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Secrets of the Lighthouse

Review

Secrets of the Lighthouse

Santa Montefiore’s SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE is a delightful romantic tale that is laced with mystery and a bit of the supernatural, which really makes this storyline pop. Add colorful and alluring settings --- in London, England, and the Connemara coastline of Ireland --- to a top-notch narrative, and you have a winning novel. Ireland is a perfect foil for the harsh realities of London society, and its countryside provides the perfect backdrop for this poignant tale of two women, as they try to find a “place to fit in” and the love they both so richly deserve.

Without reservation, Montefiore has provided a platform for reconstructing families, through a cross-generational tale, as a reminder of how important this connection is --- no matter how, why or when you become one.

"...a delightful romantic tale that is laced with mystery and a bit of the supernatural, which really makes this storyline pop.... SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE offers intrigue, drama and romance, along with alluring backdrops --- all pluses in my book."

Quite literally, our heroine, Ellen Trawton, decides to run away from it all --- much like her mother did a few decades earlier. So, without looking back, she leaves London and seeks sanctuary in Ireland, at the home of her only known relative in Connemara, an aunt, whom she has never met. While there, she mistakenly uncovers some family secrets, along with secrets about the mysterious death of Caitlin Macausland, the beautiful and vibrant wife of Colin, and the man everyone assumes killed her. As she tries to make sense of her mother’s hidden past and how Caitlin’s possible suicide coincides with her family’s tragedies, she is forced to make some hard decisions about a future she never knew she might have.

From her earliest remembrance, Ellen felt like she was “on the outside, looking in” to a family she thought didn’t quite fit. So it seemed only logical that she might want to explore some new horizons and find a quiet place, far from London, where she could write a book. She just needed to forget about the job she no longer liked, a marriage proposal she no longer wanted, and her controlling mother. The call of Ireland seems to have met these requirements, but not without some consequences. So many mystifying events force her to rise to new heights as her Irish and English families collide, amidst very formidable circumstances.

Besides all of the family drama, Ellen becomes intrigued by the history of a castle owned by Colin Macausland and the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife. Now this is where the story gets interesting. As a ghostly presence, Caitlin narrates some sequences in the book, pulling storylines together and adding a twist to the narrative. It becomes apparent that having died tragically in what the village assumes was suspicious circumstances, this ghost is stuck in limbo, unable to move on. Caitlin is also able to tie the lighthouse into the plot, as she retells the story of her death, adding depth to the mystery. By utilizing this technique, the author has created a refreshing nuance for storytelling, as well as a perfect way to tie up loose ends for each character.

SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE offers intrigue, drama and romance, along with alluring backdrops --- all pluses in my book. Round this out with the beauty of Connemara, where folklore is more real than fantasy, surrounded by deep valleys and craggy cliffs, and this saga can’t be beat. Tack on the Pot of Gold (an Irish pub), the ruined lighthouse, the tiny church on the hill and the castle, and you have a story that is quite appealing and unforgettable.

Reviewed by Donna Smallwood on August 8, 2014

Secrets of the Lighthouse
by Santa Montefiore

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1476735379
  • ISBN-13: 9781476735375