A book that seems well promoted in social media at the moment, The Lighthouse offers good engagement to keep the pages turning. It did have more of a Young Adult feeling than a grown-up read for me, with spooky but gentle ghosts, a sad but not gruesome mystery, young protagonists and a (pretty chaste) doe-eyed romance.
The story, set in an imaginary small town on the NW American coast, follows a young girl called Amy who is grieving for her recently passed mother and unable to communicate well with her dad, a cop. Dad accepts the case of a missing boy in Seabrook and takes Amy with him as a break, and then sort of disappears from the hotel where they are staying. I’m more worried about this than Amy seems to be, who (trigger alert) takes some of her father’s sleeping pills and goes to sleep in the bath.
There’s a lovely young lad called Ryan, who is caring for his aging, ill father, and trying to hide from him the fact that the ranch, which has been in the family for generations, is about to be repossessed because the horse-riding business that sustains it is failing. Again this feels a bit sketchily YA; the ranch is lacking the detail to make it authentic.
Ryan meets Amy, there is a town fair, a spirited young girl who appears at odd times, a mysterious disappearing taxi, lots of lovely horse riding and a growing romance, (all in the course of a couple of days) and the lighthouse – derelict for decades – starts beaming out its light. Things get spooky.
Everything is explained eventually with a bit of supernatural help and we get a happy ending, sort of. Not sure that there is an overall message or theme, other than grief messes you up, but there is hope.
This book is probably not for cynical, hard-bitten adults (like me, sorry!) At eighteen I would have loved it, and would have hated any jaded oldie coming in with nit-picking criticisms. So a good one for a younger audience, but do check the grief/suicide aspects first.