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Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

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Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
UK Publication: March 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Pan Macmilan (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review: Huh?

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep-sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah is not the same. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has brought part of it back with her, onto dry land and into their home.

Moving through something that only resembles normal life, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had before might be gone. Though Leah is still there, Miri can feel the woman she loves slipping from her grasp.

Our Wives Under The Sea is the debut novel from Julia Armfield, the critically acclaimed author of salt slow. It’s a story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep deep sea.

My Thoughts:  I got to the end of reading this and was left thinking what did I just read and what actually happened.

This is a weird story told in two timelines we have present day from the point of Miri as she deals with the woman who has returned from under sea and replaced the Leah she knew and loved. Then you had Leah’s story about what happened under the sea.

While the writing can be beautiful it is cold and distance and any suspense that could have been built in Leah’s chapters was lost purely from the remote way the events were told. This book could have gone in several directions that would have been more interesting than what the reader got, we could have explored who and what “the centre” is, we could have explored what went wrong with the sub and why, we could have explored what it was that actually happened to Leah and we could have explored anything outside of Miri and Leah’s home but we didn’t and so we get a very skewed view of events (skewed to the point that this reader doesn’t know what they have just read).

While the book itself left me cold I did appreciate the ending and believe it was really the only way this story could go.

Who would like this? If you like character books where even dramatic events feel as if nothing has really happened go for it.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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