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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Lighthouse Keepers's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks ISBN 9780062698629
Trade paperback, $16.99, 416 pages

Author Hazel Gaynor's historical novels frequently deal with stories in two different time periods- A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home among them. Her latest intriguing novel, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter continues in that tradition.

Grace Darling lives with her parents and brother in 1838 at Longstone Lighthouse off the coast of England. She is a great help to her father, the lighthouse keeper, learning all there is to becoming a lighthouse keeper in her own right. It would be her dream to take over for her father, but alas, her brother will take over as women are not encouraged to hold such jobs.

When a terrible storm blows through and a nearby ship sinks, it is Grace and her father who jump into a boat to rescue several men and one woman who washed up on a rock. The woman, Sarah Dawson, was traveling with her two young children to visit her brother George Emmerson in Scotland after losing her husband.

The story of how Grace risked her own life to save others becomes legend, with newspaper stories written about her bravery. Artists wish to paint her portrait, people ask for locks of her hair and small pieces of her clothing, and she and her father even get to meet a duke and duchess who honor them.

In 1938, Matilda Emmerson finds herself pregnant and sent by her proper Irish parents to Newport, Rhode Island to stay with a distant cousin, a female lighthouse keeper named Harriet. Matilda is to give birth to the baby, give her up for adoption and return home to forget the whole thing.

Harriet is a bit brusque, and keeps to herself. Matilda hears her crying out for someone named Cora in her sleep, but when she asks about Cora, Harriet rebuffs her. Matilda finds a trunk with a portrait in it of a woman who has some connection to herself, and sets out to find out who the woman is.

Matilda begins to enjoy her life in Newport, making friends with a local artist named Joseph, and when she discovers a secret that Harriet has been hiding, her life begins to make sense to her. (The secret is a doozy!)

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter is a wonderful book for young adult women to read as well. Through Grace, Sarah, Matilda and Harriet, we see independent women trying to make their way through a male-centered world, overcoming obstacles and tragedy. and finding their own strength.

I liked that there were male characters who supported these women- Grace's father, George Emmerson and Joseph- and who valued these women for their strength. Gaynor combines great characters with compelling storylines.

The Lighthouse Keeper is a poignant read, and I enjoyed learning about life in a lighthouse. I also found Grace's brush with fame interesting, and not so different from what happens in today's tabloid-filled world where people get their fifteen minutes of intense fame.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Hazel Gaynor's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Instagram Features

Tuesday, October 9th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks
Wednesday, October 10th: Instagram: @kate.olson.reads
Thursday, October 11th: Instagram: @sarahs_reads
Friday, October 12th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats
Saturday, October 13th: Instagram: @the_need_to_read
Sunday, October 14th: Instagram: @simplykelina
Monday, October 15th: Instagram: @dropandgivemenerdy

Review Stops

Tuesday, October 9th: BookNAround
Wednesday, October 10th: bookchickdi
Thursday, October 11th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, October 12th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, October 15th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, October 16th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, October 18th: Man of La Book
Monday, October 22nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, October 23rd: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, October 24th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, October 25th: Staircase Wit
Monday, October 29th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, October 31st: Instagram: @writersdream
Thursday, November 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, November 2nd: Into the Hall of Books


  1. I'm interested to learn more about this bit of history - it sounds fascinating!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. This is definitely on my list. I liked her first book but never did get around to the Titanic one.