Book Review: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

Today I am sharing my review for Hazel Gaynor's latest book, the stunning story The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter.

Title: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Published: May 25th 2019 by HarperCollins

Blurb: 1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Review: Hazel Gaynor is one of my favourite Historical Fiction authors, so I know that her stories are always special, but The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter surpassed all my expectations. With two timelines set a hundred years apart, this story completely stole my heart.

In 1838, we have Grace Darling, the daughter of the Longstone Lighthouse keeper. She has a very quiet life in the lighthouse but a very brave rescue puts her on the spotlight for the whole country. I found this character fascinating, especially as it is based in a real person. I loved getting to know her, discovering how brave she was but also how fame affected her. 

And then, in 1938, we have Matilda Emmerson who is sent to Rhode Island in disgrace. There she falls in love with a lighthouse too and discovers many secrets from her family's past. Usually, in dual-time stories, I have a preferred timeline, but in this case, I was equally engrossed with both stories. Just as Grace, Matilda was a multi-layered character that showed bravery and, above all, a huge heart.

Also, a special mention to the settings of these timelines. Hazel Gaynor has the ability to bring a past time to life and here we have a perfect example of this. With her generous descriptions of the lighthouses, the sees, the smells and the light, Hazel takes us readers on a travel back in time. If I closed my eyes I could easily picture Grace going up the stairs to the light room or Matilda rowing to the lighthouse. The setting is definitely a strong point on this novel, making this story even more memorable. It's impossible not to care for these girls and every one in the story.

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter is a stunning and heart-wrenching story that surprised me and took my breath away. 

Rating: 5 stars

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

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