Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret – and a future she never knew she might have. Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on. And between the two of them is an old lighthouse – the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?
I have long been a fan of Santa’s books, loving every word on every page. I eagerly await her next book to be released knowing very well that it will be a good story, one that I can get my teeth into and thoroughly enjoy while being transported to that land/family/life the story is based upon.
With ‘The Secrets of the Lighthouse’ Santa does not disappoint me! The story has depth, meaning and is every bit as good as any Irish books I have read written by true Irish authors! There was no danger of it reading as if written by an English author trying to put an Irish slant on the story.
Madeleine Byrne escaped her poor Irish heritage by marrying an English Lord and promptly puts all things Irish behind her. Many years later, when the impending marriage of her eldest daughter Ellen to William a young wealthy gentleman, looms, Ellen’s feelings of missing something in her life rise to the surface so strongly she decides to run away to her aunt in Connemara, from whom her mother has received but ignored letters every year.
It takes only a short time for Ellen to be welcomed into the bosom of the huge, protective family she never knew existed and life takes a dramatic turn for her. The local legends are told in the Pot of Gold, the local pub, and she learns of the story of Caitlin Macausland who died in the fire at the lighthouse 5 years before and of how brutal and uncaring her husband Conor was and still is. Ellen meets Conor after visiting the castle he and his family used to live in, now looked after by her uncle and cousin, and is fascinated by him.
Santa is excellent at weaving mysterious webs into her stories, and does again with this book. The story is compelling – it whisks the reader away to the windy hills and beaches of west Ireland and into the cosy, noisy pubs to enjoy a hearty meal and drink where Dylan plays his sad songs.
The story is not just about Ellen’s quest for freedom, true love and happiness, it also embraces the lives of her mother, aunt, uncles, cousin and the lonely songwriter Dylan. These stories are all interlaced with the story of Caitlin who is now a confused spirit and how her young life was ended so sadly and abruptly at the lighthouse.
This book is yet another great story by Santa Montefiore that you won’t want to put down and you will be sad when it ends, leaving you wanting more and more of the Byrne/Macausland families.