My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this month. We decided to do something a little different this year. Instead of trying to give each other some sort of fancy present, we went to Barnes and Noble together and each picked out a book we thought the other would like.
He’s a big fan of Only Murders in the Building, so my pick for him was Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. Unfortunately, and quite surprisingly, it hasn’t been a big hit so far.
What he picked out for me, though, I quite enjoyed! He gifted me with C. J. Cooke’s The Lighthouse Witches, which is a supernatural mystery set on a secluded island off the Scottish coast. He totally nailed his pick!
The Lighthouse Witches
“When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters – Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers – except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.“
This was an enjoyable book to read. I flew through it over the course of a week, devouring the second half in a single night. I liked the characters and cared about what happened to them. The novel was split into four points of view across three different time periods, and the author handled it seemlessly. I also enjoyed the historical tie in to the witch trials that occurred under King James. I desperately wanted to solve all the mysteries in the book, and that kept me turning the pages.
Despite all of those great aspects, I’d only give the book three and a half stars. There are a few major plot holes. The first, which isn’t a spoiler as it’s in the synopsis, is that when Luna goes to collect her long lost sister at the hospital and finds that she is still 7 years old, none of the people in charge even think to check around in Luna’s background before releasing the girl to her. Had they done so, they’d find that Luna has social media pages for her missing sister and that they had been separated years ago. As it is, the hospital just releases Clover, with really no questions asked and no police investigation involved. I couldn’t really buy that things would happen that way, but I went along with it.
There are some other plot holes and a few things that didn’t make sense, but describing them would reveal spoilers. I feel like some things weren’t resolved well. Others were resolved too conveniently. And still the ultimate solution to the mystery felt like it came FAR out of left field. The whole ending felt rushed and too nicely wrapped up.
That being said, I still immensely enjoyed the book. I even found myself shedding a few tears at the end. The characters were realistic and relatable. I enjoyed the writing style and the story’s atmosphere. There were just too many plot issues for me to give it four stars. I’d still recommend it to anyone who likes supernatural thrillers, but with the caveat to be aware that a few things might jolt you out of that state of suspended disbelief.