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Water Shall Refuse Them
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Water Shall Refuse Them

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The heatwave of 1976. Following the accidental drowning of her sister, sixteen-year-old Nif and her family move to a small village on the Welsh borders to escape their grief. But rural seclusion doesn't bring any relief. As her family unravels, Nif begins to put together her own form of witchcraft - collecting talismans from the sun-starved land. That is, until she meets M ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 4th 2019 by Dead Ink
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3.97  · 
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 ·  39 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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It’s the summer of 1976, the year of an infamous heatwave in the UK, and teenage Nif and her family – mum, dad and little brother Lorry – are spending a month in a cottage on the Welsh borders. Together, they’re living through the aftermath of a shared tragedy; the getaway is supposed to be a chance to recalibrate. Left largely to her own devices, Nif pairs up with the strange boy next door, Mally. Meanwhile, her parents both (for very different reasons) become fascinated by Mally's mother.

The a
Alice Slater
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this witchy ritualistic obsessive coming of age story, set in a remote English village during the heatwave of 1976. Languid, dark, tragic: it’s like The Wasp Factory meets The Girls, but also kind of like nothing else.
Dan Coxon
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having been a fan of Lucie McKnight Hardy's stories for some time, I couldn't wait to read this debut novel - and I wasn't disappointed. The term 'Folk Horror' will be used in many reviews, and rightly so. This is a novel that taps into local folklore and insular rural societies, spinning an unsettling yarn that's set in the mid-70s but feels unmistakably contemporary in its themes and concerns. Beyond that, though, I was reminded most strongly of Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory, with its Gothic r ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry but this re-telling of Scooby Doo on Zombie Island was just too predictable, unrealised and slightly naff.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Water Shall Refuse Them is an retro coming-of-age novel with a horror edge, set in a heatwave in 1970s rural Wales. Sixteen-year-old Nif, her little brother Lorry, and her parents are spending the summer in a cottage in Wales following the death of her sister. Instead of healing, the sweltering atmosphere and isolation only exacerbates their problems: her mother's grief, her father's frustration, Nif's own belief in strange rituals that might bring her answers. Nif meets a strange teenage boy, M ...more
Horror DNA
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: charlotte-stear
Depending on where you are in the world, you’re most likely experiencing some unusual weather (hello, climate change). Here in the UK we’re complaining about the soaring heat and lack of rain (our poor grass!), we love a moan, especially when it comes to weather. So the timing of Lucie Mcknight Hardy’s first novel is quite perfect. The heatwave depicted in Water Shall Refuse Them is written is such detail that sweat could be dripping from the pages, the suffocating heat intensifies the spirallin ...more
Daniel Carpenter
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and creepy folk horror novel set during a heatwave in the 70's. McKnight Hardy does a great job building the tension between outsiders in a small Welsh town and the fervently religious townsfolk. There are shades of Shirley Jackson and, as other reviewers have pointed out, The Wasp Factory about this - and there is a distinct gothic vibe throughout that Iain Banks' debut also shares, but this is less interested in the macabre Gorey set pieces that The Wasp Factory indulges in, opting ...more
Alexandra Pearson
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A good but not great book. I love a bit of Folk Horror, but felt this relied more on stereotypes of village people than conjuring up the untameable power of nature or the eerieness you can find in folk tales and lore. I also saw the end coming. It's far from terrible, and I know a lot of people will love it, but I found it a little disappointing.
Victoria E. Ellis
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Water Shall Refuse Them id the debut novel of Welsh writer Lucie McKnight Hardy. I was lucky enough to meet Lucie on one of her Waterstones tour stops and get my copy signed, as Water Shall Refuse Them is Waterstones' Welsh Book of the Month. When I first read the synopsis it sounded very similar to Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle which I first read a couple of years back (and coincidentally I intended to re-read this month ahead of the film's UK release on July 29th) and lo ...more
Rachel Louise Atkin
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Dead Ink, who are a small UK based company publishing off-the-wall, innovative, and intelligent works of fiction. I requested this because it was marketed as a Shirley Jackson-esque, coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s, which ticked the boxes of things that I love in fiction.

The novel opens with our main character, Nif, riding in the backseat of her family car, cradling a head in her lap. And it's a head that isn't attached to a body. This open
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I received a proof of this from the publisher as it is described as a Shirley Jackson novel in Wales so I was sold to begin with.
This is a coming of age novel about 16 year old Nif, who has just moved to a rural village with her family after the accidental drowning of her younger sister.
This is such a fast read and is really well paced so you constantly say "just one more chapter".
Kathryn Miller
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
An atmospheric and well-written book which is just slightly the wrong length. As a novella it could have been enigmatic and suggestive, or with some of the slighter plot threads and ideas developed more it could have become a satisfying longer novel. As it is, it's just long enough to feel a little too repetitive, for the reader's deduction and imagination to get far enough ahead of the pace of revelation that the second half of the novel lacks punch or pace, and we have time to see the eventual ...more
Deb Lancaster
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it

Dirty little tale. Sticky little book. Hateful main character. Interesting and evocative.
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