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Beneath Cruel Fathoms

(The Bitter Sea Trilogy #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  110 reviews
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 enlist ...more
ebook, 386 pages
Published May 2019 by Fine Fables Press
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Anela Deen I'd say adult. The MCs are 25 and 30.…moreI'd say adult. The MCs are 25 and 30.(less)

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Miranda Reads
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Annnd here's the second episode of Some Good News - BookTube Special Edition - this time featuring some good news from Anela Deen!

A huge thank you to her and all of the other contributors!

Looking for a new book? Here are some of my favorite self-pub, indie and smaller author-books in my Latest Book Tube Video.
The Written Review:

Human bodies floated among the wreckage in breathless suspension...
Isaura Johansdottir was traveling back to her father's home after a failed marriag
I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way. All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof and are subject to change.

It was honestly more of a 3.5 but the first half was great, so I'm rounding up.

Love and friendship. Shame and heartache. Endings and beginnings.

Obligatory Summary

Isaura is on a boat, going back home to her father's house after a failed marriage, but the sea has been behaving most strangely, an
Renaissance Kate
To say that I adored this book would be an understatement. The perfect blend of fantasy and romance, Beneath Cruel Fathoms ensnared me from page one and kept me enthralled throughout its entirety. I laughed, I cried, and I cheered as Isaura and Leonel faced their deepest internal struggles while falling deeply in love and fighting to save the people and places most dear to them. While I always look forward to reading at the end of the day, this is the first book in awhile that had me wishing the ...more
✨Bean's Books✨
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great storytelling...
A storm comes up out of nowhere and sinks Isaura's ship leaving no survivors except for her. She is left for dead in the middle of the ocean. But she's in luck because Leonel, the last of the merfolk and protector of the seas, is investigating where these storms are coming from. He saves her, and together they team up to solve the mystery of the violent storms. Secrets and betrayal lie ahead for the two as their bond grows ever closer. The question is, will they survive long
Althea ☾
*Thank you to Anela Deen for sending me a copy to review along with a beautiful print*

Karima chermiti
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2019

Trigger warning : Talk of infertility , Drowning, Torture and violence

Funny enough this book was never on my radar if it wasn’t for a co-worker and now it’s one of the best fantasy books I read this year. Lately, I’ve been struggling with YA fantasy with each book more and more so I feel like I’m getting more enjoyment from the adult ones and this one were no different.

The story revolves around Isaura Johansdottir whose ship gets destroyed by a vicious sudden storm and loses all hope of rescue w
Stories of Storm
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 HAPPY STARS 🌟 Had this one sitting on my shelf for so long and I’m so glad I finally read it. My only contention: what took me so long?!?!
Naia Pard
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mermaids, gods, magic, 2pov
Disclaimer: I received this book from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

Shall we dive straight in? (yes, the pun was intended)

There are two main characters. The reader gets to see the perspective of both Isaura and Leonel as they intermediately appear, one chapter after the other.
The book opens with Isaura`s POV as she is crossing the sea. She is a healer (I got some serious vibes of the Outlander season four) that behaves more than well with the crew (there is a serious description o
Melissa (thereaderandthechef)
*This review can also be found on The Reader and The Chef. Huge thanks to the author & MTMC Tours for the review copy. All thoughts are my own.*

Beneath Cruel Fathoms is my new favorite book!!! This amazing story took me by storm (pun fully intended) and I am still floating in the aftermath of its magnificence. I absolutely LOVED IT. From the world building full of norse ocean mythology to the funny, smart and kind characters–everything captivated me!

I will start off by saying that this book has
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books
4,5 beautiful stars!

Finishing Beneath Cruel Fathoms had me happy and sad all at once. Happy because it was such a great read and sad because I couldn’t immediately start the second book haha. It’s a book that I thoroughly loved reading and it left me craving more instantly.

“Hunters come. They are- What is your word? They have fin on top.” He made a sharp whistle and jutted his fingers upward and toward his back. “Sharks?” She squeaked. “Is that what you mean?” “Yes, those.” “But you’re stron
For a while, I've been trying to find a good mermaid book that would grab me from the beginning and not let go till the last page. Unfortunately, ever since I finished To Kill a Kingdom, no other mermaid book has been good enough for me. Some were boring, some were a bit weird, some just couldn't catch my interest at all. Until I've read Beneath Cruel Fathoms (which I enjoyed even more than 'TKAK').


This book has dual POV between Isaura and Leonel.

I absolutely adored Leonel. Thanks to
Intisar Khanani
This was a heart-achingly poignant story, and I mean to write a review that does it justice. For now, I'll just say: alternative world with norse mythology, plus a merman and a healer who are equally broken and incredibly strong? Oh, and they have to save the world together? Adventure, magic, and all the feels. Read it now. ...more
Simoné Eloff
Update 6/9/2020: I should be more eloquent with this review, and I should be saying way more than I'm going to, but I fell into the trap of leaving it too long and forgetting what I wanted to say in the first place. I need to stop doing that.

So, in the interest of just getting you to READ THIS BOOK (which you absolutely have to, given that you're reading this review and therefore are already considering giving it a go), I'm going to keep it short and totally feeling-centric.

This book is not with
Terrible Timy
Beneath Cruel Fathoms was in RockStarlit BookAsylum's group of 30 in SPFBO 5 and made it to be one of our semi-finalists. It definitely one of my top 3 as well after reading up to 25% of each book. I was thinking to coming back to it some day, but I didn't expect it to be so soon. The author was kind enough to gift me a paperback and I just found myself drawn to it as it lay on my desk. And so, I immersed myself in this world and man, it was a ride. I believe that I had to read this book right n ...more
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Oct 05, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr-jar
I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. The cover looks gorgeous, and I cannot wait to start reading it!

Excitement level - over 3000!!!

Wishlist | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Sometimes you come across books that you really enjoy, other times you come across books that leave you unsatisfied. And SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES you happen to cross paths with a book that just blows all your expectations out of the water and makes you remember why you love reading so much in the first place.

Beneath Cruel Fathoms was that sort of a book for me.

If you know me, you know that I absolutely live for fantasy novels. Out of all the genres I love, fantasy is my absolute favorite. So no
Veronica (Honey Roselea Reads)
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc-booksirens
My Blog | My BookTube | My Book Club | Instagram | Twitter

Thank you to BookSirens for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I have a review coming out on my blog on December 8, 2020 at 10 am CST. Here is the link for when the time comes to the review. For now, here is a preview as to what the review looks like:

Update: here is the link: the review


Mermaids and humans. Two different worlds that don't expect to collide, intertwine with force and, in the most unexpected ways, love
Lennie  (lennie_reads)
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book, arc
I received this copy from @booksirens but the views are my own.


'You are not abnormal. You are not broken. You are perfect, and complete, and whole exactly as you are.'

👆 this quote was actually from the Author's note but it just really resonated with me.


I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down.

The story begins with Isaura, a 25 year old, recently divorced and newly qualified Healer who is (reluctantly) rescued from a shipwreck by merman, Leonel. As guardian of the Fathoms (the se
I enjoyed the Norse-myth-inspired fantasy world of this story, as well as the extremely sensitive characterisation of the two main characters, both of whom have been hurt by people close to them and are struggling to find identity - Isaura as an infertile woman, Leonel as a bastard mortal in a family of gods. The book is often beautifully written, and has thought-provoking things to say about mortality, time, empathy and grief - definitely one of those books that leave you thinking long after yo ...more
Beneath Cruel Fathoms is the first book in the adult fantasy Bitter Sea Trilogy by author Anela Deen. Anela Deen is a new author to me, but she has very powerful, descriptive writing that I really enjoyed. It is no secret that I love fantasy books, but I don't read too many adult fantasy. I really enjoyed Beneath Cruel Fathoms, so I would like to change that. Let me know your favorite adult fantasy recommendations in the comments below and I will check them out! Beneath Cruel Fathoms is a fantas ...more
Jennifer (bunnyreads)

Isaura, newly apprenticed healer and divorcee, is sailing home when a freak storm brews, tossing the ship she is aboard and she finds herself in the sea.

Leonel, mortal merman, rescues Isaura. By doing so, he is going against the Blue Laws that prohibits that sort of thing, in hopes that she can answer some questions about the unnatural storms that have been on the rise.


This really did seem my speed – it has that romance feel, the leads seem ok; I was not too attached to either but that cou
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought Beneath Cruel Fathoms would be a 4 star read and perhaps the merfolk book I'd been looking for.

I really enjoyed most of it. A nice set-up, good characters, good world-building, a mystery, a relationship that developed nicely.

But both characters' self doubt became a bit annoying after a while and then the relationship was so melodramatic towards the end.
(view spoiler)
Lady Jane
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really fun and enjoyable read. A couple of spelling errors which was a bit distracting (only because I'm a bit of a grammar-nazi) but that didn't stop me from finishing the story, which would have normally been the case. ...more
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Humans long thought the merpeople had vanished, but when a freak storm sends Isaura into the raging sea, and the ship she was on into a million pieces, one merman will risk exposure to save her life, knowing he is breaking all of the laws of his underwater kingdom.

Together they will unravel the ugly truth behind the mysterious storms that have caused death and destruction on the Failock Sea. Little did they realize the treachery they would uncover. Nor could they know how ri
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it

Doesn't friendship feed the soul? We all need people in our lives we can count on, including those we only know for a season. Even if someone isn't in your life forever, the time you knew them can change everything.

Beneath Cruel Fathoms is an uplifting tale of courage and self-reflection, set in a world dominated by the crushing pressure of expectation and dangers lurking in the depths. Anela Deen's Fantasy Romance combines the the fantastical elements of mythology with highly relatable, all
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New to me author Anela Deen has totally captivated my attention with this beautiful story. I love Norse mythology and couldn't pass the opportunity to read this book.

The book starts off a bit slow, but the worldbuilding is quite fascinating and I loved all the details about the Norse Gods and the protagonist's backstories. Once the pace picks up it was hard to put the book down, I found myself glued to the pages.

“We aren’t defined only by our failures and sorrows. I’m starting to believe we’re
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Isaura is travelling home after her marriage fell apart. While crossing the sea back to Eisland, the ship is torn apart and she is the only survivor. As she is on the brink of death, Leonel discovers her while investigating the recent storms and shipwrecks. He is convinced they are unnatural and sinister and is determined to find out who is behind them.
Leonel is the guardian of the fathoms, mortal and half merman, the last of his kind. The laws of the fathoms say he is forbidden to save Isaura
First in a Norse-like epic fantasy series, BENEATH CRUEL FATHOMS features as protagonist Isaura, a Healer, who has set sail for a distant land after the sudden unexpected dissolution of her marriage. Unfortunately, this is a time of multiple dangerous tempests on the sea, as never before known, and the ship capsizes, all crew lost. Rescued by the last of the merfolk, Isaura joins with Leonel to uncover the truth behind these terribly dangerous storms. Part fairy tale, part fantasy, all delight.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down! One of my new favorites... It felt like there was just enough world building so that it didn't drag on. I loved the two main characters and how well they worked together while building each other up through their pain. Can't wait for the next book! ...more
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A child of two cultures, this kānaka maoli 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 ...more

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The Bitter Sea Trilogy (2 books)
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