The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the...

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Title:The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
Author:Hazel Gaynor
Rating:

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    When you have a favorite author, you count the days until her next release. The day came for Hazel Gaynor and The Lightkeeper’s Daughter, and it lived up to my every expectation!

    First of all, in case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with lighthouses. I grew up near one, my husband proposed to me there, and we later married near another. There is something both mystical and majestic about them, along with their steadfast beaming light

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    When you have a favorite author, you count the days until her next release. The day came for Hazel Gaynor and The Lightkeeper’s Daughter, and it lived up to my every expectation!

    First of all, in case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with lighthouses. I grew up near one, my husband proposed to me there, and we later married near another. There is something both mystical and majestic about them, along with their steadfast beaming light signaling support to all those who need it.

    Told in dual narratives, of which I loved both in equal measure (which is not always the case with dual narratives!), the first is set in Northumberland, England in 1838. The Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands is tended by the Darling family, which is where we meet young Grace Darling. She witnesses a shipwreck in a horrific storm and convinces her father that they must help the survivors, which in turn puts their own lives in jeopardy.

    Grace is strong and cares for the lighthouse better than any of her siblings, but when it comes down to who is next in line for the job, it will be her brother, and not her because she is female. Even though she is celebrated as a hero throughout England for her efforts in saving the shipwrecked survivors, no matter; she still cannot inherit the job at the light.

    The second timeline is in 1938 Newport, Rhode Island at another lighthouse. Just 19-years-old, pregnant, and unwed, Matilda Emmerson is sent from Ireland to live with a distant relative in the United States. There are connections amongst these characters and across timelines that are unexpected and beautifully-executed.

    Hazel Gaynor is a natural storyteller. Her books are emotional, charming, and heartwarming. Inspired by the true story of Grace Darling, in The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, Gaynor has given us several formidable, memorable, and inspiring female characters who are the epitome of bravery and sacrifice that know no bounds. This book gets my highest recommendation. Don’t miss it!

    Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own. The physical copy was purchased by me. This beauty had to go on the shelf next to my other Hazel Gaynor books! P.s. Update: I just now ordered the UK edition, too. 🤓

  • Angela M

    4.5 stars.

    “My sister Thomasin used to say she imagined the stairwell was a long vein running from the heart of the lighthouse. In one way or another, we have all attached human qualities to these old stone walls so that it has become another member of the family, not just a building to house us .”

    When a novel is based on the life of a real person, it’s many times a dilemma for me on how to rate it because I inevitably try to find out more about the person when I’m reading the book and then I’m

    4.5 stars.

    “My sister Thomasin used to say she imagined the stairwell was a long vein running from the heart of the lighthouse. In one way or another, we have all attached human qualities to these old stone walls so that it has become another member of the family, not just a building to house us .”

    When a novel is based on the life of a real person, it’s many times a dilemma for me on how to rate it because I inevitably try to find out more about the person when I’m reading the book and then I’m disappointed if the fictional character’s story is more imagined than true, although I shouldn’t be. It is fiction. So I decided I would read and rate this book before trying to find out more about the real Grace Darling. It looks like the author kept to some specific details of Grace Darling’s life. She’s the daughter of the keeper of Longstone Lighthouse in Northumberland, England. She is a dedicated assistant to her father and in 1838, during a horrific storm, they rescue survivors of a shipwreck. It is this act that brings her unwanted fame and attention. Among the survivors is Sarah Dawson who happens to be the sister of George Emmerson, an artist who Grace has met and is drawn to. There is a second story line a century later in Rhode Island, where nineteen year old and pregnant Matilda has been sent from Ireland to live with a family friend, Harriet, also a lighthouse keeper until she gives birth.

    There are so many novels with dual story lines in different times. I enjoy these if the connection feels real, and this was one of those stories. This is actually one of the few dual time line books where I enjoyed both timelines equally. I think it was because of the wonderful way Gaynor connects them - the relationships, the lighthouses, a locket, a painting and definitely the courage of all of the women. It was notable that in these alternating narratives of the characters that Grace’s, Matilda’s and Harriet’s were in the first person and the others in the third person. This made for much more intimate connections with the three women.

    The writing is very good in places, especially the description of the storm. Considering that this wasn’t necessarily a short book, I read it fairly quickly because I was always interested in finding out more. A cliche, perhaps to say it was captivating, but I was totally taken by each of these strong women and how they managed to move forward in spite of things that weren’t always easy to face. In spite of a revelation towards the end that felt a bit much to me, this book is deserving of five stars because I enjoyed it every step of the way. I can’t say that I’ve ever had an affinity to the lighthouses I’ve seen, but I’ll probably think about them in a different light the next time I see one.

    This was a Traveling Sisters read. I was a little late to the party but enjoyed everyone’s comments.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.

  • Norma * Traveling Sister

    Captivating, affecting & heart-wrenching!

    This was my very first HAZEL GAYNOR book, and I must say that I absolutely loved her writing style. I was immediately drawn into this extraordinary story by her beautiful storytelling right from the very first page and had me totally immersed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

    THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by HAZEL GAYNOR is an absolutely stunning, sad, moving, heartwarming, and an excellent historical fiction novel that was i

    Captivating, affecting & heart-wrenching!

    This was my very first HAZEL GAYNOR book, and I must say that I absolutely loved her writing style. I was immediately drawn into this extraordinary story by her beautiful storytelling right from the very first page and had me totally immersed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

    THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by HAZEL GAYNOR is an absolutely stunning, sad, moving, heartwarming, and an excellent historical fiction novel that was inspired by the true story of Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter. A fascinating story!

    Some parts of this book was extremely sad and heartbreaking for me to read as it takes you on quite the emotional journey and I couldn’t help but feel right along with all the characters heartache, loss, and tragedy. Even though there was so much sadness the book also had so much warmth and love emanating throughout that was so inspiring and empowering to read. Just how strong, resilient, and brave these women were was absolutely remarkable and it was an absolute pleasure reading and learning Grace Darling’s story.

    HAZEL GAYNOR delivers a vividly descriptive, intriguing and beautifully written story here where she interweaves skillfully two different timelines, spanning over decades and centuries. Grace’s story in 1838 and Matilda Emmerson’s in 1938. Both of these women’s stories captured my heart and I found them both as equally compelling and not once did I feel like one was more interesting than the other.

    I have a fascination for books with settings of lighthouses and it was one of those books for me where the author’s beautiful prose, moving storyline, and endearing characters made this an all-around fabulous read for me. I love it when an author can bring out so many emotions from me while I am reading and for me that is one incredibly satisfying reading experience!

    Norma’s Stats:

    Cover: Formidable, somber, breathtaking, wondrous, intriguing and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.

    Title: Appealing, intriguing, interested and a simple but yet such a powerful representation to storyline.

    Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, exquisite, engaging, captivating, and fluent.

    Plot: Thought-provoking, powerful, passionate, emotional, engrossing, steady-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining.

    Ending: A sorrowful ending that I was extremely satisfied with as it ended historically correct.

    Overall: An enthralling and memorable read that had me totally engrossed, emotional, and interested from start to finish! Would highly recommend!

    Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Hazel Gaynor for providing me with an Advanced Reader’s E-Proof in exchange for a review!

    Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:

  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    5+ stars!

    Excuse me, while I dust off my Favourites shelf to make room for this beautiful, spellbinding, unforgettable novel that has secured a forever spot in my heart. Not only does this mesmerizing book belong on my Favourites shelf, it easily takes top spot as my favourite read of 2018! I simply cannot imagine anything surpassing the love I have for this story.

    I have such a soft spot for books involving lighthouses. There is something about them that I am drawn to – they have such a secretiv

    5+ stars!

    Excuse me, while I dust off my Favourites shelf to make room for this beautiful, spellbinding, unforgettable novel that has secured a forever spot in my heart. Not only does this mesmerizing book belong on my Favourites shelf, it easily takes top spot as my favourite read of 2018! I simply cannot imagine anything surpassing the love I have for this story.

    I have such a soft spot for books involving lighthouses. There is something about them that I am drawn to – they have such a secretive, magical, historic feel that intrigues me. This breathtaking novel, which strongly focuses on life as a lighthouse keeper, follows two interwoven timelines one hundred years apart – 1838 in Northumberland, England and 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island. Each timeline was equally intriguing for me – I was completely engrossed by every single word of this beautifully written multigenerational story. My mind and heart were fully captivated from the very first sentence.

    The start of this tale introduces us to twenty-two year old, Grace Darling, whose entire life has been lived simply on Farne Islands as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter. One day, during a horrific storm, Grace and her father bravely battle the sea in a row boat to rescue the survivors of a nearby shipwreck. Grace’s courage and bravery during the storm is unexpectedly publicly celebrated and honoured, making Grace a famous hero. The unanticipated praise and attention is hard for Grace to accept and handle.

    The lighthouses in this story are characters of their own. The author, Hazel Gaynor, creates an atmosphere so vivid and gripping that I truly felt myself as a part of this compelling and unforgettable scenery and cast of characters. The isolated islands, the damp and windy weather, the sparse beaches where washed up treasures were found and cherished, simple and quaint Cherry cottage. As I was reading, I could hear the echoes of the footsteps on the winding staircase as Grace climbed the lighthouse steps to proudly handle her daily duties.

    Upon finishing this amazing novel, I googled the name Grace Darling to find out this book is based on a true story. Wow - I had no idea! This knowledge enhanced my love for this novel as I absolutely love historical fiction for that reason – I love learning about a time in our history that I knew little or nothing about.

    This book is written so beautifully that there will be no choice other than to make its way into your heart. I warn you to have plenty of Kleenex ready, as this is an emotional journey that had me sobbing uncontrollably a few times. I just love a good book cry! As my lovely GR Traveling Sister Norma brilliantly stated, as sad as this story is, it is filled with so much warmth and love. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming!

    This was a Traveling Sister read that we all adored. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit our blog at:

    A HUGE thank you to Edelweiss, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. and Hazel Gaynor for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

    The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is AVAILABLE NOW! It is an absolute MUST READ!

  • Cheri

    4.5 Stars

    -- Louisa May Alcott

    When I was a child, there was an older man, a former sea Captain who lived in a tiny cabin overlooking one of the lakes in our town. He got by on doing odd jobs in the neighborhood and on whatever else he might have received. I know my father had somewhat of a soft spot for him, where my mother disliked his rough, unmannered ways. Through him, I heard stories of life on the wild seas, and about ligh

    4.5 Stars

    -- Louisa May Alcott

    When I was a child, there was an older man, a former sea Captain who lived in a tiny cabin overlooking one of the lakes in our town. He got by on doing odd jobs in the neighborhood and on whatever else he might have received. I know my father had somewhat of a soft spot for him, where my mother disliked his rough, unmannered ways. Through him, I heard stories of life on the wild seas, and about lighthouses being a beacon to those at sea, and for him perhaps more like a parent welcoming a child home. Because of him and his love for lighthouses, I have always loved them, for many years more from afar, but later on I began to try and explore as many as I could.

    So, for me this was another exploration into a new lighthouse, through the pages of a story that is based on a true story. The story of Grace Darling, a twenty-two year old young woman living in a lighthouse on the Farne Islands in 1838, her father the lighthouse keeper, and she, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. A title that would imply she was only that, a daughter, but she assisted in the running of the lighthouse. In fact, she wants no other life than this.

    When a horrendous storm causes a the shipwreck of the Forfarshire, she convinces her father that they must come to the aid of those she can see shipwrecked on the rocks, and they rescue the nine survivors, risking their own lives in the process. When this news becomes public, it spreads further and soon people are flocking to see this brave young woman.

    Among the survivors is a woman named Sarah Dawson, sister to artist George Emmerson, whom Grace has met. He becomes one of many artists desiring to capture her portrait; he is already captured by her.

    There is an alternating story, in an another time, a hundred years hence, that centers around Mathilda, whose story begins with her leaving her home of Cobh, Ireland, and carrying a secret with her to Newport, Rhode Island. Her secret will become more obvious as the months pass, but her parents in Ireland will avoid the public shame she would cause them had she stayed. Not that it was by her choice, her mother has sent her to live with a family friend, Harriet, in yet another lighthouse.

    Very poignant, life-affirming, occasionally heart wrenching, but also heartwarming historical-fiction, a novel reminding us of the best that is within us, and inspiring us with the stories of these young women who didn’t allow their fears to conquer them, but who rose to the occasion with the courage to face their future.

    Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 Two strong, able women, a century apart, and their lives as keepers of a lighthouse.

    WHAT I LIKED

    The settings, lighthouses are one of the things I seek out on my vacations. I love them and the role they have played throughout history.

    Grace Darling was a real person, and as always that sets a different tone to the story, an authenticity if you will. She did live in a lighthouse on Farne Island and did help rescue nine people when the steamer, Fecfashire broke apart during a horrific storm. He

    3.5 Two strong, able women, a century apart, and their lives as keepers of a lighthouse.

    WHAT I LIKED

    The settings, lighthouses are one of the things I seek out on my vacations. I love them and the role they have played throughout history.

    Grace Darling was a real person, and as always that sets a different tone to the story, an authenticity if you will. She did live in a lighthouse on Farne Island and did help rescue nine people when the steamer, Fecfashire broke apart during a horrific storm. Her life would be changed due to the notoriety this brought into her life.

    The atmosphere and the descriptions of the many natural items Grace collected. These were beautifully described.

    That this book showcased strong women who, especially Grace in the late 18800s that women were not expected nor encouraged to do. They each forged their own paths, sdmirably if not always joyfully.

    The writing, Gaynor does a good job with these historical novels.

    WHAT I LIKED A BIT LESS

    The dual timeline. Although the timelines are connected through the lighthouses and a looser surprise connection, this is far from my favorite way of presenting a story. I usually end up liking one more than the other.

    The novel sometimes became lost in the details, some just went on too long, and the story bogged down.

    As you can see there were many more likes than dislikes. This was a sisters read, and most absolutely loved it. I liked it very much but with a few reservations.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Karen

    4.5

    I enjoyed this book very much. This is the story of two main characters Grace and Matilda, a century apart, so there is a dual timeline.

    Part of the story was based on the real story of Grace Darling, who with her family, lived in and ran the Longstone Lighthouse off the coast of Northumberland in 1838, where she and her father were involved in a rescue after a shipwreck. Grace Darling became a real hero.

    Matilda is a young unwed woman in Ireland, in 1938, who finds herself with child and is s

    4.5

    I enjoyed this book very much. This is the story of two main characters Grace and Matilda, a century apart, so there is a dual timeline.

    Part of the story was based on the real story of Grace Darling, who with her family, lived in and ran the Longstone Lighthouse off the coast of Northumberland in 1838, where she and her father were involved in a rescue after a shipwreck. Grace Darling became a real hero.

    Matilda is a young unwed woman in Ireland, in 1938, who finds herself with child and is sent by her family to Rhode Island to stay with a relative to wait out her term.. the relative is a lighthouse keeper there.

    The two stories are woven together beautifully.

    I love lighthouses, have always thought I’d like to live in one. We have many of them here in Michigan because of the Great Lakes and all the shipping done on them. So, I like to read anything having to do with them!

    There was a quote used in a letter in this book that really got to me and it was by Charles Dickens, who I’ve never read..

    “I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul”

    This one really got to me.

  • Elyse Walters

    Settings are either in Ireland.....

    or America...

    Back & Forward storytelling...

    Between two centuries....

    1938... and 1838

    With 100 years between Grace and Matilda, ... in this historical fiction...they will link together.

    I enjoyed this story - but felt the style in which this book was written… Jumping back-and-forth 100 years was a little jarring.... spoiling my enjoyment of ‘being-here-now’.

    Harriet is the third female in this novel you’ll meet.

    All three of these women are resilient in their

    Settings are either in Ireland.....

    or America...

    Back & Forward storytelling...

    Between two centuries....

    1938... and 1838

    With 100 years between Grace and Matilda, ... in this historical fiction...they will link together.

    I enjoyed this story - but felt the style in which this book was written… Jumping back-and-forth 100 years was a little jarring.... spoiling my enjoyment of ‘being-here-now’.

    Harriet is the third female in this novel you’ll meet.

    All three of these women are resilient in their own ways.

    I liked this book - enjoyed the characters AND the story - yet it all felt a little thin to me.

    What elevated my feelings - wasn’t this story per say, but rather learning that’s this novel was based on true events.

    That ‘did’ add more emotional depth.

    I liked it ... fast easy read. Truthfully... I’ve found it hard to be ecstatic about much since reading Michelle Obama’s book.

    I did like “Florida” by Lauren Groff... but that was very different.

    Growth for me was involved!

    Good story ... my mood for it was so-so!

    3.5 rating...

    Rating Up - as I honestly did enjoy the characters and appreciate the author’s research.

  • Holly  B

    I listened to most of this one on Audible and really enjoyed the book and the narrator. The story drew me in early and I adored the character of Grace. She was told that she would never find a husband if she hid away in her "tower" and that she shouldn't expect a "tide to deliver one." The whole lighthouse setting was intriguing.

    The timeline alternates from the Longstone Lighthouse in 1838 to Ireland in 1938. A century apart the two stories will connect the family ties that link the characters a

    I listened to most of this one on Audible and really enjoyed the book and the narrator. The story drew me in early and I adored the character of Grace. She was told that she would never find a husband if she hid away in her "tower" and that she shouldn't expect a "tide to deliver one." The whole lighthouse setting was intriguing.

    The timeline alternates from the Longstone Lighthouse in 1838 to Ireland in 1938. A century apart the two stories will connect the family ties that link the characters and the strength the portrayed.

    The first half was full of suspense as the SS Forfarshire is hit by a tumultuous storm and Grace shows courage as she helps her father with the "rescue" of the survivors. She becomes a bit of a celebrity in the area as the story spreads. Later there is a romance that develops between Grace and the brother of a survivor, but I didn't feel like it added much to the main story line of the women and their family history.

    Overall, very enjoyable and beautifully written. I could have passed on the added romance. I have already bought a second novel by this author.

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