‘The Water Cure’ by Sophie Mackintosh #BookReview #NetGalley

the water cure

Author: Sophie Mackintosh

Genre: Dystopian 

Format: Hardcover 256 pages

Release Date:  24 May 2018

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

My Rating: ***

I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


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.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018. 

You can order your copy of ‘The Water Cure’ on Amazon at:


My Thoughts

This book is narrated in turn by the three sisters, Lia, Sky and Grace. They have been conditioned to believe that the world is contaminated and that men are the worst kind of evil and forbidden, except of course for their father, King. 

Straight away I knew something wasn’t right with this set up. It almost had a cult like feel to it. The various traditions and therapies the family partake in are not by any stretch of the imagination ‘normal’. 

This book almost has a coming of age feel about it but not in the traditional sense as the girls have been so sheltered all their lives. Their childlike innocence is a stark contrast with their parents motives and it’s almost heart breaking that the girls believe the numerous ‘therapies’ their parents subject them to is in their minds just part of normal every day life. 

Throughout the book there is mention of a time when other women used to come to the island to receive ‘the water cure’. However, it is never really explained why these woman don’t visit anymore. There are lots of other point’s that are never really fully explained either, like why are the men bad? Is the world actually contaminated? Are their parents just delusional cult leaders? 

I’ve read so many good things about this book, however,  I feel like I may have just missed the point. Maybe it was the author’s intention to leave us purposefully in the dark about so many issues to leave us in the same position the girls would have been in. For me though, I personally prefer a book that if it is shrouded in mystery, as this one was, that there are enough clues or information for me as the reader to piece together the answers I want to finish the book having. 

All in all though this is a haunting book with some beautiful prose. Despite much ambiguity, which i’m sure was intentional, I did enjoy the authors writing and it would not put me off reading any of her future work. 

About the Author

Mackintosh was born in South Wales and grew up in Pembrokeshire. When she started writing, her initial focus was on poetry, but gravitated towards prose fiction, which she has combined around holding various jobs during her 20s.

She is bilingual, and cites Welsh mythology and Angela Carter as influences. Mackintosh enjoys running and eating, and as of 2018, is working on her second novel.

Her novel The Water Cure was released in May 2018. According to The Guardian‘s review, the novel exposes the parts of real life that are usually not confronted in the world.

For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks

One Comment Add yours

  1. shalini says:

    I am undecided by the story, hence on the fence…


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