Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Julie's Review: The Lightkeeper's Wife

Author: Sarah Anne Johnson
Series: No
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 304
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Loved the history and setting of this intriguing novel
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: When Hannah Rescues Billy From a Shipwreck, She Will Change Both Their Lives Forever. Hannah Snow shouldn't be in the water, saving shipwrecked sailors. Her husband would be furious—it's his job to tend to the lighthouse at Dangerfield, to warn the ships off the rocks. Sailors know that the Dangerfield coastline is treacherous, but the waves constantly pull them down into the deep anyway. But when the ship Cynthia Rose runs aground, John is away buying supplies, and Hannah rushes out into the storm. She can only fish one sailor out of the icy water—weatherworn, half-drunk Billy. When Hannah gets word that John will not return home to her, she sinks into grief so deep that she feels she may never surface again. With Billy's help, she continues to man the lighthouse, keeping the lamps blazing even during her darkest hours. But Billy is not all that he seems. And Hannah starts to doubt whether anything she knew about this strange man—or herself—is true.  

Review: The Lightkeeper's Wife is an intriguing story about a young wife who is left alone to attend to the lighthouse while her husband runs their monthly errands to town. While he is out of town she risks her own life to save that of the crew of a shipwreck. Little does Hannah know, this will change her life.

The narrative switches back and forth between Annie/Blue's story of piracy and Hannah's story of lightkeeper's wife. Both Hannah and Annie/Blue are strong women not typically seen in this generation.  I thoroughly enjoyed both story lines but it is Annie/Blue's story that was perhaps the most atypical. How many stories have you read about women pirates? Pirates are a cruel and disruptive bunch. How a woman of a good background ended up pillaging merchants on the seas was intriguing and heartbreaking. The things she had to do to survive were amazing.

Hannah is a force of her own. She has loved the sea since she was a little girl going out on the boat with her dad to set lobster traps. She truly is fearless when it comes to the sea. She knows how to operate a boat in a storm and is determined to save as many sailors as she can.

As a reader I fell in love with the setting. I can only imagine how hard it was to upkeep a lighthouse in the late 1800s and then to do it alone as a woman was even harder. That's why when Billy is someone that Hannah saves, he comes in helpful to her as she waits for news on her husband, John.
Now the summary makes it sound like Hannah falls into a deep depression and while she does mourn her husband, she is resolve to make her life at the lighthouse a go. She throws herself into doing all the normal chores and keeping a watch for shipwrecks.  As time goes on, Hannah begins to rely on Billy to help with the chores. She begins to trust him. Will she trust him when she finds out his story? Will she trust herself?

While I might not have agreed with how Ms. Johnson ended the novel, I definitely think it was an interesting way to choose to end  it. Ms. Johnson chose an interesting setting for the story, not only is it breathtaking, dangerous but it is isolating.

If you enjoy stories about lighthouses and the sea, then The Lightkeeper's Wife is for you.



Friedelchen September 10, 2014 at 8:34 AM  

Thanks for the interesting review. I'm really curious about this book, a female pirate and a woman taking care of her husband's job, sounds like those two are very strong women.

Unknown September 12, 2014 at 3:35 AM  

I enjoy your blog so I nominated you for a Liebster Award!

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