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THE SEAWOMEN by Chloe Timms

Everyone on this island has a story. This is mine.

Esta has known nothing but Eden’s Isle her whole life. After a fire left her orphaned and badly scarred, Esta was raised by her grandmother in a deeply religious society who cut itself off from the mainland in the name of salvation. Here, fear rules: fear of damnation, fear of the outside world and fear of what lurks beneath the water – a corrupting evil the islanders call the Seawomen.

But Esta wants more than a life where touching the water risks corruption, where her every move is watched and women are controlled in every aspect of their lives. Married off, the women of the island must conceive a child within their appointed motheryear or be marked as cursed and cast into the sea as a sacrifice in an act called the Untethering.

When Esta witnesses a woman Untethered she sees a future to fear. Her fate awaits, a loveless marriage, her motheryear declared. And after a brief taste of freedom, the insular world Esta knows begins to unravel…

The Seawomen is a fiercely written and timely feminist novel, at once gothic, fantastical and truly unforgettable.

Title : The Seawomen
Author : Chloe Timms
Format : Physical
Page Count : 320
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Studio
Release Date : June 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5

Micky’s 4.5 star review

4.5 stars

Feminist, fantastical, fuming
Misogyny wrapped in religious abuse
Impeccable description, atmospheric

What a debut this book is. It was fresh, tense and the themes were dark and sad but it was a read that will stay with you and impact you. The story encapsulated the experiences of a young girl, Esta as she journeyed into adulthood. This island she resided on was set in a dystopian future but in a community that had removed themselves from the world to live in a bigoted, patriachial and abusive religious community, all about control.

This story evoked such an impressively described setting. I immediately began to imagine St Kilda or the Faroe Islands until later I realised the setting was more Shetlands or Orkney. The life this community lead was miserable and fearful…they were fearful of the seawomen. The sea was seen as evil to women and women were treated like potential witches of old.

How the story rolled out was unexpected, how Esta evolved as she grew was the kind of situation you couldn’t look away from, willing her on, telling her to persevere and not capitulate. There were a few men that had moments of empathy and Bennett was just about the only reasonable man. The women were not a community because the men in power caused a divisive atmosphere.

The second half of the book had me glued to the page, hoping for Esta, wanting her free.

I highly recommend this book for all my feminist reading friends. It has everything, a touch of dystopia, a touch of fantasy and a bucket load of great writing.

Thank you to Hodder Studio for the review copy.

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