was my first time reading this author and I found her writing style very easy to read. I’d classify this as a murder mystery that has other elements included such as premonitions that I’d consider paranormal. The main character, Victoria, a mother of 2 teenaged sons, has been dealing with the aftermath of a missing husband. He’s been gone for 7 years with absolutely no trace of where he could be. No body, no car, is he dead or could he still be alive? He disappeared while chaperoning his students on a trip to NYC. He was a history teacher at a private boarding school. It’s the same school where his youngest son now attends and the older one once did. Victoria’s mother, who has come to live with her, is experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s. It is she that has the premonitions, and she’s usually spot on with what she sees. Victoria herself receives signs or clues through her dreams. I thought it was really clever how the author wrote that into the storyline. I found this to be a very gripping and intense read and I really enjoyed it a lot! I would recommend it to others and I might even purchase a physical copy for myself. I’d like to thank NetGalley for the arc that I found on the Read Now section. This is a very good story and I’m happy that I found a new author to enjoy. I’m giving this a 5 star rating because the story held my interest and kept me wanting to read more!
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