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The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter: A Novel Hardcover – October 9, 2018
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“Hazel Gaynor’s skillful artistry as a storyteller glitters like the sun...” (Susan Meissner, New York Times Bestselling Author of As Bright as Heaven)
“This is historical fiction at its finest.” (Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece)
“Gaynor has always been a better writer than her peers, and this exquisite, thoroughly researched book places her a clear head and shoulders above the rest.” (Sunday Independent)
“Gaynor’s narrative seamlessly flows between the eras and the women, chronicling their longing, their pain, and their quiet triumphs...Based on the real life of Grace Darling and two fierce storms, Gaynor’s tale is both heartbreaking and captivating.” (Historical Novel Society)
“...the many complicated women in it add a few more members to the women lighthouse keepers who perhaps, in their own small ways, lit the way for the women of today.” (Book Riot)
About the Author
Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A Memory of Violets was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Their most recent collaboration is Meet Me in Monaco. Hazel's forthcoming historical novel, When We Were Young & Brave, set in China during WW2, will be published in North America in October 2020.
Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.
For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062869302
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062869302
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.29 x 9 inches
- Publisher : William Morrow (October 9, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #990,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Grace’s ordered life changed irrevocably on the 7th September, 1838 with the onset of a horrific storm which battered the north east coast. As the storm built in intensity Grace took her turn on overnight watch, scanning the sea for any sign of trouble. To her horror, as the sky lightened, she saw the outline of a ship’s mast and survivors of the wrecked ship on Harker’s Rock. She knew her father couldn’t attempt the rescue himself as the storm still raged, but she believed they could manage together and persuaded her father they must try.
Grace’s courage and determination in the face of impossible odds helped save nine lives, including that of widowed Sarah Dawson, the sister of George Emmerson, an artist who Grace is attracted to. The rescue of the survivors from the SS Forfarshire brought Grace to the attention of the public and her fame spread far and wide, much to her dismay.
A century later in May 1938, Matilda Emmerson, the great great granddaughter of Sarah Dawson, leaves Cobh, Ireland bound for New York. Unmarried and pregnant, her austere mother, only concerned with appearances, is sending her to live with an unknown relative.
Initially relations between Matilda and Harriet are strained. Harriet is caring in a brusque way, Matilda wants to know more about her, how they are related, but Harriet keeps her distance emotionally. Both stories are told beautifully and the narrative moves smoothly between the two timelines, unravelling the connections to Matilda’s past as she delves into her family history, revealing surprises along the way. I enjoyed the relationship that unfolded between Matilda and Harriet, and the development of both women.
Although Grace’s story is very familiar, I still had goosebumps while reading the rescue scenes. I also hadn’t realised the inclusion of Sarah Dawson was a fact. Ultimately it’s a story of love, loss, strength and determination which I found compelling—sad and uplifting at the same time.
Lighthouses hold an appeal and I always wondered what it would have been like to live in one. Hazel Gaynor has created a powerful and atmospheric picture. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a beautifully crafted, emotional and vividly descriptive story with strong and memorable characters.
In the first half of the book my heart was shattered, and as the story progressed it was slowly put back together, and yet was still left a little broken at the end.
Ultimately for me, this is a story of love and loss, and the unbelievable strength that women can find within themselves when faced with the most unimaginable of tragedies.
You will most definitely need the tissues for this one!
The book is beautifully crafted, and I found the transitions from one century to the next were seamless, the story moving back and forth with ease, like the gentle swelling of the sea.
This story, and in particular two of it's characters, Grace Darling and Sarah Dawson will stay with me for a long time.
The book is well written (although there was the odd snippet of 21st century dialogue between characters speaking in the 1930's) and easy to read; indeed as I approached the end of the book, it turned into a real page-turner as I raced to discover the conclusions. I have no hesitation in recommending the Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter.
I had a loose idea of the events of Grace Darling's heroic rescue from some history programme or other. But this book tastefully expanded the newspaper reports, giving her a life and soul of her own. It seems she was ahead of her time, and treasured her freedom at a time when women had no choice but to get married. I was also fascinated with the level of publicity and celebrity she stirred up.
As for the storyline 100 years later, the accepted role for women had not changed. But I am sure there were women who bucked the trend as Harriet and Matilda did. It was a lovely tale of reconciliation and healing between them; and a tragic ending. I loved that they both had courage to face the challenges of life.
So what are you waiting for, go ahead read it now!
This is only my second book by this author but I have already bought another and I'm pretty sure I will be buying more!! The research that must have gone into this is amazing and the attention to detail had me right back there in those time zones!
I read a lot and mostly of this genre but this lady had me smelling the salt in the air and the wind whipping at my clothes and the sound of the sea crashing on the rocks! I love reading about strong women from our past and here I learned about 2. I have jumped on google a few times doing more reading on these ladies and know there are many more too.