On the Bookshelf...

The Lighthouse Witches

CJ Cooke

A deserted lighthouse Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island stands a lighthouse. Strange and terrible events have happened here. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing. A lost family Liv Stay and her children don’t believe in witches or curses. But within months of arriving on the island, her daughter Luna is the only one of them left. An impossible child Twenty years later, Luna’s missing sister turns up out of the blue. She is exactly the girl Luna remembers. Same face. Same smile. Same age. Faced with the impossible, it’s up to Luna to find out what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago.

The Lighthouse Witches seems to be the second book I've read this year in which a lighthouse has a pivotal role. (see Lamplighters) At first, I wondered if the plots might be the same. They both feature people who go missing from a lighthouse without explanation. That's however where the similarities end. This book is totally different in content and atmosphere. In my opinion this one trumps Lamplighters, but it's a close run thing.

The story is told through two voices, first the mother who brings her children in the dead of night to a lighthouse on a remote Scottish island to paint a mural. The other is the tale told through her daughter, Luna, years later. Twenty years on from when her mother and two sisters went missing, her sister turns up and is exactly the same, except instead of being older, she's the same age as when she disappeared.

The story builds wonderfully. Witchcraft, wildings, and a touch of magic set against the burning of suspected witches in the past set a dark background to the story. The two storylines take you deep into the story as you are lead down one rabbit hole after another. The ending when the two stories collide in the present is glorious. I didn't see it coming and it gave me that wow moment.

A truly enjoyable and irresistible read. Five stars all the way

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Review by
AJ Steel
March 24, 2023

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