Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: August 5
Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret – and a future she never knew she might have.Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on.
And between the two of them is an old lighthouse – the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?
Overwhelmed with her mother’s expectations and a life she does not want to continue living, Ellen flees to Ireland in search of an aunt her mother rarely spoke of and whom Ellen has never met. Upon arrival, Ellen discovers a whole new family: uncles and cousins she never knew she had, her mother’s surprising history, a rough musician with whom she finds a kindred spirit, and a man burdened by a family secret and town gossip pertaining to his long-dead wife Caitlin. As Ellen begins to piece together her new life and discover her true self, a Pandora’s box of family history and Irish roots unravel.
Montefiore likes to take her time in this novel. I’ve never read her before, but I want to read her now. Her language is lush, the descriptions stunning, the dialogue authentic, and the characters so fully fleshed — including the secondary characters. I fell in love with the landscape, and then I fell in love with Ellen’s transformation and liberation, and then I fell in love with her and Conor’s love. Everything was so deep and purposeful, and I was filled with a sense of longing to be there at that moment while I was reading (so much so I had to turn on my Irish playlist to satisfy myself!).
I’m not sure what I could compare this to. It has that ghosts-torturing-from-the-beyond feel to it, reminding me of Wuthering Heights, but Caitlin and Conor’s relationship was nothing like that. She had something wrong with her, an ability to charm and quick to jealousy, much like borderline personality disorder. It was a tumultuous past that inflected Conor with guilt. But watching this dark man change into something light and wonderful around Ellen felt modern and true, realistic and beautiful. I couldn’t put this book down, and whether it was for the landscape or the story, I’m not sure. It’s worth reading and savoring.
Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for providing this book for review!