Thank you The Write Reads for the chance to read and review Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Angela Deen. Beneath Cruel Fathoms is the first book in her The Bitter Sea trilogy, and is absolutely wonderful!
I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA
tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.
The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!
Beneath Cruel Fathoms came out in May 2019 and was published by Fine Fable Press. The sequel Between Savage Tides comes out June this year.
Beneath Cruel Fathoms is genuinely extraordinary because of how Angela Deen depicts the main characters, Lionel and Isaura. Both of them have just been through hugely traumatic situations and are still reeling from their effects of those, or, in Lionels case, still in those. Angela Deen makes it all so incredibly real that you hurt for both of them. While miscommunication is often employed a cute trope in books, in this one when it comes in you want to jump into that situation and hug them and say “No! Thats not what they meant!”
I don’t think its possible to talk about this book without spoiling it! Isaura is on her way back home after her divorce when the storm hits and destroys her ship. She and Jan have ended things because Jan felt like their love had faded away after the healers confirmed that she couldn’t have children. From the very get go you want to punch Jan in the face and tell Isaura (as thankfully her family does), that she is not a broodmare, and that plenty of people don’t have children for whatever reason and still have loving, healthy, relationships. The divorce, and the reason for the divorce, haunt her throughout the book. We see this with the repetition Jan’s words to her:
Isaura, aren’t you tired of pretending?
And we also see this when she talks about feeling broken, or thinks Leonel is leaving her because she’s broken.
Leonel has always been tortured by his half sisters. The product of his mothers affair, he was mortal and only tolerated at court until he became a guardian, whose opinion is still not valued. When he breaks the Blue Laws to save Isaura, he’s also tortured (reprimanded) for it, and told to not show his face at court for a while. He literally shows up the most valued thing he has to apologise to Isaura because he’s been taught that when he apologises he needs to give something up. His mother has always ignored him. He knows all his people are dead. He’s constantly just anticipating the next blow, and they do keep coming. I thought it was such a sad moment when his mother has to say no this isn’t a trick I want to help.
“wondered whether the truth was another landscape and his memory a map that did not match it.”
What I really did love about the book, was the way both characters really heal. That’s not to say love fixes everting, but both of them listen and are gentle to each other, and eventually themselves.
All on all, solid read, one that I would highly recommend!
“Sometimes,” Isaura said against his chest, “I wish I could talk to the devastated woman I was after the diagnosis. I wish I could tell the old me to be gentler with herself. I wish I could tell her there are still joys to look forward to. New days and new love, and she deserved them.” She smiled faintly. “I don’t know if she would’ve believed me, but it might’ve helped to hear it.”
After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. When Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
About the Author
A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently living among the tulips and windmills of the Netherlands. She now fills her days with family and fiction under rainy Dutch skies. With a house full of lovable kids, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.
Swing by her site for updates and other shenanigans: AmidTheImaginary.WordPress.com