My book review of 'The Lamplighters' by Emma Stonex
Like many people, I've always been intrigued and delighted by lighthouses, and the opening lines of this book sent a shiver down my spine.
Three lighthouse keepers in the 18th century were on duty, alone on the island, and one day disappeared. No one knows what happened to them. This real life mystery inspired an imaginary tale of keepers on an island in 1972.
The men were due to be relieved from duty but when the next shift arrived at the lighthouse, there was no sign of them, just stopped clocks and the table set for supper.
Years later, we meet the wives and families as they still struggle to make sense of what happened to the men. They're invited to relive the disappearance by a writer, keen to detail the events and learn their side of the story. But the women have to confront secrets, guilt and sorrow. And will we ever discover what really happened?
We also step into the lives of the men as they cope with the daily tasks and challenges of their job, how they view the relationships back on the mainland, and the banter and rivalry between them in these close confines.
It's an amazing novel. It's full of atmosphere with a timelessness, a mystique and otherworldliness of lighthouses and the sea. Fantastic! I couldn't put it down and was sorry to come to the end. Already itching to read it again!