Oh, Look! Another book about a Lighthouse. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it but I love Lighthouses. And, another shocker, a Historical Fiction book based in a Lighthouse. I’m sure that’s another shocker, I love History too. I will give you a few minutes to recover from two shocking revelations in such a short time.
This is a dual timeline story by the amazing Hazel Gaynor. Hazel has a way with words that makes them almost dance in front of you.
It is 1838, Grace Darling is the daughter of the keeper of Longstone Island’s Lighthouse. But as a daughter she is forbidden from ever taking over any of the manual duties of tending a light. It was thought that the work was too physical and too demanding for a woman to undertake. Though Grace is forbidden to perform the many tasks that tending a light entails, she does them with aplomb and the fierce determination that someone who has been told they can’t do.
One night a fierce storm ravages their island. While Grace’s brothers desperately try to keep the light lit so ships can find their way through the waves and wind, Grace sees a ship close to foundering on the rocky shoals. She knows that if her father and she can’t reach the boat the sailors on the ship will drown. Though the water is roiling and the waves are huge, they undertake a massive rescue operation. With only a rowboat and sheer determination.
By some miracle she and her father rescue all of the sailors. Grace is then danced into infamy with poems, songs, and stories written about her.
Meanwhile, our dual timeline takes us to 1938. Matilda has been sent away in shame after becoming pregnant. She is sent to live with her cousin who is a Lighthouse keeper. Matilda carries Grace’s book and locket. Passed down to her from her family.
As we delve deeper into the story we learn how these two are related and why Matilda’s family possesses Grace’s belongings.
* Grace Darling was a real person. If you are interested in reading more about her, there are several websites on the internet that can help you research this fascinating person.