The Lightkeeper's Daughters
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—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, 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 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 hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters Details

TitleThe Lightkeeper's Daughters
Author
Formatebook
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherHarper
ISBN0062572032
ISBN-139780062572035
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Cultural, Canada, Literary Fiction

The Lightkeeper's Daughters Review

  • Diane S ☔
    July 1, 2017
    Morgan is a teenage girl, being raised in foster homes after the death of her father. When she tags a fence at a elderly living home she is given community service, her job to scrape and repaint the fence. There she meets a blind, elderly woman named Elizabeth, who once lived on Porphyry Island with her parents , brothers and twin sister Emily. Her father was the lighthouse keepers and his journals have just been delivered to Elizabeth, having been found in a wrecked ship. Morgan will become her Morgan is a teenage girl, being raised in foster homes after the death of her father. When she tags a fence at a elderly living home she is given community service, her job to scrape and repaint the fence. There she meets a blind, elderly woman named Elizabeth, who once lived on Porphyry Island with her parents , brothers and twin sister Emily. Her father was the lighthouse keepers and his journals have just been delivered to Elizabeth, having been found in a wrecked ship. Morgan will become her eyes in her attempt to retrace her history.I love reading novels set in unusual places, love lighthouses and books that contain journals, secrets from the past brought to light. At first I found Morgan and her personality, language, jarring next to the softness of Elizabeth, they didn't seem to fit together. They eventually blended and as the journals are read, at times Elizabeth narrates her own story, I became entranced with both of their stories. Much is in the journals that Elizabeth did not know definitively about her own life and Elizabeth's story is the most well written, since as the author acknowledges in her afterward they were based on journals of the lighthouse keepers on this island. I did come to feel for Morgan and her story and her past will become important to Elizabeth's own. Some startling revelations there.The authors afterward explains much about the lighthouse on this island as well as Lake Superior itself. Actually looked this up and hear is the wiki link showing pictures of the lighthouse and it's history. http://www.lighthousefriends.com/ligh...ARC from publisher.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    July 24, 2017
    Loved this, listened to first half while strolling the beach and poking in tide pools, it was the perfect companion for a foggy morn, lake superior holds all the same slippery charms as the sea. Atmospheric, rich and engaging with gorgeous writing. A real page turner too, with only thirty minutes left to read I made my husband wait for dinner until i read every last word. A very satisfying seaside read!
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  • Sherwestonstec
    July 7, 2017
    I absolutely loved this story of Elizabeth who is losing her sight and lives in a nursing home and Morgan a delinquent teenager doing community service at the nursing home. The story takes place now and in the past on Prophyry Island on Lake Superior in Canada where her father manned a lighthouse, where Elizabeth was born in 1925. This story has some marvelous twists. The descriptions of the art were lyrical. The characters were well thought out and I felt empathy for both of them. Well plotted I absolutely loved this story of Elizabeth who is losing her sight and lives in a nursing home and Morgan a delinquent teenager doing community service at the nursing home. The story takes place now and in the past on Prophyry Island on Lake Superior in Canada where her father manned a lighthouse, where Elizabeth was born in 1925. This story has some marvelous twists. The descriptions of the art were lyrical. The characters were well thought out and I felt empathy for both of them. Well plotted and a quick read I finished in two days. I highly recommend this fascinating read.
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  • Lollita
    July 21, 2017
    I received a cope of this book through the giveaways. I enjoyed the book so much more than the initial chapters had me think I would. While it was rather predictable it was a sweet if somewhat tragic touching story and that keep me reading to see exactly how it would play out. I liked Elizabeth and alot of the other characters like her father, David, Millie and her husband. Morgan's attitude and constant use of some variation of the word fuck was kind of annoying, but her personality got less so I received a cope of this book through the giveaways. I enjoyed the book so much more than the initial chapters had me think I would. While it was rather predictable it was a sweet if somewhat tragic touching story and that keep me reading to see exactly how it would play out. I liked Elizabeth and alot of the other characters like her father, David, Millie and her husband. Morgan's attitude and constant use of some variation of the word fuck was kind of annoying, but her personality got less so as the book neared the end. In the end I just enjoyed this book alot more than I thought I would.
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  • Leona
    June 23, 2017
    Book review of The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean. E. PendziwolFrom the back of the book: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—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community servic Book review of The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean. E. PendziwolFrom the back of the book: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—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, 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 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 hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.Expected publication: July 4th 2017 by Harper Collins.ISBN0062572032 (ISBN13: 9780062572035) Leona's Review:This is my first read by Jean E. Pendziwol. I received a complimentary copy to read and review from the author.Morgan was caught spraying graffiti and was to sent to a senior citizen home for community service. Her first project was to paint a fence. Morgan met Elizabeth and they became connected by Morgan reading the journals of Elizabeth's father since Elizabeth is blind.Elizabeth begins to tell Morgan the story about the life and her family at the Porphry Point Lighthouse. There are chapters that take the reader into Canada on Lake Superior. This is a book of fiction but has many historical places. Some are Trowbrige Island, Port Arthur, Sleeping Giant Island and Pie Island in Ontario. What a read this is about a mystery of a family. When Elizabeth was telling her family history, I had a hard time putting down the book.Elizabeth and Emily are twins. Emily does not talk but has a special talent of drawing and connecting with nature. Elizabeth takes care of her sister and understands her.I have to say I absolutely did not like the language used by Morgan. I have problems reading books with the f word and the a** word. World War ll is part of the history of the book. The brothers of Elizabeth, Peter and Charlie, are in the war. Some of my notes that I took are the garden, collecting gull eggs on Hardscrabble Island, World War ll, shipwrecks, maintaining the lighthouse, a found wooden cross, Fibber McGee and Molly, winter, storms, collecting plants, dragonflies, Canada Dominion Day, Great Depression and foster homes for Morgan. The assistant lightkeeper, David Fletcher, brought gifts for Elizabeth and Emily. Books for Elizabeth and paints for Emily.The Lightkeeper's Daughters kept me interested until the end and I was very surprised at the many turns in the book. I am giving it a 5 star rating even though I did not like some of the language. It is a good read.The opinions are my own.Jean E. Pendziwol may be found at http://www.jeanependziwol.com, @JeanPendziwol and facebook.com/JeanE.Pendziwol.Leona Olsonhttp://www.mnleona.blogspot.com
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  • Richard Becker
    July 5, 2017
    This may be the best book that I've read this year. It's not an over-the-top type of book, but a story with heart and humor about a remarkable family with many secrets.The story is about first, Elizabeth and Emily Livingstone (who is mute) the light keeper's daughters. It deals with secrets in their father's journal which is found many years after his death. It is also about an orphan named Morgan, who had been raised by her "grandfather" until about age 10. She gets into trouble and is forced t This may be the best book that I've read this year. It's not an over-the-top type of book, but a story with heart and humor about a remarkable family with many secrets.The story is about first, Elizabeth and Emily Livingstone (who is mute) the light keeper's daughters. It deals with secrets in their father's journal which is found many years after his death. It is also about an orphan named Morgan, who had been raised by her "grandfather" until about age 10. She gets into trouble and is forced to help repaint a fence that she put graffiti on at a retirement home. There she meets Elizabeth and the story unfolds.We learn the family's history...that of everyday life on an island, tragedies, and we soon realize that there are secrets, which are revealed in the journals. We learn about ties between the older women (Elizabeth) and Morgan, who reads the journals to the blind Elizabeth. The ties involve a violin, art produced by Emily and other things. By the end, everything is revealed.This is a wonderful family tale that unfolds slowly and leads to a delightful "reunion". The bond between the 2 sisters is felt throughout the story.The beautiful but dangerous Lake Superior seems to be another character. The writer brings in World War 2, lighthouse keeping, family dynamics and illness into the story seamlessly. It is a story that I will remember fondly for a long time. I loved the characters, the setting and the story.
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  • Sam
    June 5, 2017
    I had the honour of reading an advanced copy of this book and I must say I was captivated by Pendziwol’s beautiful writing the moment I read the first page. As I read on, I quickly became intrigued with this mystery: a boat wrecked upon the shores of Lake Superior and the finder’s angered words: “Goddammit Charlie! What have you done now?”. From this moment, I could not put the book down. But Pendziwol does more than spin a mystery, she creates a multi-layered story where the present confronts t I had the honour of reading an advanced copy of this book and I must say I was captivated by Pendziwol’s beautiful writing the moment I read the first page. As I read on, I quickly became intrigued with this mystery: a boat wrecked upon the shores of Lake Superior and the finder’s angered words: “Goddammit Charlie! What have you done now?”. From this moment, I could not put the book down. But Pendziwol does more than spin a mystery, she creates a multi-layered story where the present confronts the past and one generation finds value and wisdom in another. I loved all of the characters, from the rebellious teenager and Mozart loving graffiti artist, Morgan, to Elizabeth, the spirited aged woman who is living the last of her days in a nursing home. As I read on, I loved how little by little, the mystery of the boat, the lighthouse and Elizabeth and Emily was unravelled. I am looking forward to the next masterpiece Pendziwol has to offer.
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  • Emily Wallace
    March 26, 2017
    Love!! This book is almost a too perfect book. The author wraps up everything like a hallmark movie. That was my only hang up. It was a great read for a camping trip. It was very entertaining.
  • Huso
    July 9, 2017
    Als de tiener Morgan wordt veroordeeld tot een taakstraf, wordt ze aan het werk gezet bij een verpleeghuis voor vermogende bejaarden. Haar taak bestaat eruit een hek te schuren en opnieuw in de verf te zetten. Tijdens haar werkzaamheden raakt ze in gesprek met Elizabeth Livingstone, een blinde vrouw die inmiddels drie jaar in het verpleeghuis wordt. Als per toeval de dagboeken van haar vader, die vuurtorenwachter was op Porphyry Island, worden ontdekt, vraagt ze Morgan om haar de dagboeken voor Als de tiener Morgan wordt veroordeeld tot een taakstraf, wordt ze aan het werk gezet bij een verpleeghuis voor vermogende bejaarden. Haar taak bestaat eruit een hek te schuren en opnieuw in de verf te zetten. Tijdens haar werkzaamheden raakt ze in gesprek met Elizabeth Livingstone, een blinde vrouw die inmiddels drie jaar in het verpleeghuis wordt. Als per toeval de dagboeken van haar vader, die vuurtorenwachter was op Porphyry Island, worden ontdekt, vraagt ze Morgan om haar de dagboeken voor te lezen. Met een mengeling van tegenzin en nieuwsgierigheid stemt ze hierin toe. Door het voorlezen van de dagboeken wordt ze meegesleept in de familiegeschiedenis van de familie van Elizabeth, die jarenlang geïsoleerd op het eiland leefde met haar vader, moeder, twee oudere broers en haar tweelingzus Emily. Morgan raakt geïntrigeerd door het levensverhaal van Elizabeth en haar familie. Tussen de twee vrouwen ontstaat een bijzondere band. Naarmate Morgan meer te weten komt over de geschiedenis van Elizabeth, komt ze er achter dat haar eigen levensverhaal op een vreemde manier is verweven met dat van Elizabeth. Ze leert dingen over haarzelf en haar familie die ze nooit te weten was gekomen als ze de dagboeken van Elizabeths vader niet gelezen had. “In het licht van de vuurtoren” is een mooie roman over families, liefde, dood, geheimen en de kracht van herinneringen en familiebanden. Door de mooie beschrijvingen ga je houden van Lake Superior en het eenvoudige leven als vuurtorenwachter op Porphyry Island. Perfect leesvoer voor op vakantie of tijdens de warme zomeravonden. Hoewel het niet een erg “zwaar” verhaal is, is het zeker ook geen simpele feelgood-roman. Daarvoor zit het verhaal te goed in elkaar met een mooie plottwist aan het einde. Zeker de moeite van het lezen waard.
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  • H. Dickson
    July 8, 2017
    I don't normally read this style of book (I'm a fantasy/gothic mystery gal) but I live on Lake Superior and the ties to the Lake intrigued me. I also love stories that aren't afraid to break new ground, defy convention/genre, and tell a gripping tale and I have to admit that I was hooked from the very first pages. The language is lyrical, almost poetic in some places, but harsh in others, and I realized that the author is not only telling a story about a dysfunctional family, she is telling a st I don't normally read this style of book (I'm a fantasy/gothic mystery gal) but I live on Lake Superior and the ties to the Lake intrigued me. I also love stories that aren't afraid to break new ground, defy convention/genre, and tell a gripping tale and I have to admit that I was hooked from the very first pages. The language is lyrical, almost poetic in some places, but harsh in others, and I realized that the author is not only telling a story about a dysfunctional family, she is telling a story of the land - beautiful, cryptic, harsh and deadly. She almost immediately began to spin a web of story and words that drew me right in and I found I couldn't put it down at night. And there were two places where I cried. (That never happens. Props to Ms. Pendziwol.) I had to stay up to find out what in the world was going on. There was the answer dangling just out of reach of my imagination and once it was revealed, it was shocking and profound (to me, at least) and suddenly everything made sense.The Lightkeeper's Daughters is marketed as Book Club or Up Market Fiction, and yes I can totally see why, but I pulled out of the book wondering which world was the real one. To me, that's also the hallmark of good Gothic fiction. Like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, the spell and characters and most of all, the haunting, taunting, killing Lake, kept me mulling for days afterwards.Highly recommended.
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  • Stacey Voss
    July 16, 2017
    Best story I've read in a long time I was so surprised at how quickly I was sucked into The Light Keeper's Daughters. The story focuses on family, the secrets they keep, and the relationships that bind them together. I started reading when I was out camping, and I couldn't put it down - not even to roast marshmallows!I recommend this book heartily to anyone who loves a good story with Rich depth. I'm definitely looking forward to her next book!
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  • Deb Atherton
    July 13, 2017
    The life of a lighthouse keeper & their family always pulls me in. There were parts of this book that made me go wait a minute I have to think about that a minute. The friendship these 2 women made was so special.The music, the drawing , the lighthouse & the characters all made this special! Thanks I read it in 2 days & wished it kept going.
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  • Jan
    July 10, 2017
    Definitely one of the best books I've read since I read Clay Girl in August 2016. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. The writing was wonderful, the story kept me interested until I turned the last page. Now more than 24 hours later after finishing it I'm still thinking about Elizabeth, Emily and Morgan and so many more of the characters. Definitely a great book for a book club with lots of topics to discuss!
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  • Cindy
    July 10, 2017
    Fantastic book! One of the best I have read in a long time, and I'm still thinking about it now that I'm done, trying to figure out why certain characters did what they did and shaking my head in wonder and shock. I definitely recommend this one!!
  • Ann
    May 31, 2017
    What a wonderful story. It's parallel timelines are a perfect way to see the history of a lighthouse keeper's family life on the Canadian side of Lake Superior in the early 1900's. Elizabeth is elderly and now blind in a nursing home where teen Morgan is doing her community service for tagging a fence on the home's property. Morgan begins reading for Elizabeth. Journals from her father provide a fascinating history and begin to explain Elizabeth's complicated family connections. I'm not a big re What a wonderful story. It's parallel timelines are a perfect way to see the history of a lighthouse keeper's family life on the Canadian side of Lake Superior in the early 1900's. Elizabeth is elderly and now blind in a nursing home where teen Morgan is doing her community service for tagging a fence on the home's property. Morgan begins reading for Elizabeth. Journals from her father provide a fascinating history and begin to explain Elizabeth's complicated family connections. I'm not a big reader of historic fiction but this is a good blend of a woman living today learning about her past. Very realistic and well written I couldn't stop reading. I reread many of the chapters because I wanted to be sure I didn't miss one detail. Beautiful setting on the small island with details scenery that have you visualizing a young family's paradise.
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  • Susan Rogers
    May 28, 2017
    I couldn’t put this novel down. ( I had the good fortune of reading an advance copy.) The intricate story about family, identity and secrets is full of surprises. But it’s no mere page-turner. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Children combines a plot with twists and turns that keeps you reading with beautiful writing that brings the characters to life as well as the majesty of Lake Superior and the lighthouse at the centre of the back story. Indeed, the setting is a third character, her moods reflecting I couldn’t put this novel down. ( I had the good fortune of reading an advance copy.) The intricate story about family, identity and secrets is full of surprises. But it’s no mere page-turner. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Children combines a plot with twists and turns that keeps you reading with beautiful writing that brings the characters to life as well as the majesty of Lake Superior and the lighthouse at the centre of the back story. Indeed, the setting is a third character, her moods reflecting and refracting those of the main characters: Elizabeth and Morgan. This unlikely pair—a lighthouse keeper’s daughter living out her life in a nursing home and a rebellious teenager forced to whitewash her graffiti on the facility’s fence—are the two very different and engaging voices of the story. The struggle for me was to stop and savour the lyricism in Jean Pendziwol’s writing while fighting the urge to race ahead to find out what happens next. I will read it again: next time more slowly.
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  • Nancy
    February 20, 2017
    This is a beautifully crafted story; the voices of the characters ring true even though they cross many decades and backgrounds. I felt The presence of the Lake (Lake Superior) throughout - its moods and seasons reminded me of the power and beauty of this particular place. I especially loved reading a story that described my home and the people who live here but with a twist!
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  • Sue
    July 23, 2017
    Brilliant. Engaging. Beautiful. The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a simply excellent book. Go read it. Now. The story will have special meaning for you if you live in NW Ontario - given that much of it happens on the shores of Lake Superior - but that is not a requirement for enjoying it. When my e-reader indicated that I had read 70% of the book, my heart broke a little, knowing I would have to say goodbye to these rich and multi-layered characters. The role of "Sue's Favourite Book of 2017" is no Brilliant. Engaging. Beautiful. The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a simply excellent book. Go read it. Now. The story will have special meaning for you if you live in NW Ontario - given that much of it happens on the shores of Lake Superior - but that is not a requirement for enjoying it. When my e-reader indicated that I had read 70% of the book, my heart broke a little, knowing I would have to say goodbye to these rich and multi-layered characters. The role of "Sue's Favourite Book of 2017" is now being played by "The Lightkeeper's Daughter."
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  • Andy Weston
    July 26, 2017
    Whilst this is perfectly readable it wasn't my sort of thing, despite an inspirational setting.On the shores of Canadian Lake Superior young delinquent Morgan is punished by community service in a nursing home. There she meets Elizabeth, who is blind, and at first reluctantly, agrees to read her father's journals to her. No doubt many will apreciate the slow pace at which the story ticks over matching the tranquility of the lake shores.
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  • Joanna
    July 16, 2017
    A real slow burner of a story. Very well executed by the author, allowing enough secrets to be uncovered to keep you hooked but never truly revealing all until the last pages. Lake Superior and lighthouse life circa 1930's were incredibly depicted. The harsh, simple, exhausting and beautiful lives the light keeper and his family led were fascinating to read. I loved this story, despite the extreme melancholy that has landed following the ending!
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  • Carol Scheherazade
    July 25, 2017
    Good read. Little twist was appreciated.
  • Chris Markley
    July 23, 2017
    Elizabeth is living in a nursing home & losing her sight. Morgan is in foster care & getting in to trouble for her 'art'. When their paths collide this unlikely pair together solves the mystery of the past & discovers a connection. Told in alternating voices. It took me a while to connect with the book & the characters but in the end was a 3 1/2 star read.Thank you to the publisher for the book for this review.
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  • Elizabeth
    July 8, 2017
    This book caught my attention because it took place on Lake Superior. I really enjoyed it and was surprised at how it wove a mystery into a great story of the love and devotion between two sisters.
  • Wendy
    July 25, 2017
    “The Light-Keeper’s Daughters” a compelling and intriguing novel opens when a sailboat registered to Charles Livingstone is found washed up on the shore of Middlebrun Bay, its owner missing. When Elizabeth Livingstone is told the news, and sent her father’s journals which must have catapulted her brother into taking his fatal trip she begins a journey of remembrance that takes her back in time to her life on Porphyry Island. Performing community service at Boreal Retirement Home to make restitut “The Light-Keeper’s Daughters” a compelling and intriguing novel opens when a sailboat registered to Charles Livingstone is found washed up on the shore of Middlebrun Bay, its owner missing. When Elizabeth Livingstone is told the news, and sent her father’s journals which must have catapulted her brother into taking his fatal trip she begins a journey of remembrance that takes her back in time to her life on Porphyry Island. Performing community service at Boreal Retirement Home to make restitution for smearing graffiti across its outside wall, angry, defiant Morgan Fletcher is drawn to the semi- blind and strong-willed Elizabeth, reading the pages of the worn diaries, writings of a Light-Keeper who was bound by duty to the isolated island on Lake Superior. Moved by his words as the past is brought to life the women unlock mysteries and secrets held hidden for years, connecting in a way they never expected.Set against the backdrop of two World Wars and the Great Depression the story of the Livingstone family emerges, and heats up with the birth of the twins in 1925; Emily mute, in harmony with nature and artistically gifted, her sister Elizabeth living in her shadow as her confidant and protector. Well-developed and emotionally-riveting as the family deals with life’s sudden twists including the wandering off of the Light-Keeper’s assistant, confrontations with wildlife, and a dead body washed ashore, mysteries begin to unfold like the discovery of a burial site on nearby Hardscrubble Island; Charles Livingstone’s fatal outing; the disappearance of Emily’s baby; Morgan’s attraction to Elizabeth’s picture of a dragonfly; and the song her grandfather couldn’t forget.Yet amid all secrets that begin to be revealed, Morgan not only confronts the loss in her past and her abandonment to foster care, but her dealings with a drug dealer who manipulates her feelings, her fears and anxieties to his advantage. Intensity and suspense escalate as the lives of the two women intertwine in their search for answers. Fast-paced as events unfold, tension escalates as the story progresses to an ending with shocking twists that you don’t see coming.Elizabeth Livingstone is fearless and determined in protecting her sister Emily to the exclusion of love and her own happiness. She adores her brother Charles who’s headstrong and temperamental especially on his return from WWII. Elderly, living in the retirement home she’s stubborn and spirited opening up to Morgan the teenage delinquent who agrees to read the journals to her. Emily Livingstone is the silent twin and an extremely talented artist who’s drawn to nature and the wildlife on the island. But it’s her fragility and vulnerability that will cause her heartbreak and a senseless death. Morgan Fletcher is the spunky teenager whose hard shell is broken by Elizabeth. Hiding her fear and loneliness behind sarcasm and rebellion she shows a gentler side when she plays her violin. These characters and others are the spark that fuels this unforgettable, realistic and complex story making it a page-turner from beginning to end.I thoroughly enjoyed “The Light-Keeper’s Daughters” and highly recommend it.
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  • Alexander Kosoris
    July 6, 2017
    The Lightkeeper’s Daughters follows Elizabeth, a blind woman living at a nursing home, and Morgan, a teen forced to perform community service cleaning the graffiti she spray-painted on the nursing home’s fence. After Elizabeth’s father’s old journals are recovered from a shipwreck, she enlists Morgan to help her go through them, thinking they may contain the answers to mysteries of her youth. In doing so, they start to uncover their deep connections to each other, both embarking on a journey of The Lightkeeper’s Daughters follows Elizabeth, a blind woman living at a nursing home, and Morgan, a teen forced to perform community service cleaning the graffiti she spray-painted on the nursing home’s fence. After Elizabeth’s father’s old journals are recovered from a shipwreck, she enlists Morgan to help her go through them, thinking they may contain the answers to mysteries of her youth. In doing so, they start to uncover their deep connections to each other, both embarking on a journey of self-discovery in the process.The story jumps between the two characters’ modern-day lives and Elizabeth’s past, when she grew up at the Porphyry Island lighthouse on Lake Superior. We start heading back in time by reading passages from the aforementioned journals, and, much for the same reasons I wouldn’t shut up about in my review for The Martian, I didn’t find this to be a particularly effective way to explore the narrative or portray emotions. So, you can imagine how excited I became when, in the second part, the story is largely told through Elizabeth’s first-hand experiences. With the shift, Pendziwol thrusts us directly into the story, where we actually get to live it instead of hearing dry accounts of it, and, as such, The Lightkeeper’s Daughters improved immensely to me by the second part.The thing that becomes immediately striking in The Lightkeeper’s Daughters is how the characters – especially the two main ones – are brimming with personality, but little niggles related to their perceived realism start turning up as we proceed. I’d largely attribute this to difficulties that come with the author’s choice of point-of-view. Aside from two short chapters, Pendziwol’s story is presented in first-person, alternating between Morgan’s and Elizabeth’s viewpoint, and such a perspective can run into problems when an author finds it hard to separate herself from the author role and convincingly become the characters. This can materialize as characters who are much more self-aware than I would expect real people to be in their situations. I assume this has to do with an authors learning about their characters on deep, deep levels – which obviously results in more fleshed-out characters – and it coming out overtly in the text – which can lessen the realism, depending on how readers experience and interpret the characters. Another way this can manifest is with a character stepping too firmly into her narrator shoes, when I question why the narrator would actually reveal specific details to her listener. I’m actually quite torn about this one, however, because it causes another small push away from immersion, but handling things this way likely results in a better read than a more convincing, plain telling.Keep in mind that, when it’s all said and done, The Lightkeeper’s Daughters is full of great prose, and Pendziwol has a definite flair for description, transporting us to a vivid landscape that she obviously knows well and just as clearly loves.
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  • Sarah Beth
    July 7, 2017
    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins. Elizabeth grew up on Porphyry Island on Lake Superior in the 1930s, where her father was lighthouse keeper. Her childhood was characterized by isolation, hard work, and minding her twin sister Emily, who was born different and never spoke. Now she is an elderly woman with failed eyesight living in a nursing home, but her past comes rushing back when her late father's journals are found on a shipwreck. With the help of a delin I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins. Elizabeth grew up on Porphyry Island on Lake Superior in the 1930s, where her father was lighthouse keeper. Her childhood was characterized by isolation, hard work, and minding her twin sister Emily, who was born different and never spoke. Now she is an elderly woman with failed eyesight living in a nursing home, but her past comes rushing back when her late father's journals are found on a shipwreck. With the help of a delinquent foster teen, Morgan, Elizabeth goes back through the journals and uncovers secrets that help them both make peace with their past. This novel had an interesting premise. I loved the details and descriptions of Elizabeth's upbringing as a lighthouse keeper's daughter, as well as the bond between Elizabeth and her twin Emily. Pendziwol does a good job of building suspense through Elizabeth slowly revealing her life story to Morgan. Yet I was disappointed by the ultimate revelation of the great secret the twins had covered up and which had made their brother Charlie walk away from them. The author seemed to go overboard, creating a complicated saga of connected secrets and events rather than one secret. This felt like an attempt to pile on details to keep the reader interested but made the plot difficult to follow and increasingly unbelievable. It was an interesting choice to have the narrative alternate between Elizabeth and the teenager Morgan. Although the two ostensibly have no connection other than both having to spend time at the nursing home, I bought the relationship between them and it was a good frame story to slowly reveal Elizabeth's past. However, the author clearly felt like it was helpful to include a plot twist that would tie the two characters even closer together. I felt this was unnecessary, not to mention farfetched. Although this novel had promise and some good details, the plot lacked a believable resolution.
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  • Brooke(worm)
    July 25, 2017
    The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a story about so much more than sisters. It speaks to the heart of family and identity. This was a spur of the moment purchase for me. I had heard nothing about this book or this author before. I discovered that is because this is her first foray into adult writing, being foremost a children's author. Pendziwol did a fantastic job. The story is told from two different perspectives- that of Morgan, a teenage girl suffering through years in the foster system; and Eli The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a story about so much more than sisters. It speaks to the heart of family and identity. This was a spur of the moment purchase for me. I had heard nothing about this book or this author before. I discovered that is because this is her first foray into adult writing, being foremost a children's author. Pendziwol did a fantastic job. The story is told from two different perspectives- that of Morgan, a teenage girl suffering through years in the foster system; and Elizabeth, an elderly woman living in a retirement home that Morgan is required to perform community service at. When Elizabeth's brother Charlie goes missing, journals of her fathers that were in his possession, are delivered to her. However, Elizabeth is now blind and cannot read the journals. Enter Morgan, the teen with an attitude and many wounds of her own that need healing. Elizabeth's father was the lighthouse keeper at Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, and his journals hold the key to many secrets, but not all. I love how everything in this book is connected, how lives interlink and come together in unexpected ways. The setting of the book is beautiful, and the pacing is fantastic. I never thought the story lagged or moved to slowly. It wasn't action packed by any means, but it was sweet and moving. I can't think of anything bad about this book. The one thing that I would say is that I would have liked there to have been more of a romance for Elizabeth. It seemed a bit like a footnote in her story really, even though it was supposed to have had such a lasting effect on her. And I would like to have had an afterword told from Emily's perspective. It would have been the only time we heard anything in her voice, and she's the other half of the story. Overall this book was an absolute pleasure to read and I would highly recommend.
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  • Laura
    July 21, 2017
    I really enjoyed The Lightkeeper's Daughters. Jean Pendziwol's writing is a pleasure to read. She pulled me in on the first page, and I just wanted to keep reading. The story is told in two voices: Elizabeth, a nursing home resident, who grew up with her twin sister on an island in Lake Superior during the early part of the 20th century, and Morgan, a teenage orphan in foster care. Their lives cross when Morgan is caught tagging the fence outside the nursing facility and is sentenced to repaint I really enjoyed The Lightkeeper's Daughters. Jean Pendziwol's writing is a pleasure to read. She pulled me in on the first page, and I just wanted to keep reading. The story is told in two voices: Elizabeth, a nursing home resident, who grew up with her twin sister on an island in Lake Superior during the early part of the 20th century, and Morgan, a teenage orphan in foster care. Their lives cross when Morgan is caught tagging the fence outside the nursing facility and is sentenced to repaint the fence as community service. This angry and frightened young woman is befriended by Elizabeth, and Elizabeth asks Morgan to read her father's private lightkeeper ledgers, which have recently been discovered after 60 years. Elizabeth can no longer see, but she is smart and perceptive and knows there is more to Morgan than her anger.A sizable portion of the novel is Elizabeth's story of growing up isolated on an island with her twin, Emily, her lightkeeper parents, and two brothers, Peter and Charlie. Elizabeth and Emily are so close that they are almost one person--Elizabeth, the practical leader and caregiver and the silent and brilliantly creative Emily. Growing up on an island in Lake Superior during the Depression and World War II was not always easy, and Elizabeth knows her past is also haunted by dark secrets. She hopes the newly discovered ledgers will provide the answers.The only weakness to this very readable book is the reliance on coincidence. All of the main characters are connected, but they don't know that, and we don't figure things out until the end. I have also come to conclusion that weird things happen to lightkeepers in isolated locations, given this is the second novel about lightkeepers in the early 20th century to have characters harboring dark secrets. That being said, this is an enjoyable book with very likable characters.
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