4 March 2021
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
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.
📖 My thoughts..
In the winter of 1972 three lighthouse keepers mysteriously disappeared from a remote Cornish lighthouse situated in the sea miles from Lands End. Leaving only the slightest traces of their everyday living and with the door locked from the inside the disappearance of Arthur, Bill and Vince opens up more questions than it does answers. Helen, Jenny and Michelle, the three women they leave behind, their lives will never be the same again, and even the passage of time doesn't dim the sorrow, and confusion, over the men's strange disappearance.
Twenty years on and the sea tower, known as The Maiden, still stands like a sentinel, guarding its secrets well, shining its light on everything but the truth. Gradually as the story progresses a sort of truth starts to emerge when the women are approached by a writer who wants to solve the mystery of the lamplighters but with unearthing memories comes bitter reflections and each of the women are troubled in their own enigmatic way. Moving forwards and backwards in time we get the individual stories of all those who are so closely bound together by this tragedy and in cleverly controlled streams of consciousness we start to get an impression of the hurt, resentment, and utter despair of living with too many bottled up secrets.
Inspired by the real events of a similar disappearance in the Outer Hebrides in 1900, this fascinating novel brings to life the sheer hellish loneliness of life in a remote lighthouse. Beautifully descriptive about the unpredictability of the sea, the capriciousness of wind and the daily grind of living and working in close proximity with men who have been brought together by circumstance rather than choice.
Slow to burn, but beautifully controlled, with a poignant originality which makes the story quite special, the mystery of what happened to The Lamplighters in 1972 remains long after the book is finished. I am delighted to have it as my Featured Book in March.
The Lamplighters will be published by Picador Books on the 4 March and will be available from all good book retailers.
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.
Twitter @StonexEmma #TheLamplighter