The Water Cure

The Water Cure


Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them - three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.

The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation.

Our Review

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh was a must read for me as soon as I saw it has both been compared to my favourite book The Handmaid’s Tale and also that it has been recommended by my favourite author Margaret Atwood.

Sisters Lia Grace and Sky have grown up on an Island with their mother and recently deceased father. The Mainland has been contaminated but is still accessible by boat for the purchase of necessities at great personal risk.

Out of necessity the book is vague on the details of what exactly happened to make it so and at times this can be frustrating until you realise why the author has chosen to write it in this way.

It Is clear as the book progresses that their mother and King, their father had brought the children up in a highly unusual and abusive fashion. The girls are expected to take part in ‘therapies’ to protect themselves from the outside world.

These therapies consist of things such as ‘the drowning game’ and ‘drawing irons’ to allocate love.

“We would all still love each other; but what it meant was, if there was a burning fire, if two sisters were stuck in the inferno and they were screaming a name, the only right thing would be to pick the one the iron dictated to save.

It’s important to ignore any contrary instinct of your traitor heart. We were quite used to that.”

Emotions are things to be feared and tightly controlled to the point where even love is seen as something to ration and use. Men are something to be feared and avoided at all costs with the exception of King.

Then three men wash up on the island unexpectedly and the girls are introduced to the concept of sexuality and begin to lapse in their devotion to the therapies.

At its most basic The Water Cure is a novel about the complex bond between three sisters and the lengths they will go to in order to protect each other.

One thing I had not come across previously was the use of chapters written in the perspective of multiple characters, for example, the chapters written from the perspective of all of three of the sisters at once. Each one of the sisters’ individual identity was supressed by their parents and this is reflected in the writing style used by the author.

Having said this, I can understand why some people found this a struggle. It is my ideal kind of read because I love dystopia’s but the pacing in the beginning of the book was an issue for me and I struggled initially to get into it.

The Water Cure contains everything I love in a book and has become one of my favourites of 2018. The premise of the book is very good and will stay with you long after finishing.  A haunting and promising debut.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4/5

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