Title: The Drowning Woman
Author: Robyn Harding
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 13, 2023
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 Toyota Corolla. In Seattle, she parks in a secluded spot by the beach to lay low and plan her next move—until early one morning, 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, that she’s trapped in a toxic, abusive marriage, that she’s a prisoner in her own home. Lee has thwarted her one chance to escape her life.
Out of options, Hazel retreats to her gilded cage, and Lee thinks she’s seen the last of her, until her unexpected return the next morning. Bonded by disparate but difficult circumstances, the women soon strike up a close and 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.
Lee Gulliver is down on her luck. She runs to Seattle after her business goes under due to the pandemic. She is living in her car and working in a place for illegals. She is in hiding after the man who helped her with the money to start her restaurant wants her to pay him back. She knows if he finds her, she won't live long. He has already shown her that he can hurt her.
One morning, Lee is sleeping near the beach when she hears a woman cry. The woman, Hazel, is trying to drown herself. Lee doesn't think twice and jumps in the water to save her. Hazel is angry with her. She tells her she is a prisoner in her own home due to an abusive husband. However, the next morning Hazel shows up next to Lee's car. She thanks her for saving her life and brings food for Lee. They start meeting every morning.
Lee starts to believe that things are turning for good. She considers Hazel to be a true friend and she meets a man named Jesse. He is sweet to her and very understanding of her situation.
Then Hazel asks her to cover for her. She is tired of the abuse and she is ready to disappear. She asks Lee to dress like her and to replace her at home in front of all the cameras while she makes her escape.
Then someone is murdered!
I like that Robyn Harding provided us with both female POVs. Lee and Hazel had in common that both wanted to disappear and escape their situations. Their ordeals sounded quite plausible. The Drowning Woman had a good couple of twists that kept the story moving forward and made it engaging from the very beginning.
A complimentary copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.