Secrets of The Lighthouse- Santa Montefiore

What to expect:
“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?”

What starts off as a sad tale of a Caitlin watching her own funeral and Ellen escaping her own privileged yet empty life, becomes an uplifting tale.

Kooks for your Kindle?– I’ve tagged this under ‘Irish froth’, because although the author herself isn’t Irish, the book is mostly set there and is full of very Irish characters and warmth. Aunt Peg is the main relative, she’s kind and accommodating but doesn’t permit Ellen to remain in denial for too long. She’s also hiding a secret that makes it all the more poignant when she welcomes her sister’s daughter. Ellen’s mother Madeline has become thoroughly English but also horribly snobbish since marrying into the upper classes, she only wants the best for Ellen. So who is Dylan, and why did Madeline leave him behind all those years ago? Ellen is amazed to discover that her Mum also has lots of brothers, although they all blend into one with the exception of overbearing Desmond.

Conor links the two leading ladies, he’s Caitlin’s widower and five years later he becomes Ellen’s great love. He seems like bad news at first, and I thought he would be overly controlling, but thankfully he’s a good egg. However the locals all still view him with suspicion following his wife’s accidental death.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Caitlin is the ghost, still jealous by nature and desperate for her husband’s love after all this time. Her journey is the most interesting, she takes a while to catch on, despite another most enlightened ghostly presence nearby. Ellen seems younger than her thirty-something years, and is a little spoiled, but a bit of Irish pragmatism soon beats some of it out of her. Her decision to run off without telling anyone in order to find herself seems a little childish, but it’s exactly what she needs, even if things don’t turn out remotely as she’d expected.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– As you might imagine, rural Ireland is lovingly portrayed, with windswept beaches, farmhouses, beautiful castles and a rundown lighthouse. The people are equally well illustrated, the bigger characters having some interesting twists and turns. Back in the UK, we don’t get to know Ellen’s sisters well, they were in background reminding me of the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella. Her mother’s interesting tale is the focus there.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I wasn’t sure at the start of the book, with the first ghostly chapter, but once the real world is established, there are enough mysteries to grab the reader. Unfortunately one of them is blatantly obvious to everyone except Ellen many chapters before the reveal, but there is still reason to stick around. It’s a nice atmospheric misty story with plenty of wise adages thrown around by the older folk mixed in with the modern younger generations. The supernatural element won’t be a surprise to regular readers of the author, I seem to remember a ghost in the last one of hers that I read (to say which would be to spoil that one), but Caitlin’s limbo-like existence is explored in an interesting way here. Few shocks, but a gentle ethereal tale for all ages.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £4.75, although recently it was on 99p special so click for the latest.

US: Not on Amazon, but Kobobooks have it for $12.39.

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