I have mentioned in the past that I am too literal a reader for literary books but every now and then I am offered one that strikes my fancy and I take a chance. The Lighthouse Road was one of those books and I was very glad that I did decide to read it. It made me think and I am finding that more often than not I want a book that makes me think. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy fluff but one cannot live on a diet of sugary sweets alone now, can one?
This book is more about relationships and the power some people have over others than about one particular character. It starts with the immigration of a young woman from Norway to a very small town on Lake Superior. Thea Eide's story begins just as she is about to give birth to her son, Odd. She is helped in her labor by the town's doctor, Hosea Grimm and his daughter Rebekah. These four people are the main characters and their histories are told in a series of back and forth vignettes that move from the present time of the novel (the 1920s) to the character's various pasts. I know that sounds confusing and it was at first but once you get into the rhythm of the writing it all starts to make sense.
The writing is spare, much like the cold, forested landscape of Gunflint, MN, itself. Yet the reader is drawn into the lives of these four interconnected people as their souls are revealed bit by bit. Hosea is a man who is in control. Who feels he is giving people what is best for them. Rebekah is not sure of her place in the world that Hosea has created. Thea's world turned out to be nothing like she thought it would be and Odd is the only one who can make it past The Lighthouse Road to see a different life.
I was very drawn into this story; it's one of those books that haunts you for days after you put it down. It will go on my "to be read again" shelf. I'm sure that a second read will garner even more insight into these very well drawn and complex characters.