Monday, 4 April 2011

The Lighthouse by Kat Holmes

When Rachel Westmont inherits a lighthouse from an aunt she didn’t even know she had, she’s overjoyed. The news couldn’t have come at a better time. Newly divorced from a self-serving doctor, the change of scenery is just what she needs. So she packs up and leaves California for a little island off the coast of Maine.

Rachel falls in love with both Star Island and the beautiful lighthouse and cottage she’s inherited. But, odd things begin to happen right from the first day. Cold chills permeate the cottage and books fly off the shelves. And someone seems to be playing pranks on her.

But when the ante gets upped and someone tries to kill her, Rachel must turn to hunky local sheriff Craig Lewis for protection. Now bodies are turning up, people are getting hurt, and Rachel is starting to suspect her aunt didn’t die a natural death. Can Craig stop a killer from claiming Rachel as their next victim? A little help from a ghost may be in order.

The Lighthouse is one of those delightful mysteries that has you trying to guess whodunnit before the reveal. It moves along at a leisurely pace, the kind of read you want for a Sunday, which of course, is when I read it.

Rachel hasn’t had a good time of it really. Her ex-husband is a complete prat, and I disliked him for his use of Rachel. He married her so he could get through his studies—she paid for his keep etc. while he studied to be a doctor. Once he got what he wanted, he left her—for a bimbo. Nice, eh? So, feeling unattractive, because her ex had done that number on her where he told her she was fat and ugly and no one would want her, she’s down at heart. Then she gets news she’s inherited a lighthouse from an aunt her father had failed to mention and sets off to a new life on Star Island.

The island has a little over 500 inhabitants, and everyone knows everyone else. As it isn’t tourist season, Rachel finds wherever she goes, people know exactly who she is. This is a bit disconcerting, because she’s used to blending with the crowd in a big city, so not only does she have to cope with a new place to live, running a lighthouse (which would be alien for anyone if they hadn’t been brought up knowing what to do), she also has that sense of being in a goldfish bowl.

Everyone is friendly, and when someone breaks into her cottage, the local sheriff, Craig, offers his and other’s services to fix the lock and broken doorframe. She falls for him—hard—but doesn’t think he’d ever feel the same way about her. After all, no man would ever find her attractive, according to her ex. Would they?

Craig does like Rachel in that way, and he has a difficult time trying to convince her she’s nothing like her ex claimed. Of course, it’s understandable she wouldn’t believe the sheriff—she’s had it ingrained in her mind that she’s unattractive, so it takes a bit of time to tell herself otherwise.

While their attraction to one another blossoms, strange goings on start happening. A book keeps flying off the shelf, and I got that lovely feeling you get when you know a ghost is trying to tell a character to look in that book! Rachel does, finding it’s her dead aunt’s diary, and struggles to read the barely legible handwriting in a bid to get to know the woman she never had a chance to meet.

The diary reveals some sinister and surprising things, pointing to the fact her aunt’s death wasn’t an accident at all… When it becomes clear someone is after Rachel too, and other bodies start turning up, I began to wonder just who the hell the killer was. I loved the character the book pointed to, didn’t want it to be that person, and when an arrest was made, something didn’t sit quite right with me. Another character had mentioned something, and that had played on my mind, so I worked out who it really was. What I didn’t bargain for was the insanity of the killer. Previous to the reveal, the person had been kind and “normal”. During the reveal? Bloody hell, what a nutter!

The diary falling off the shelf.

The image of a body at the bottom of the stairs.

The scene where Rachel finds a body at the bottom of a cliff—great stuff!

The reveal and the killer’s insane explanation. Jeez, what a weirdo!

The Lighthouse is a good read with suspense, love, and that dash of creepiness that kept me reading. There are many characters, but not too many that you lose track—a host of people to choose from when you’re trying to work out who the killer is. Watching Rachel change from a downtrodden woman to one who came into her own was lovely, and if Craig were a real man, I’d give him a hug for being the one to bring her out of her shell.

1 comment:

Heather Haven said...

Wow! A very savvy review of what promises to be a great book. I enjoyed reading this review and I can't wait to read the book, as well, Sunday or not!