Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield | Book Review

Subtle devastation. 

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Released March 2022

Source: Library Borrow

Goodreads  | Amazon

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 2 Cents for Free!

“The deep sea is a haunted house.”

This book was so very somber. It's a beautifully written story with many layers but a pallor of melancholy hangs over everything. I went in coldish. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. I knew it was a sad book after seeing a little discussion on the Horror Spotlight chat but it was the wrong book to pick to listen to on the only two sunny days we've had around here. It threw me into a bit of a funk and I had to keep switching it out for something lighter.

Anyhow, Miri's wife heads out to sea on an exploration expedition that was supposed to last three weeks. Instead it lasts six months and now nothing will ever be the same. As the story progresses we get the POV of both Miri and Leah (her wife), we're told the story of their romance, witness Miri's loneliness when Leah is away and watch as things disintegrate in so many ways. There is some subtle but also frighteningly brutal body horror here. I know that doesn't seem to make sense so you'll have to trust me on that.

As I mentioned the writing is extremely beautiful and it's very much literary fiction with a side of horror. Just be prepared to have your heart stomped upon!

Narration Notes: The narration added to the feelings of gloom, despair and sadness. It might've been easier in paper, tbh. The dual narrators do too good of a job expressing the grief that drips from the words.



  1. Wow sounds pretty heavy. I usually like some sea horror but if I read this I'll make sure to do it on a suny day so I don't get depressed! :)

    1. It's very somber from beginning to end or at least the audio made me feel that way. You'll definitely need something a little lighter when finished.


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