The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol – 320 pages
Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth’s eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father’s journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.
With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own—to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.
As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan’s connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.
My Review: 4 stars
The Lightkeeper’s Daughters is a wonderful debut adult novel with a story that is woven together with twists in the yarn. The author paced this book with skill as the surprises kept showing up in just the right places. I must admit, I’ve never been to a lighthouse, at least not that I can remember, but I am somehow drawn to them in fiction. Both The Woman At The Light and The Light Between Oceans were books I thoroughly enjoyed. Something about the ocean, immense solitude and importance of the lighthouse intrigue me.
This book is told in two POVs, one from young Morgan and one from the elderly Elizabeth. The beginning of this story is not a new one – kid has to be at nursing home for class or punishment, meets a resident and a bond is formed. Soon after this friendship is sealed between Morgan and Elizabeth, a story erupts from the pages of a long hidden journal that will keep you flipping the pages as quickly as you can read them.
There’s a lot of whodunit within this story, but also evocative descriptions of the land, the water, the flora and forest. There’s romance, hurt, death, art, music and an unbreakable sisterly bond. Communication between the twin sisters was unique as one was most likely a selective mute, yet they always knew what the other needed.
After many guesses as to how Morgan and Elizabeth are ultimately connected, the author will keep you hanging until the very last pages.
I look forward to reading more from Jean E. Pendziwol.
Quotes I liked:
I find sometimes it’s better not to know the end before the beginning.”
-“There was no wind to engage the trees in conversation.”
-“Don’t you think that when you know your past, it can make a difference to your present? And your future, too?”