I 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….