Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor (audio)

Title: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Narrator: Imogen Church
Published: October 2018, Audio - HarperAudio / Print - William Morrow Paperbacks
Length: 10 hours 27 minutes / 383 pages
Source: Audio - Hoopla Digital (Library) / Print - William Morrow

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events, and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years.
They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

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.

My thoughts: I adore Hazel Gaynor's books...I have read every single one of them and fall more in love with her writing with each book. And, I find that they are the perfect books to listen to - her stories just translate so well on audio. My only complaint is that I now have to wait until her next book comes out.

This book was completely captivating right from the start. I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn't expect to feel such an emotional connection to the characters as I did. I found that even when I had to put the book down (damn life getting in the way!) I was constantly thinking about the characters and the story and what would happen next. And I couldn't wait to pick it up again but at the same time, I also didn't want to rush through it...this was a book that I did not want to end.

I loved the way this story was told, using the dual narrative and found that I was equally invested in both time lines. The book is based on the true story of Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper's daughter. The story alternates between Grace's story in 1838 and Mathilda Emmerson's story in 1938. Both women are brave, strong and inspiring in their own right, yet this is also a story that is full of tragedy, heartache and terrible loss.

This book will take you on quite an emotional journey. It is a story about relationships and sacrifices, love and loss, and living life to its fullest and with passion. These characters have certainly worked their way into my heart and I won't be forgetting them anytime soon. There is a reason I love Hazel Gaynor's books and this latest one proves it...simply put - a beautifully written story!

Audio thoughts:  This was such a great book to listen to...and Imogen Church did a fantastic job narrating it. The book takes you on an emotional journey, for sure, but Imogen Church handles the emotions perfectly. She gives each character their own unique voice and her accents were great, as were her intonations and pacing. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. 


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