Historical fiction · mystery

The Lamplighters – Emma Stonex ★★★★

Blurb; Inspired by a haunting true story, a gorgeous and atmospheric novel about the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower miles from the Cornish coast–and about the wives who were left behind.

What strange fate befell these doomed men? The heavy sea whispers their names. Black rocks roll beneath the surface, drowning ghosts. And out of the swell like a finger of light, the salt-scratched tower stands lonely and magnificent.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1972, when a boat pulls up to the Maiden Rock lighthouse with relief for the keepers. But no one greets them. When the entrance door, locked from the inside, is battered down, rescuers find an empty tower. A table is laid for a meal not eaten. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a storm raging round the tower, but the skies have been clear all week. And the clocks have all stopped at 8:45.

Two decades later, the wives who were left behind are visited by a writer who is determined to find the truth about the men’s disappearance. Moving between the women’s stories and the men’s last weeks together in the lighthouse, long-held secrets surface and truths twist into lies as we piece together what happened, why, and who to believe.

In her riveting and suspenseful novel, Emma Stonex writes a story of isolation and obsession, of reality and illusion, and of what it takes to keep the light burning when all else is swallowed by dark.

My Review; I absolutely loved this book. Devoured the first half then had a baby so it took me a while to finish it but it was always on my mind trying to figure out what happened to these men who seem to have disappeared into thin air from a remote lighthouse. Based off a true story makes it even more real for me. The story is told through each of the different characters. The men aboard the lighthouse and their significance others on land. There was never a concrete answer as to where these men went or being found. A gripping mystery. Lots of tension throughout. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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Adventure · Historical fiction

The Cat Who Saved Books – Sosuke Natsukawa ★★★★

Blurb; A celebration of books, cats, and the people who love them, infused with the heartwarming spirit of The Guest Cat and The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and Tiger and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners. 

Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to perish on a bookshelf, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. Their adventures culminate in one final, unforgettable challenge—the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest dare enter…

My Review; What a beautifully written story. A short story at just under 200 pages but one that will stay close to your heart. Perfect for book lovers, cat lovers and quotes lovers. This book contains so many gorgeous, beautiful and relatable quotes to save and share with others. Brilliantly translated. It gives the reader a lot to think about and alot you can probably relate to as a bookworm.

The setting is perfect a little old second hand bookshop. A talking cat that takes you on adventures to save books and a beautiful friendship bonding over books. I absolutely loved this book. A rare gem find. I’m so glad I managed to read this. Really cheered me up with a beautiful, happy ending for everyone. Easy to devour. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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crime · Detective · Historical fiction · mystery

The Long Long Afternoon – Inga Vesper ★★★★

Blurb; It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes wilt under the California sun.

At some point during the long, long afternoon Joyce Haney, a seemingly happy housewife and mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind only two terrified young children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

With the stifling heat of Tangerine and the gripping pace of Little Deaths, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and, ultimately, underestimated.

My review; A random pick from my to be read (TBR) pile. But a brilliant read! Not what I expected at all. The story is told through the four main characters of this story and you have to bare in mind that the story is set in the 1950s. So warning – it does contain some racism and the N word.

When Joyce seems to just vanished one afternoon it’s a real mystery and there are plenty of different explanations as to why and where she has gone. Was she kidnapped? Affair? Ran away? Killed? Endless possibilities. But the story has plenty to keep the reader hooked with many secrets becoming revealed. Gripping. Exciting. Fast paced. An ending I never expected. Highly recommend. Really enjoyed it. A well deserved four stars.

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