#BookChat – ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex and ‘The Metal Heart’ by Caroline Lea @PenguinUKBooks @picadorbooks – thank you for the gifted copies.

The Blurb

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events

My thoughts

I loved the shifting of the book’s narrative between the men’s perspective in 1972 and the women in 1992; so let me explain… the base of this story comes from the actual disappearance of three men in the 1900s from a lighthouse situated in the Outer Hebrides. Stonex takes this mystery and weaves her own vision of events into ‘The Lamplighters’ and she’s created an excellent read with a driven narrative. We begin to piece together the parts of the whole story via interviews with those left behind and the narrative of the past.

I love books set by the sea; the isolated and tempestuous setting of this story is really atmospheric and bleak, and it also offers the psychological journey of being in such an environment.

Overall, I found this quite a haunting read, and I kept thinking about it after I closed the final page. With themes of love, loss, grief and hidden truths and I would happily recommend this book.

The Blurb

Orkney, 1941.

Five hundred Italian prisoners of war arrive to fortify these wild and desolate islands.

Orphaned sisters Dorothy and Constance volunteer to nurse the wounded. But while beautiful, damaged Constance remains wary of the men, Dot finds herself increasingly drawn to Cesare, a young man fighting on the wrong side and broken by the horrors of battle. Secretly, passionately, they fall in love.

When a tragic mistake from Con’s past returns to haunt them, Dot must make a choice:

Protect her sister no matter the costs, or save the man who has captured her heart?

My thoughts

An absolutely spell weaving novel by Caroline Lea. I loved her first novel ‘The Glass Woman’ and was delighted to find ‘The Metal Heart’ providing an absolutely absorbing read to.

The island setting of Orkney was a delight and this really enriched the story of love and courage. If you follow the author’s Instagram page there are pictures of the island, these really bring a sense of reality to the story.

Beautiful and satisfying to read; this book comes highly recommended from me.

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