The Lightkeeper's Daughters: A Radio 2 Book Club Choice
By Jean Pendziwol
For fans of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS and THE SHIPPING NEWS; an unlikely friendship, a lost journal, and the secret of what happened to the lightkeeper’s daughters when a new love changed everything.Tweet
This book was an easy read in that it proved to be very accessible and highly enjoyable and a fairly quick read too. All members of the Hunstanworth Village Hall Book Group finished this book (which is something of a first!) and spoke highly of the 'real' characters within the pages. Both of the main characters: Elizabeth and Morgan were well drawn as was the lighthouse setting and Porhyry Island.
There are several darker elements to this story and several mysteries which really engage the reader - however, characters with the same names (which are changed for various reasons) do cause some confusion but don't make the story any less enjoyable.
Rating: Very high scores from the group for this - nothing below 4/5 with the majority giving 4.5/5 and one giving a maximum 5 star score!
Elizabeth grew up on a remote island in Loch Superior where her father was the lighthouse keeper. He had always kept a diary and these journals, missing for decades, come to light and are given to Elizabeth, now an elderly resident in a retirement home who cannot read them because of her failing sight. She is keen to find out what they contain, hoping they are the key to some unexplained events in her past. Enter Morgan, a troubled teenager in foster care who has had a minor brush with the law and is given community service in the home. The two strike up an unlikely, yet entirely plausible friendship and Morgan starts to read the diaries aloud to her. The story unfolds as the contents are revealed and as Elizabeth starts to open up to Morgan with recollections of her own. And what a great story it is.
There was an awful lot to like about this book, not least of which was the style of writing – short chapters, short sentences and all very concise and to the point. Elizabeth and Morgan take turns to be the narrator so the perspective changes from one chapter to the next. In this way journal entries, memoir, teenage angst and the developing relationship between the two main characters are interspersed seamlessly. It is also beautifully written and captures perfectly both the free and happy childhood which Elizabeth enjoyed on the island as well as the practical trials and tribulations associated with that isolated life. However, the real jewel in the crown is the plot which is amazing. It contains suspense, intrigue, family secrets and so much more, slowly building up to a climax when all is finally revealed. It is a gripping book and a real page-turner with twists and turns aplenty.
There are a couple of very minor points which I will mention, but to be honest these are nit-picking and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. The first is that an awful lot of concentration was required as the book neared the end in order to disentangle the frequent changes of direction of the plot - things were definitely not always what they seemed. The second is that it could be argued that the plot is all a little too perfect and the loose ends tie up rather too conveniently. Quite frankly, who cares? If those are the only criticisms (and from my point of view they are), then I can live with them and read plenty more similar books.
This is a great read, and one which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone. There was a general consensus on this point by nearly everyone in the Book Club. I have never read anything else by Jean Pendziwol, possibly because most of her published work so far seems to have been for children. I hope she continues writing adult fiction as I would certainly like to read more.
I loved this book. The setting on a remote island and the family who have responsibility for keeping the light working for the safety of shipping is an absorbing read. But all is not as it seems and the tension in the knot of the plot is only unravelled at the very end of the book. This book is charming and deserves to do well. Will recommend.
At first I was a little weary of the story and writing style , past & present. Slowly,the story gathered pace and my attention. Hearing the troubles of Elizabeth and Emily's past with a present troubled female...
I could picture in my mind the lake,ice,fog and the sound of the Foghorn
A warning for ships of trouble ahead of rocks without giving away the troubled lives of those that manned it.
I found the characters came to life of their past and present souls. Secrets kept by Elizabeth yet an even bigger secret lay yet to be unveiled. Half way through the book I was hooked. A pleaser afternoon finishing it.
I'm still a little suprised by the ending I'd never have guessed part of it.
A really suprise g good read. Thank you for the free copy our book group B n b bookgroup won