TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for April 2, 2022.

From “Our Wives Under the Sea” by Julia Armfield to “Perfect” by Rachel Joyce.

This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share you post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.


This month we start with “Our Wives Under the Sea” by Julia Armfield!

Our WivesThis month (April 2, 2022), the chain begins with “Our Wives Under the Sea” by Julia Armfield. One summary I found says that, 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.” This book is the debut novel by this author, and I’m unsure if I want to read it – sounds like someone suffering from PTSD to me, and well… with a war going on in Ukraine, I don’t think this is what I want to read right now.

First Degree. 

44247-cold2bdark2bsea-1That said, I think I can easily fill up this whole chain just with books with characters who change because they survived a trauma. So my first one will go with the extra connection, the word “sea” in the title, that being “On a Cold Dark Sea” by Elizabeth Blackwell. This novel is about three women who all survived the sinking of the Titanic, where each one was on a different class ticket. What I found most fascinating about this book was how each of these women deal with both the trauma of the voyage and rescue, and how they deal differently with being survivors.

Second Degree.

cd83f-cvr9781476711959_9781476711959_lgStaying with the idea of trauma and change, while also connecting with part of the previous link’s author’s name, in Diane Setterfield’s novel “Bellman & Black,” when William Bellman meets the cloaked, silent Black, he becomes obsessed with the notion that he must do everything he believes that Black asks of him, to help make his uncle’s mill successful. He also believes that if he succeeds and Black is pleased, he will finally gain forgiveness for the time he killed a rook when he was only 11 years old. A dark story, but beautifully written.

Third Degree.

6462e-gravity2bof2bbirds2bcoverThe bit with the rook in the previous novel made me think of the next link, “The Gravity of Birds” by Tracey Guzeman. Although the trauma here isn’t as sudden as it is in the previous ones, it still is a life changing one. Here the trauma is a physical one, that being the Rheumatoid Arthritis that Alice Kessler suffers from, which forces her sister Natalie to give up everything to care for her. I have a feeling that not many people know of this book, but I can assure you that if you’re looking for something that combines a mystery with the art world, this might be one for you.

Fourth Degree.

Her Last FlightBirds gotta fly, but so do pilots or aviatrixes, which brings us to “Her Last Flight” by Beatriz Williams. In this novel, Williams does a bit of a variation on the theme of the Amelia Earhart story, where a famous female pilot disappears, and is assumed dead, since no one can find her plane or her body. Investigating her disappearance, is journalist Janey (Eugenia) Everett, who has her own mystery to solve (and trauma to get over), while trying to find out what actually happened to the legendary Irene Foster on her last flight, where she was trying to set a new around-the-world flight record with her instructor and flying partner Sam Mallory.

Fifth Degree.

48c9d-noah2527s2bcompassSomething that any pilot needs to fly a plane with is a compass, which brings me to my next link, “Noah’s Compass” by Anne Tyler! In this novel, the trauma starts with 61 year old Liam being suddenly unemployed, and when he moves to a smaller apartment (to save money), he’s attacked in his sleep on the first night there. Although there’s no one named Noah in this novel, you have to read this book to understand the metaphor here, and see how that relates to Liam and how his life changes after this unfortunate chain of events.

Sixth Degree. 

Perfect1And that concept of one event that sets off a chain of things, effecting everything in someone’s life, is how I get to my last link, “Perfect” by Rachel Joyce. This is probably Joyce’s least known novel, but one that any of her fans really must read. The is about two best friends, Byron Hemmings and James Lowe, who find out that the world is adding an extra two seconds to the clock in 1972. The idea astounds them both, as they witness it. But then one of the boys notices his watch moving backwards instead of forwards, which happens at the exact time as an accident happening. The trauma here lands one of these boys into a mental institution, which 40 years later is about to close its doors. It sounds complex, but trust me, it lives up to the title!

There you have it – my chain of books for this month. So… the question is, does this last book connect in any way back to our starting novel?

Obviously, all of these books deal with life-changing traumas. The last one also connects with our starting novel because both the protagonist in “Perfect” and Leah have to re-enter the world after being lost due to their traumas.

If you don’t know any of these books, I hope you’ll click on the links to my reviews and check them out!

#6Degrees 02 April 2022

If you decide to join in on this meme, I hope you’ll give me the link to your post in the comments below, and/or put your link on the linky page that Kate has on her blog for this meme.

Next month (May 7, 2022), we will start with Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang.

32 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for April 2, 2022.

  1. Clever links on the theme of trauma and change. I don’t know most of these books or their authors – Anne Tyler’ and Rachel Joyce are the only authors I recognise and have read though different titles. The Tyler sounds interesting – I prefer this focus on an individual to a family saga like she’s written before

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The nice thing here is that we get to know so many different authors, the disadvantage, my TBR pile grows and grows. And grows.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, one of these books would fit particularly well with a couple of my choices for next month’s chain!!
    Love that cover of The Gravity of Birds. Simple but effective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you like me and you write your next month’s chain post as soon as you get inspired for your first link? I knew immediately what my first link would be when I saw what book was the starter for May, so I’ve got my whole post ready already!


  3. I read On a Cold Dark Sea back in 2019 and gave it 4* but can’t remember much about it as I didn’t write a review. Maybe another book for my re-read pile. Bellman & Black appeals to me so will grab that from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Clever linking right through on trauma and change. I have heard of some of these authors, but the only book I’ve heard of is Tyler’s. You have made me more interested to read it (not that I was never uninterested).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And consistently good, as well. I’ve decided to try to get to more of her back list, and I just bought a copy of her Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. I think when I finish reading my Classics Club Spin book, I’ll tuck into that one!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read another Titanic novel, and my review will be on my blog tomorrow (on its release day) and it makes Cold Dark Sea pale in comparison! I wrote this post before I started reading that new book, so I had no idea that I’d be so blown away!


  5. Since many of us took the sea, or at least a watery, approach, your emphasis on trauma piqued my interest. This is a topic I’ve been focusing on in my recent reading, so I’m adding several of your books to my TBR list. Right now I’m reading the recently published novel The Paradox Hotel. It’s science fiction about time travel in which time is beginning to get out of whack, so I think maybe I should look at Perfect as a follow-up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will always be willing to recommend a Rachel Joyce book, because I’m addicted to her writing! This is one of her lesser known novels, but I think it has been sorely overlooked.


  6. I’m not sure I want to read Our Wives Under the Sea, it doesn’t immediately appeal to me. I like your link between the first and second books in your chain – and both those books interest me. Actually all of them do!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I share your thoughts about the starter book this month. But then your choices, however interesting, are not ones that I’m going to go for at the moment, for the same reasons. At another time, I’ll definitely make use of these suggestions, which sound interesting, every one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great chain with a very serious theme! I fully understand that you are hesitant to pick up Our Wives Under the Sea. The blurb sounds interesting though and it has got stellar reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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