19 August, 2014

Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman [Kathy, Birkenhead Library]

A story of families and history for family history month, Lighthouse Bay cleverly weaves together the stories of Isabella in 1901 and Libby in the present day.

Unhappily married Isabella Winterbourne was travelling to Australia from London with her husband to deliver a valuable gift to the new Australian Parliament when the ship founders on the Queensland coast, leaving Isabella as the only survivor. Matthew Seaward, the local lighthouse keeper, takes her in and helps her make a new start.

Over a hundred years later Libby returns to her hometown of Lighthouse Bay after her lover dies. She is unsure of the reception she will receive from her estranged sister but is keen to reconcile and put the past behind them. The discovery of Matthew’s journals in the old lighthouse has implications for all.

Both main characters are likeable in different ways. Isabella is vulnerable, yet strongly determined to escape her old life. Libby has to redeem herself and forgive herself for her past mistakes and I found I became more sympathetic to her as the book goes on. There is a good mix of mystery and romance, and some thoughtful handling of different and difficult relationships.

Although the women live in different times, their stories have similar aspects, and remind us that often our decisions can have far-reaching consequences.

Title: Lighthouse Bay
Author: Kimberley Freeman
Published: 2012, 2013
Publisher: Hachette, Quercus Publishing Plc

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