There were two things that ultimately drew me to read the Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. Firstly, it was the part about the lighthouse. There is something about lighthouses that always draws me in and intrigues me. And secondly, the fact that this story is based on an actual true story, where men did go missing and we still don’t know how.
About The Book:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format I read it in: Hardcover
Amazon UK | Amazon US
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface…
The Lamplighters is a mix between a mystery thriller and historical fiction. We follow a story about three men that guard a lighthouse, who go missing. At the same time, we follow the lives of three women, twenty years later.
Emma Stonex has the ability to make a mundane daily routine seem interesting. Her writing in this book is truly spectacular, and I really enjoyed it. I especially loved that she chose to give these three women a voice that they wouldn’t have before, and let them tell their stories. There was slight flaws with the characters themselves, as they were all written in a similar tone, so it was hard to tell to them apart. But aside from that, the idea was very well executed.
I enjoyed the men’s story as well – although, sometimes, it would get too repetitive for my taste. What I did enjoy though, was the slow psychological games between them. It was very cleverly written, and even I at times was confused on what some people’s intentions were.
In regards to the mystery itself, I found it quite interesting, although somewhat predictable. There wasn’t a big twist, more like a slow wave coming toward you. You wait for it to come, and when it does, you still end up surprised a little, even though you were expecting it.
In summary, the Lamplighters was a delightful read. Never dull and always intriguing. If you love the sea, lighthouses, mysteries and lovely storytelling – definitely check this one out!
“People will believe anything, and given the choice they prefer lies to the truth because lies are usually more interesting.”
“Neither of us came from a happy background and that’s what bonded us in the first place.”
“If we all had a tower to be on and a couple of people to be with, just to be, without expectation or interference, to put in the light at night and extinguish it at dawn, to sleep and be awake, talk and be silent, live and die, all on our islands, couldn’t we avoid the rest?”
About The Author:
Emma Stonex is a novelist who has written several books under a pseudonym. THE LAMPLIGHTERS is her debut under her own name and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Before becoming a writer, she worked as an editor at a major publishing house. She lives in the Southwest with her family.
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