The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford — New Review

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This is the first Lighthouse Book I’ve reviewed for this blog, but not the first I’ve read, and I’m sorry to say this was something of a disappointment. Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall and The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E Pendziwol were both excellent, and I think I would’ve enjoyed them even had they not been about lighthouses. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford, on the other hand, I don’t think I would’ve picked up had it not been for the lighthouse connection. It sounded from the blurb like a fairly ordinary romance, and even featured the dreaded ‘secret from the past’ which I always assume will be something of a cliché.

Their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

The beginning of the book carried me along easily enough. I think this is the first time I’ve read a Lighthouse Book centred around a lighthouse in the UK, and also the first time the central lighthouse isn’t working. Imogen and her friend visit the lighthouses the same way I would, as a tourist attraction and holiday cottage, rather than being employed in the workings of the lighthouse. By the time I got to the middle of the book, though, I was definitely flagging. The language was fine, without being particularly noteworthy, and the story was a fairly generic romance. Even when, just past the middle of the book, everything started to happen, I still wasn’t that engaged.

Their friendship hangs in the air between their two separate lives, their paths don’t cross, there are no mutual friends to remind one of the other’s existence; at any time, their connection can disappear without consequence.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, Cherry Radford

I almost think I should have been more invested in this book than I was. I’ve never had a twitter romance, but I do have friends I’ve made online, who I only know online and who I connect with over IM clients and websites. Imogen’s experience doesn’t reflect mine at all, though. In fact, Imogen and Santiago being separated by a country’s breadth caused remarkably little angst, so I’m not sure why they couldn’t just as easily have been living in the same town. The book certainly picked up when they were together. I enjoyed those early chapters of Imogen being in Spain more than most of the rest of the book. I was particularly amused that Imogen shared my feelings about Les Misérables.

They’ve moved on to the bit that always lets it down: the stupid love-at-first-sight between Marius and Cosette. […] Now they’re singing the ‘In my life’ duet — it’s very pretty of course, but then so are they.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, Cherry Radford

The ending — and all the promised secret-related drama — seemed both contrived and rushed. I didn’t really get a sense that the characters had any strong feelings related to what they were discovering, it didn’t change anything about their lives. After reading The Thorn Birds, that was a bit of a disappointment. I suppose this was a much lighter, easier read, but it wasn’t very satisfying. I think if you like this kind of story, there are better examples out there — though, I admit, I’m only capable of recommending You’ve Got Mail as a comparison, because I haven’t read many books in this genre.

Next, I’ll be reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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