Book No 20 (2015) : Secrets of the Lighthouse

Secrets of the Lighthouse 1I love lighthouses. Over the years I’ve read about them, visited and photographed them, stayed in keepers’ cottages and dreamed of owning a light and turning it into a cafe/museum. So, if there is a lighthouse-themed novel, I’m there.

Santa Montefiore’s (she is Tara Palmer-Tomkinson’s sister by the way, never knew that!) ‘Secrets of the Lighthouse‘ attracted me because of the pharology connection. Unfortunately though, it was not enough to sustain my interest in the book.

The lighthouse at Connemara is the scene of the death of the beautiful Caitlin Macausland and is now a burned-out ruin. Ellen Trawton is a Londoner, daughter of a Lady and engaged to a man she doesn’t love. Feeling the need to escape, Ellen heads for Ireland and discovers a whole new family of which she was unaware. She falls in love with Caitlin’s widower and as she starts to feel at home on the Emerald Isle, the reasons for her natural affinity with Ireland are gradually revealed.

Caitlin’s spirit voice is one of the narrator’s of the book as she describes her attempts to contact her children and influence her husband’s love life from her place beyond the grave. That set my teeth on edge to start with – I didn’t warm to the dead narrator in ‘The Lovely Bones‘ and I didn’t here either. Aside from that, the plot is mediocre and the character development quite poor; everyone seemed wooden and stereotypically Irish – broad, dark-haired, Guinness-drinking musical pub-dwellers. I finished the book to find out what happens, but this is not an author I would read again in a rush. For beach-book mental floss, my preference is for Lucinda Riley.

It did set me off on another train of thought though. I wonder how much lighthouse fiction there is, as I can think of quite a few novels….

Book No 24 (2014) : The Midnight Rose

midnight roseA perfect beach holiday calls for a perfect beach read. ‘The Midnight Rose’ ticked all the boxes and it does seem a bit churlish to relegate the book to the lazy days section of my bookshelf.

Lucinda Riley’s saga sweeps across England and India, from the 1920’s onwards, following the lives of Anahita Chavan and Rebecca Bradley. The two women have little or no connection until Rebecca, a successful American actress, is cast to appear in a period drama film to be shot at Astbury Hall on Dartmoor. Anahita, an aristocratic and educated Indian woman, had spent some time at the Hall with her son, Moh, many years before. When Anahita dies in India, she leaves a written account of her life to her great-grandson, Ari, in the hope that he will be able to discover the truth about what happened to Moh. Ari’s quest takes him to England, where he crosses paths with Rebecca and unravels the mysteries of Anahita’s life.

It’s a full-blown romance, with a touch of intrigue and some beautiful touches of character. Anahita, known throughout as Anni, is a respected and trusted Ayurvedic healer and trained nurse. Her strength provides a sense of gravitas to the story, which is clearly well-researched despite its fictional plot. There are elements of the supernatural, together with a strong message that each and every one of us should trust our instincts to guide our lives.The human connections and relationships within the story are complex, the ending bringing a couple of startling revelations! Kept me guessing right to the last paragraph.

This book is over 600 pages long and I was so desperate to know what happens, I read it in 2 days! Sure, I was on a sun-bed and had time to devote to its pages, but I don’t recommend you wait until your next holiday to read ‘The Midnight Rose’ – grab a copy and give yourself a holiday from reality by reading it now!

IMG_8665