Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Water's Lovely” as Want to Read:
The Water's Lovely
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Water's Lovely

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,064 ratings  ·  298 reviews
'Weeks went by when Ismay never thought of it at all. Then something would bring it back or it would return in a dream. The dream began in the same way. She and her mother would be climbing the stairs, following Heather's lead through the bedroom to what was on the other side, not a bathroom in the dream but a chamber floored and walled in marble. In the middle of it was a ...more
Paperback, 409 pages
Published August 2nd 2007 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Water's Lovely, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Water's Lovely

Silence by Becca FitzpatrickStarcrossed by Josephine AngeliniTorment by Lauren KateSo Shelly by Ty RothHereafter by Tara Hudson
453rd out of 493 books — 134 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Ruth Rendell’s skill in penning psychologically based mystery/suspense novels is reaffirmed in each of my readings of her novels. I was not disappointed by this. She has again plumbed the broad expanse of the complexities of the human psyche. This intricate plot encompasses love, deceit, obsession, greed and chicanery, to name a few emotions.

It is remarkable to me that Rendell is able to spin her imaginative, mesmerizing tales utilizing her vivid, well-turned prose. This rich, meticulously pace
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
My second Ruth Rendell novel, I’m absolutely blown away by this writer! I love her great characterizations; Marion Melville in particular is a vicious piece of work, totally despicable. The vulnerable people at the heart of this story are the Sealand family, particularly Heather who's assumed to have drowned her unsavory stepfather Guy in the bath. Characters include the above mentioned Marion Melville who cozies up to the lonely and aged in hopes of inheriting their property after she's poisone ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've been a Rendell/Vine fan since I read "A Fatal Inversion". Nothing has ever come up to the breathtaking experience of that book, but nevertheless she remains one of my favourite writers.

I'm actually wondering about the Rendell/Vine distinction, which seems less clear as time goes on. Her Rendell novels used to tend to be more straightforward detective fiction (not only the Wexfords) and her Vine more in the realm of psychological thriller. "The Water's Lovely" seems to me to be more in the V
There are few authors writing in any genre that hold a candle to Ruth Rendell when she is at her best. Although she has a long-running traditional procedural mystery series featuring Inspector Wexford, in my opinion it is her stand-alone books written either as Rendell or Barbara Vine that best showcase her talents. She is one of the the best plotters in the business, setting up her characters and intrigues like an enormous chessboard where she knows the endgame before she lays a finger on the f ...more
Well, I suggested the book group read this, just because we previously mentioned reading something by Ruth Rendell, but boy, am I sorry. There are clearly characters, and a plot, but the book is missing a reason. Why read it? Indeed, why did she write it? This book is populated by assholes, morons, and crazy people, mostly psychopaths. That's it. Well, maybe Heather is okay. And Edmund ultimately turns out to be not as much of a schmuck as he started out being. Ismay is a moron, Andrew is an ass ...more
Ruth Rendell is one of a small group of writers whose writing is so top-notch, it transcends the mystery genre. Her books are meticulously plotted, with disparate elements that come together in the last few pages. I have read nearly everything she has written over the years, and have come to hold her in high regard.

All that being said, I was disappointed by this book. It was fairly easy to see where the story was heading, and there were just too many neat coincidences to make the plot ring true.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
AM I FROM THIS PLANET!? Do we seriously live in a world where women are only shrews, hypochondriacs, conniving blackmailers, or stupid super models, and the men are only hen-whipped, abusive assholes, petty criminals or idiots?? Really? I might have tolerated the story line of Ismay pining away for an emotionally abusive partner if a) we'd actually seen more of the cycle of abuse, good times, bad times, good times, bad times or b) if the other characters hadn't been so thoroughly unlike-able.

Janet Gogerty
Another paperback I picked up in a charity shop because of the author's name. A good story with twists and turns I did not guess. Writing in the third person, darting back and forth amongst various characters, much of the fun and suspense comes from the reader thinking he or she knows more about them than the characters themselves, or do we. It is also amusing to follow someone like Marion, then suddenly see her through another's eyes.
This is an example of a story set in a specific time so that
Bah, humbug. This one was going along well enough, and it completely fell apart in the last 30-40 pages. What I like about Rendell is the way she sets multiple threads of plot in motion and inexorably draws them together into a web of revelations and ironically perfect fates for the villains. This book started out fine, lots of promising elements... long-ago mysterious death hidden by the family and never discussed (shades of The Minotaur and A Dark-Adapted Eye), sociopathic blackmailer, foresha ...more
Nancy Oakes
Normally, I really enjoy the works of Ruth Rendell, but to be perfectly honest, this one wasn't even worthy of her. Rarely do I finish a book and say "that was awful," but this one did it.

Not one of Rendell's best, The Water's Lovely is really the story of the relationship between sisters. Ismay, the elder sister, knows a secret about the other sister, Heather, that has had life-changing consequences, including driving their mother Beatrix a bit insane. Now Heather has a serious boyfriend to who
This is a very English crime novel. Somehow such crimes as ingratiating yourself with a little old lady so that she changes her will in your favour, then attempting to poison her by pouring morphine over her cream dessert, always seem to belong more to England than anywhere else. (How proud we are!) There are other crimes on display here – blackmail and murder, to name but two; indeed the book does go to some very dark places – but the tone always manages to stay beautifully genteel. Even when s ...more
This book is different than her Wexley mystery series. This is an excellent stand-alone thriller. Thirteen years ago, Ismay Sealand's step-father drowned in the bathroom. Years later, she maintains a close friendship with her sister Heather, while grabbing hold onto her boyfriend Andrew, who doesn't like her. Actually, it tears them apart. When her boyfriend's newest flame gets murdered, she suspects Heather did it, as she suspects Heather drowned their step-father. Meanwhile, Marion Melville is ...more
The Water's Lovely never quite came together for me the way I hoped it would. It's almost like an ensemble sitcom -- there are so many stories and no true main character(s) that it's hard to care too much about anyone in particular.

Each subplot is well written and interesting, but none of them particularly stand out. Perhaps it would have worked better as a collection of related short stories, with the most prominent (about the water) at novella length?

(Part of my annoyance was figuring out the
Vickie Britton
Ruth Rendell is my favorite writer so she almost always gets 5 stars. That may seem generous but that's how I feel. If it wasn't for her books I feel sometimes I wouldn't have anything good to read. My tastes run toward the literary mystery. I am a mystery writer. Though most of my novels are not in this genre, I really enjoy reading them and might try my hand someday. This book had a chillng ending that really stayed with me.

For a more indepth review of mine of The Water's Lovely, please visit
This is one of the best Ruth Rendell book I have read. These are murder mysteries. Rendell is such a strange writer. She has no mercy for her characters fate, nor does she see it as any of her business to set the (fictional) world right in terms of what we might think is just. When, as in this book, there are some sympathetic characters one fears for how they might fare in her hands. She has a mordant sense of humor and there is at least satisfaction to be had from her scathing send up of bad hu ...more
At first, this book had all the ingredients of a perfect suspense/mystery novel: fascinating characters, sparkling yet believable dialogue, intriguing hints at a darkness in the pasts of the two sisters at the story's centre. But the final few chapters fell painfully flat. (view spoiler) ...more
Martha Groeber
This is one of Ruth Rendell's stand-alone novels, not in the Inspector Wexford series. I have had mixed feelings about her stand-alone novels. They are all tightly paced, intriguing stories; however, some can lean to the gruesome side. I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. Rendell never shies away from revealing the psychological intricacies of the human mind. She paints even her pathological characters in such a way that they seem believable and realistic. As much as one may dislike a cha ...more
A. Roy King
"The Water's Lovely" is one of Ruth Rendell's superb suspense stories. Rendell is perhaps best known for her Inspector Wexford novels, which are very good also, but I have always enjoyed more her one-off suspense stories.

Rendell has a way of opening up the inner lives of her characters and even of making sympathetic characters of her villains. Not that you end up rooting for them necessarily, but you do get to understand what makes them tick, and she manages to portray them as believable, multi-
This one is a page turner which keeps the reader guessing throughout and then finishes with quite a surprise. Ruth Rendell always writes well and she makes the reader feel really involved with her characters. She also does not do what one expects with those characters - sometimes her goodies get the bad ending and the baddies live happily ever after. An unusual twist. Most enjoyable!
Ann M
Good genre mystery, tho not her best. Nice portrait of two sisters and their relationship -- which one is the crazy one, or are they both sane but victims of their own misperceptions. Very likeable and wry, with several unpleasant or dotty individuals -- what I like best about Rendell, I think, her rounded cast of characters. She does draw women very well, and the inspector is a hoot.
Ruth Rendell write disturbing psychological thriller-ish books and this one is no exception. Perhaps not really a thriller, but definitely suspenseful. But sooo depressing. Ending was a bit blah, too.
I think Rendell is the master of psychological mysteries and interesting characters. This is another great story.
My cup of tea. Off to find others by Barbara Vine.
The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell is a well written and suspenseful story about two sisters, Ismay and Heather Sealand. I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it; I really wanted to find out what happened! (view spoiler) ...more
Repetitive and boring.
It took me a while to get into the author's writing style: very simple sentences, straightforward almost to the point of being too simplistic in thought, and taking one idea and practically beating it to death. But after a while, that became the beauty of her writing style. The main plot itself was so simple that for a long while I thought that eventually she's going to introduce a spin to it or some huge, unexpected event. Neither happens. The majority of the "action" occurs in the thoughts of ...more
From the first the story felt like a Gothic thriller. Sisters Ismay and Heather live in the downstairs flat, with their mad mother and her sister on the floor above. The house was remodeled into two apartments after Ismay's stepfather, Guy, mysteriously drowned in the bathtub. No one ever talks about what happened, but Ismay suspects that Heather, who was 13 at the time, murdered Guy because she witnessed Guy kissing the 15 year old Ismay.

Ten years later, Heather works as a caterer at a nursing
In this audio book mystery thriller, two sets of sisters share a home. Beatrix and Pamela live in the upstairs flat and Ismay and Heather, daughters of Beatrix live downstairs. Some nine years earlier Ismay and Heather's stepfather Guy, was found floating face up in the bathtub.

The sisters still live in the same home and they have not talked about the day their stepfather died. Now, however, since Heather is involved in a serious relationship, her older sister Ismay wonders if this same thing co
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Minotaur
  • Morti di carta
  • Il labirinto greco
  • truecrime
  • The Devil's Feather
  • The Black Curtain
A.K.A. Barbara Vine

Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also writes under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, is an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries.
More about Ruth Rendell...
From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1) A Judgement in Stone The Babes in the Wood (Inspector Wexford, #19) A Sight for Sore Eyes Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15)

Share This Book

“People are different in reality from the way you've seen them while making scenarios in your mind. For one thing, they're less consistent. They surprise you all the time.” 0 likes
“She didn't really know London, only lived in it.” 0 likes
More quotes…