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The Seawomen by Chloe Timms

Becky Grace

22 Sept 2023

They say wickedness lies in the sea...

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 which 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...


Chloe Timms is a writer from the Kent coast. She went to Southampton University to study psychology and then after teacher training, she moved back to Kent to work as a primary school teacher for a few years. Her love of writing never disappeared and with several unfinished novels sat on her computer she decided to take her creativity more seriously and embarked on a Masters at Kent University and then won a scholarship to the Faber Academy in London. Outside of writing, Chloe is also a disability rights campaigner, and has raised awareness of several issues on BBC News and radio, ITV Meridian and the Guardian. As of 2022 she is also a podcast host, having launched Confessions of a Debut Novelist, interviewing new authors about their work and route into publication.

Chloe Timms is a writer from the Kent coast. After a career in teaching, Chloe studied for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Kent and won a scholarship for the Faber Academy where she completed their six-month novel writing course.

Since its publication in 2022, The Seawomen has received major acclaim, being described as "an evocative and atmospheric read" and Chloe is now working on her second novel.

Beyond her writing, Chloe is passionate about disability rights, having been diagnosed with the condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 18 months old, and has campaigned on a number of crucial issues. She also hosts the fantastic podcast Confessions of a Debut Novelist, interviewing new authors about their work and route into publication.

Chloe Timms will be in conversation with Dr Jane Shankar on Sunday 8 October from 1–2pm at the stunning Maidstone Museum.

Get tickets now!

Praise for The Seawomen

An unsettling and lushly-written reimagining of witch trials, exploring fertility, control and how what we believe can save us - or destroy us. The Handmaid's Tale meets The Shape of Water.

― Kirsty Logan, author of The Gloaming

A gripping tale of love and bravery; The Seawomen immerses you in its watery world.

— Sophie Ward, author of Booker longlisted Love and Thought Experiments

This book sucked me under and held me in its gorgeous, terrifying embrace. It's a rare treat to read a story so gripping told in such beautiful prose. Dive in and don't look back.

— Zoe Gilbert, author of Folk

Richly atmospheric, powerful and provocative. A raw and beautiful coming of age story.

― Caroline Lea, author of The Glass Woman

Fiercely feminist and utterly unique. Timms is a bold new talent. This is a story about oppression, the bonds that tie us - and the lies that break us. Suspenseful and intensely engaging, from Timms' lyrical writing to the genre-bending, unpredictable plot, you won't be able to put this one down.

― Natasha Ngan, bestselling author of the Girls of Paper and Fire series

Hold your breath and hang on to hope. Perfect for fans of The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan and The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Seawomen is a captivating and sometimes terrifying debut that will sweep you out to sea.

― Jen Campbell, author of The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

I read this beautiful novel in a fever dream, its sweeping prose carrying me away like a boat out at sea. Chloe Timms has written an extraordinary tale of one woman's desire for freedom, for love. Mesmerising and moving, I couldn't put it down. I have no doubt it will feature on everyone's lists.

― Susannah Wise, author of This Fragile Earth

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