Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Secrets of the Lighthouse Book Review

Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

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Ellen Trawton is running away from it all. She hates her job, she doesn’t love the aristocratic man to whom she is engaged, and her relationship with her controlling mother is becoming increasingly strained. So Ellen leaves London, fleeing to the one place she knows her mother won’t find her, her aunt’s cottage in Connemara. Cutting all her ties with chic London society, Ellen gives in to Ireland’s charm and warmth, thinking her future may lie where so much of her past has been hidden. Her imagination is soon captured by the compelling ruins of a lighthouse where, five years earlier, a young mother died in a fire.

The ghost of the young wife, Caitlin, haunts the nearby castle, mourning the future she can never have there. Unable to move on, she watches her husband and children, hoping they might see her and feel her love once more. But she doesn’t anticipate her husband falling in love again. Can she prevent it? Or can she let go and find a way to freedom and happiness?

Review by Brittany:

I picked this one up based on a recommendation I saw on Twitter, giving this author props for being one of the best.

This book has a little bit of all the things I like best: romance, mystery, family drama, and beautiful descriptions of the scenery. Montefiore took the time to describe Ireland in all of its finery, which I loved reading about and which made me long to be able to go. The romance part comes in with Ellen meeting Conor and falling quickly in love with him, but the mystery surrounding his wife's death leaves many people in the small town of Connemara warning her away from him. Gossip reigns supreme in trying to determine if he killed his wife or if it was truly an accidental tragedy. And of course, with Ellen abandoning her life in London and fleeing to Connemara, there is much family drama to be had.

What set this book apart from others in this genre was Caitlin's ghost. Despite her death, her soul still lingers, unwilling to let go of her children and the husband who has been grieving her for so long. When Conor begins to develop a relationship with Ellen, Caitlin can't handle it; her jealousy and selfishness leave her determined to drive them apart. Montefiore uses Caitlin's ghost as a way to move away from Ellen being the narrator and to give a different perspective of the events happening in the novel, but also as a way to give the readers some insight into what's going on with other characters. I thought this was a great technique to use and fit well with the dreaminess of the lighthouse.

The climax of the novel finally reveals what truly happened the night that Caitlin died, and it finally gives Conor a chance to come to terms with the realities of his wife.

I really enjoyed this book. The minor characters were refreshing and well-written, and the main themes of the plot kept me hooked until the end.

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