"Jean Pendziwol’s beautifully written novel captured me from the very first page. Its descriptions of the windswept lightkeeper’s station of Elizabeth’s and Emily’s youth are so crisply rendered I felt I was standing on its shores watching the great ships cross the stormy waters of Lake Superior. Even more than its vivid evocation of a unique time and place, The LightKeeper's Daughters is a sensitive and moving examination of the nature of identity, the importance of family, and the possibility of second chances."—Heather Young, author of The Lose Girls
With the haunting atmosphere and emotional power of The Language of Flowers, Orphan Train, and The Light Between Oceans, critically acclaimed children’s author Jean E. Pendziwol’s adult debut is an affecting story of family, identity, and art that involves a decades-old mystery.
Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth’s eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family, especially her beloved twin sister, Emily. When her late father’s journals are discovered after an accident, the past suddenly becomes all too present.
With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service at her senior home, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own, to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse and raised his young family seventy years before.
As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan’s connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals will shake the foundation of everything Elizabeth thinks she knows and bring the secrets of the past into the light.
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About the Author
Jean E. Pendziwol was born in Thunder Bay on Lake Superior and spent much of her childhood aboard her family’s sailboat, exploring the islands and bays of the inland sea. After working as a freelance writer and photographer, she spent several years focusing on raising her three children before publishing her first children’s book. She lives in Ontario, in the shadow of the Nor’Wester Mountains, with her husband, two of her three grown children, a loveable mutt, and three temperamental chickens, who sometimes lay eggs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the kind of novel you hug after you’ve finished but get wet with the tears you have wept whilst reading. It’s a poignant and gorgeous read all in one. When it’s sad, it’s sad – oh my goodness. But it’s also lyrical, poetic and crying to be read aloud. I need this to be a film as I need to hear the soundtrack for real I had playing in my head when I read this. There’s something very magical about a story woven with historical fact and once I’d found out just what kind of story and place inspired this novel, I was captivated. There’s so much historical mystery and suspense in this book. The author has carefully done her research and brilliantly woven it into a novel of intrigue and suspense. It’s also one of those novels where the setting is the story and the story is the setting. Lake Superior – the Canadian Side is highlighted and is also the star of the show. Glorious and slow paced, this novel drifts into your consciousness and hits on every one of your emotions. Love it and highly recommend. I also have to say – what a gorgeous cover! (And covers having seen the foreign editions!)
I really enjoyed reading this, but it certainly left me feeling a bit sad. It's a melancholy read with a cold, harsh, unforgiving lighthouse as the backdrop. Each of the characters are quite complex and it's well worth waiting to find out how everything ties together in the end.
I loved thia nook and read it in a day. A lot of twists and turns. This book would appeal to young and old alike. Beautifully written.....I could not put it down.
I always consider it a find when a book I’ve read stays with me. The Lightkeeper’s Daughters is one of them. Pendziwol’s story of the isolated life of a family in the early 20th century is such a book. Threaded into this historical accounting is the contemporary story of Morgan, a young woman lost and looking to find someone, something to grasp that will help her figure out where she is headed in life. Serving out community service hours as restitution for tagging a fence at the senior retirement home she discovers an unlikely link to her childhood and the reasons for her love of the arts. Pendziwol’s story unfolds with grace and a hard look at a life spent surviving on Porphyry Island where twin girls, Emily and Elizabeth Livingstone and their family live and work the lighthouse that keep the waterways of Lake Superior safe for her travelers. The joys of a childhood filled with nature and few restraints gently unfold like the wildflowers Emily draws. It is also the story of how dark secrets, kept hidden and locked away always find their way to the surface. It is a look back at life that we would call harsh and wild that parallels contemporary life of those who are dropped into the CPS system. I highly recommend this title to be picked up by libraries and hope that librarians will put it into the hands of teens. I wish to thank the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.
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