The Lightkeeper’s Wife showcased two remarkable women trying to take control their lives in a world dominated by men. These are just the type of characters I love to read about, but I couldn’t have predicted how powerful their stories would be. Hannah, the lightkeeper’s wife, was a determined and brave young woman who worked the lighthouse with her husband even though her parents and society didn’t approve. Alice was another woman set on breaking free of female stereotypes when she convinced the sailors aboard her husband’s ship to teach her to sail. The feisty spirits of these women made this book entertaining. The whimsical writing conjured the nautical elements very well: the cold sea spray, the salty air, the coarse grains of sand, and the ominous cloudy sky. Aside from just being descriptive, Sarah Anne Johnson wrote with an intensity that allowed her characters’ passions and fears to come to life.
When her husband ventured to town for supplies, Hannah fearlessly manned the lighthouse alone. After a shipwreck occurred near the lighthouse, she rescued Billy and brought him into her home to recover. I was surprised when Alice’s narration became a pirate tale and she transformed from a prim wife to the vengeful pirate Blue. The plot events showcased each woman’s determination and vulnerabilities, which allowed them to evolve through the book. Since there was no time period referenced to differentiate the alternating stories, I waited anxiously to see how they would connect. The sentence that gave away the twisted plot came so unexpectedly that I read it three times. Maybe I’m the only person who didn’t see the surprise coming, but I purposely allow stories to sweep me away rather than trying to figure out the ending. Johnson examined a variety of themes such as society’s views on life, love, and purpose, and still managed to tie them neatly together in a story where the pace never slowed.
This was a beautiful story I am so glad I read.