Dive into the curious correspondence of Sylvie Cathrall’s delightful debut novel, A Letter to the Luminous Deep.

A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.

Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.’s home, and she and Henerey vanish.

A year later, E.’s sister Sophy, and Henerey’s brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery of their siblings’ disappearances with the letters, sketches and field notes left behind. As they uncover the wondrous love their siblings shared, Sophy and Vyerin learn the key to their disappearance – and what it could mean for life as they know it.

Perfect for fans of A Marvellous Light and TJ Klune, A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a whimsical epistolary fantasy set in a mystical underwater world with mystery and heart-warming romance.


3 stars

Many thanks to Orbit Books for that beautiful advanced reading copy!

A Letter to the Luminous Deep is about E. Cidnosin living in the Deep House and Henerey Clel beginning an epistolary relationship and then vanishing after a seaquake. Sophy, E’s sister and  Vyerin, Henerey’s brother will try to figure out what happened.

It gives us a double timeline and two sets of pen pals.

I confess that it took me quite some time to really fall into the story.

If the writing is exquisite, and very reminiscent of the regency romances, the pace is slow at the beginning and does not quicken before a long time.

Yet the perk is that it sets a very intimate tone, helping us to have a deep understanding of the characters. Once I found my baring, I was all in.

The story in itself is whimsical and mysterious with a world where nearly everyone live either under or above the sea. Between E.’ s sighting of mysterious beasts from her underwater window to Sophy’s expedition in the abyss, Sylvia Cathrall is building her marine and enchanting world.

Be aware that the story is mostly mood and beautiful penmanship and that real information about what happened and what the book is leading us to is only revealed late.

So this is a story to savor rather than devour, filled with slow budding romance, endearing if reserved characters and with a fantastic representation (same sex love, mental illness).

And let’s not forget the gorgeous cover!

Thanks for reading.


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