Book Review: The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex | More2Read
 

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex


 

 

 

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About The Lamplighters:

 

They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.
They say the sea keeps its secrets . . .

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.


 

Praise For The Lamplighters:

 

‘A mystery, a love story and a ghost story, all at once. I didn’t want it to end’
– S J Watson

“Emma Stonex has written a gorgeous page-turner that is at once a mystery and a novel about mysteries–about how we all write our own endings and suffer betrayals, but still light the lamps so the people we love can find their way home.”
–Charlotte Rogan, The Lifeboat

“Beautiful, absorbing and utterly riveting, The Lamplighters is a hymn to loneliness, to the sea, and to the stories we allow ourselves to believe when we are alone. I treasured every moment of this dazzlingly accomplished and completely unforgettable novel.”
–Rosie Walsh, author of Ghosted

“Wonderfully smart and atmospheric.”
—Observer

“A remarkable book, through every page, every character, the writing resonates with the dark, powerful presence of the sea.”
–Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path

“Transported me effortlessly…Haunting, harrowing and heartbreaking, this is a novel that will stay with you.”
–Ashley Audrain, author of The Push

“A gorgeous page-turner that is at once a mystery and a novel about mysteries.”
–Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

“A beautifully written, utterly compelling tale.”
—Jenny Colgan, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner

“Stonex’s spectacular debut wraps a haunting mystery in precise, starkly beautiful prose…Seamlessly marrying quotidian detail with ghostly touches, the author captures both the lighthouse’s lure and the damage its isolation and confinement wreak on minds and families. The convincing resolution brings a welcome note of healing. Readers will eagerly await Stonex’s next.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

 


 

Review:

A novelist interviews and searches for truths twenty years later sitting down with the wives, with the past and possibilities.
Parts of the tale are in 1992 other parts back then in real time of the lighthouse in 1972 through either writings of a journal and various forms of telling all interweaving to the finality of the mystery.
The Men have the lighthouse and the wives at home, except one Vincent, a new resident a Supernumerary Assistant Keeper.

Secret pasts unraveling as the tale comes to resolution on the fates of the men of the lighthouse that will keep you reading along its course to the light beaming source of truth and a profound journey it will be with mystery.
“Things turn rotten after a while on a tower.”
Atmosphere and mystery, secrets and illusions, The Maiden Rock Mystery awaits the readers invitation with haunted souls, loss, local legends, new starts, and the beauty and ferociousness of the sea and isolation.  

 


 

Excerpts:

“The sea is quiet, with the glass-like quality that comes after bad weather. Jory unlatches the window and the fresh air is very nearly solid, and edible thing, clinking between the trawler cottages like an ice cube in a. Drink. There’s nothing like the smell of the seas, nothing close: briny, clean, like vinegar kept in the fridge. Today its’s soundless. Jory knows loud seas and silent seas, heaving seas and mirror seas, seas where your boat feels like the last blink of humankind on a roll so determined and angry that you believe in what you don’t believe in, such as the sea being that halfway thing between heaven and hell, or whatever lies up there and whatever lurks down deep. A fisherman told him once about the sea having to faces. You have to take the both, he said, the good and the bad, and never turn your back on either one of them.”

“Three men alone on a lighthouse in the middle of the sea. There’s nothing special about it, nothing at all, just three men and a lot of water. It takes a certain sort to withstand being locked up. Loneliness. Isolation. Monotony. Nothing for miles except sea and sea and sea. No friends No women. Just the other two, day in, day out, unable to get away from them, it could drive you stark mad.”

“The Times, Sunday, 31 December 1972
Trident house has been informed of the disappearance of the three of its keepers from the Maiden Rock Lighthouse, fifteen miles southwest of Land’s End. The men have been named as Principal Keeper Arthur Black, Assistant Keeper William ‘Bill’ Walker and Supernumerary Assistant Keeper Vincent Bourne.”

“Nowhere to hide on a lighthouse, that’s the thing. In every room from bottom to top, it’s two strides to the weight tube and two to the other side.”

“A keeper never abandons his light.”

Helen:
“Every summer she made her pilgrimage, on his birthday or thereabouts. She left the dog with a friend and went by train to the nearest station, half an hour or so from the coast, and by taxi the rest of the way. Nothing much changed; nothing was different. Though the business of life went on across its surface, the earth beneath moved slowly. Waves rolled to shore, forever and ever, patiently; the leaves of the beech trees wafted like a Chinese fan.”

Arthur:
“Twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six days
Suns rise and moons rise. Lamps lit and lights put out. Stars swing on the night frame, ancient patterns reordered, saucepan on the tilt, crab upside down, Scorpio and Mazzaroth and equinox. Wind waves and horse ride, froth and spume then Calm and calm; endless sea, rapidly changing mood, whispering and whistling its sad song, soul song, lost song, gone but never for long, up again until it’s rolling, and at the heart of it our Maiden, rooted down like a centuries-old oak, hunkered right into the rock.”
 

 


 

About Emma Stonex:

Emma Stonex was born in 1983 and grew up in Northamptonshire. After working in publishing for several years, she quit to pursue her dream of writing fiction. She lives in the Southwest with her family.

 

 



 

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 02 March 2021