Title: Secrets of the Lighthouse Author: Santa Montefiore Published: August 5th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Format: Hardcover, 448 pages Genre: Romance
Ever since I read “The French Gardner”, I have been in search of another book by Santa Montefiore that would give me the same feel. Though I enjoyed parts of “The Secrets of the Lighthouse”, there was something missing for me. Something that did not match up to the first book.
Except for the scene where Ellen threw her cell phone into the sea, you would have thought that this book had taken place in the 1800’s. What thirty-three year old woman could be forced by her mother to marry for wealth and position or what woman would have the hem of her skirt catch fire because she ran up a flight of stairs that was lined by candles? If the author would have changed the time period, I believe that the overall premise of the book would have worked.
Set on the desolate coast of Connemara in Ireland, the story is of Ellen Trawton who is running away from her life in London. Away from her controlling mother and an engagement to a man that she cannot tolerate. In a desperate move, Ellen runs to find her mother’s family, a family that her own mother had abandoned prior to Ellen’s birth.
In a way that romantic novels do, Connemara and the people soothed Ellen’s soul. That is until she meets ruggedly handsome Conor Macauslan who has a secret of his own. It was his wife, five years prior, which had caught her dress on fire and now Caitlin haunts a nearby castle (sorry, even that was too preposterous for me) and a lighthouse. Places that have fascinated Ellen since her arrival.
Told in alternating voices of both Ellen and Caitlin, the story is slowly built as to what has happened in the past and with Ellen’s burgeoning writing career, the final chapters can finally be written. Yes, that was a bit of a stretch to read.
With a Gothic feel, this romance missed the mark for me. Be it Ellen’s naiveté or the obvious family ties, this book seemed to go on forever. I can understand how some loved this book, but for me, I was disappointed that it could not live up to the previous book.