A Fascination with Lighthouses
Lighthouses are settings for a number of novels. People are fascinated by the mystery surrounding such remote places. Two recent novels that have lighthouse settings are: Light between Oceans by M. L. Stedman and Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz.
This quote from Light between Oceans sums up the theme of the book: “…all this love, so bent out of shape, refracted, like light through the lens.” Set in the 1920s at a lighthouse off the Australian coast where the great Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet, Tom and Isabel are a young married couple who seem unable to have children when they find a boat on their shore with a dead man and a live baby inside. Isabel convinces Tom to keep the baby as their own child. On one of their rare trips off the island, they learn of Hannah who lost her husband and baby girl Grace and realize that Grace must actually be their Lucy. This book deals with the moral and ethical questions surrounding Grace/Lucy and the heartache of those who love her.
Edge of the Earth was written by an author with Wisconsin roots. It is set in the late 1890s at Milwaukee and at the lighthouse on Point Lucia, California. Trudy is a young woman from a middle class German American family. She is expected to marry her childhood friend Ernst. Then she meets Ernst’s bold and intellectual cousin, Oskar Swann. They soon marry, and Oskar gets a job at the Point Lucia lighthouse. Oskar joins the other two keepers at the lighthouse, Henry Crawley and his wife Euphemia, and Euphemia’s brother Archie Johnston. Mary, Edward, Nicholas, and Jane are the four Crawley children, and Trudy becomes their teacher in between all of the hard work of running a household and a lighthouse. Trudy becomes fascinated with the creatures around the lighthouse and with the children’s help begins to study and catalog the tidal pools. But there are mysteries about the lighthouse. What is the story behind the grave for Baby Johnston? Was Archie married, and if so, what happened to his wife? Who or what is breaking the lighthouse windows? Is there a mysterious person living in one of the caves by the lighthouse?
If you are interested in lighthouses, give these novels a try. The Library also has many nonfiction books about lighthouses including lighthouses on the Great Lakes.