Author : Emma Stonex
Title : The Lamplighters
Pages : 340
Publisher : Picador
Publication date : March 4, 2021
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.
They say the sea keeps its secrets…
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Sometimes you come across a novel that is all kinds of special and it just leaves you desperately trying to find the words to describe why. I honestly have no idea how to review The Lamplighters. It wasn’t really what I expected it would be, yet I found that I was immediately and completely swept away by the exquisite writing and the incredibly drawn characters.
In 1972, three lamplighters mysteriously disappeared from the remote lighthouse they had been working on. The door was bolted from the inside, the table set for two, the clocks had all stopped and there were no signs of a struggle … What happened to them? Now, twenty years later, the wives the men left behind are approached by an author who wants to solve this mystery once and for all. But finding out what happened isn’t the be all and end all of this novel.
The three men all had very different reasons for choosing to live most of their lives in the lighthouse. Who would want to opt for this life of isolation, and why? Sure, it sounded rather magical to me at first. Like a whole new level of the hermit’s life. But I soon found myself completely overwhelmed by the claustrophobia. And what if you don’t get along with the people you’re stuck with for weeks on end? As Albert, Bill and Vince tell their story, the reader gets a pretty good sense of what life would have been like for lamplighters.
Then there were the wives left behind at home, raising families and dealing with issues all on their own.You’d think they find comfort with one another but that was never really the case for Helen, Jenny and Michelle. Were they just too different? Or did something else happen between them? And why did the cracks only get bigger when their husbands disappeared, instead of bringing them closer together.
There is so much to love about this novel. With a glorious setting and multi-layered complex characters, I found The Lamplighters truly mesmerising. Something about Emma Stonex’s writing absolutely captivated me. Yes, there is a mystery to solve but at one point, I felt that almost became secondary. For me, it was all about the characters. About the decisions they made to get to this point in time, some they maybe regretted. About the feelings they did or didn’t deal with. The Lamplighters is very much a story about grief loss, loneliness and how this could possibly affect someone’s mental health.
I’m not doing this novel any justice at all with my review. The Lamplighters is atmospheric, emotional, beautifully written and … a treat, really. I loved it. ❤️
Huge thanks to Camilla at Picador for sending me a copy to review. The Lamplighters will be published on March 4th.