Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady


One afternoon in 1839, Emily Lowry’s husband vanishes from Wreckers’ Cay, an isolated island off the coast of Key West where he tends to the lighthouse. As days stretch into months, Emily has no choice but take charge of Wrecker’s Cay and her husband’s duties tending the light to support her three children—and a fourth on the way. Unexpected help arrives when a runaway slave named Andrew washes up on their beach. At first, Emily is intensely wary of this strange, charming man, whose very presence there is highly illegal. But Andrew proves himself an enormous help and soon wins the hearts of the Lowry family. And—far from the outside world and society’s rules—his place in Emily’s life, as steadfast now as the light, will forever change their futures. When Emily’s family is ripped apart once again, she faces untold hardships that test her love and determination and show how the passionate love of a defiant, determined woman can overcome any obstacle. 

The Woman at the Light is a tale of tragedy, perseverance, and love set in 19th century Key West.

In 1839, Emily Lowry lives on Wrecker’s Cay off the Florida coast with her children and husband, the lighthouse keeper One day, her husband disappears from a boating trip and is presumed dead. She is alone on the isolated Cay forced to fend for herself and her 4 children. Desperate to support her family and avoid being displaced by the authorities who do not believe a woman can manage a lighthouse, she works hard to continue her husband’s work, but a far less of a salary. Her life becomes complicated when a black man escapes from a slave ship and swims to Wrecker’s Cay. He helps her manage the light house, work, and helps care for her children. They soon fall in love and she finds herself expecting a child with him. 

With plenty of plot twists and continual tension, this story is definitely engrossing and offers plenty of entertainment - a strong determined heroine, forbidden love, murder, mystery, duplicity, tragedy, resilience, prejudices, and love! Beautifully written and wonderfully researched, author Joanna Brady convincingly recreates a rare setting and era, never before fictionalized. Historical facts pertaining to Seminole Indians, the slave trade, cigar making, and the actual work and responsibilities of light house keepers make were skilfully interwove with fascinating fictional characters and events to make a compelling story. 

For readers who love historical fiction that take place in unique settings, this is one debut novel you should not miss. A lovely novel!

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