This fantastic historical novel predominantly takes place in 19th Century Key West. As a piece of historical fiction, it is a celebration of the female lighthouse keepers of this era. It revolves around the character of Emily Lowry, the wife of a lighthouse keeper who finds herself widowed after the mysterious disappearance of her husband. Rather than moving back to her original home of Key West, Emily chooses to stay with her three children at Wreckers’ Cay to tend the lighthouse by herself. This sets her on a course that dramatically changes the rest of her life.
This novel is a story of perseverance, loss and love. I applaud Brady for creating a female character who is possessed of a rare kind of strength and complexity. At times I thought some of the events in the latter part of the novel bordered on convenient and slightly unrealistic, as if they were designed specifically to make the ending as happy as possible, but I have to admit I really have no problem with a happy ending. And I don’t mind having to suspend belief in order to get one every now and then. I will say that I wish I could stumble upon this financial good luck fairy that Emily finds, because he was really quite generous.
Overall, I’m quite glad that my book club won this title from an online book club site, because it’s a book I probably would have never picked up on my own. But it was very engaging, educational and an all-around wonderful read. 4 stars.