The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
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 . . .
Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.
Since my childhood days I have had a fascination with lighthouses, I have travelled around the coastline from Cornwall to the Scottish Isles to visit as many as I can so when I heard of The Lamplighters (Picador) by Emma Stonex I knew this was a book I was going to enjoy, and it really is outstanding.
It is New Year’s Eve 1972, and a boat is approaching the Maiden Rock lighthouse off the Cornish coast. This lighthouse is far off the coast and the three men that take turns at manning the lighthouse are isolated and when a storm starts the sea that surrounds them is a boiling sea that lashes the lighthouse.
The boat has come to relive the three men and take them back to shore to be with their families. But something is not quite right. There is no sign of Bill Walker, Arthur Black or Vincent Bourne, they have vanished mysteriously. But how is that possible, as they are miles from anywhere, just the sea for company.
Once inside the Maiden Rock lighthouse nothing seems as it should. That alone is enough to send a shiver down the spine. What has happened to the three men? Was it suicide, or murder or something more ghostly?
It is now 1992 and the mystery remains just that, there are now explanations and for Helen, Jenny, and Michelle, how can they move one when they do not know what happened to their loved ones and the mystery has only driven a wedge between them. But now a writer has come forward and wants to speak to the three women about their memories and now the three women talk their theories, and so we also get to see the days of the three men at the lighthouse.
The Lamplighters is a seriously impressive mystery that I really could not leave alone. Emma Stonex has written a stunning suspense packed novel that hints at a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery story. It is just so riveting and beautifully written. One of the best novels of 2021.
My thanks to Georgina Moore (Midas PR) and Picador for the review copy of The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex was published by Picador on 4th March 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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