Natasha M.'s Reviews > The Lightkeeper's Daughter

The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble
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Jun 18, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-novels, mystery-and-thrillers, victorian
Read from June 11 to 17, 2011

I don't know if I'll be able to convey just how badly written/edited/constructed this book is but boy will I make a valiant effort.

If I could give this a negative star-rating I would choose a -10 for "don't-bother-save-yourself-the-trouble/money-and-just-say-NO-before-you-start-banging-your-head-on-the-wall-after-every-chapter". I even had a dream (before I finished the book) about writing a review giving it a negative-star review because, yes, it IS that bad. If I hadn't been participating in a book reading challenge I would've tossed this book into a bonfire after chapter 2 and not persevered with this rubbish.

Which, honestly is a shame. I naively thought, "Hmm, lighthouses, I like lighthouses". Goodbye lighthouse after Chapter 2 (I don't really count the nonsense with Josephine because at that point it became, "Oh, she's not been angsting for five sentences LET'S GIVE HER A REASON TO MOAN ABOUT HER LIFE AGAIN").

Was it necessary for the author to vomit Addie's back-story/mystery/Mary-Sue-character-introduction at us within the first two chapters? Oh, sorry, I guess it WAS necessary to neglect writing a proper mystery set-up when clearly all the author cares about (God aside which I'll get to later), was the ridiculous romance between John and Addie where, naturally, the first moment they lay eyes upon one another they're in love. Does the author, at least, show us how these two people could fall in love? Does the author bother to show us how and why the reader should like her characters? The answers are no and no. Most of the cast are two-dimensional at best and I'm sorry to say we are generally told what to think about the main characters. Addie is an "angel in skirts" but are we truly shown any outstandingly angelic behavior on her part? No and no, I do not count the arbitrary/unnecessary mother-of-five-has-consumption-woe-child-labor-in-1907 episode on the grounds that it was so obviously contrived (and utterly left-field in its bizarre placement). Is John really anything beyond the physical impulses Addie stirs in him (and what's the point of giving him a dead wife if all she does is serve as a point of comparison, oh, did we mention his wife is Addie's half-sister/cousin, daughter of her mother's half-sister and therefore her half-aunt/step-mother)?

Anyway, before I derail any further into churlish commentary, the author neglects developing her characters in favor galloping into the lack-luster arms of the romance. In fact, EVERYTHING she set up in those first two horrifically convoluted chapters takes a back-burner. Epileptic child is neglected in favor of the romance, pony and horse are neglected in the random horseback riding scene (Oh yes, let's not forget the "thankyousomuch for almost killing my child on a run away pony, it taught him to be brave" scene because clearly someone's not read Gone With the Wind and seen how that pony scene goes down) and estranged Dad, well, sorry Mr Eaton, you just get systematically turned into a stereotypical petty villain.

That aside, I still thought, "Hmm, she's got some nice minute detail in here about the historical period".

Does it make up for her glaring and sometimes contradictory continuity errors? Does it make up for her grammatical errors? Does it make up for the terrible transitions that make me wonder "what was the point of you writing out that scene if each interaction was a sentence long and you just breezed through three different people"? Is that worth wanting to gouge my eyeballs out every time John/Addie decide to talk about how wonderful/attractive/insert-syrupy-adjective-here the other is? I honestly started feeling like I was reading Twilight at times with all the ridiculous mooning.

Also the God-issue. Was it really-truly-ABSOLUTELY necessary to throw in God and her Faith every five seconds? I've read plenty of Victorian novels written by preachers' daughters and other Christian authors that have managed to get across the moral-point and not had to resort to flaunting weirdly and jarringly placed God-conversations/observations/questions-to-God. Or the mind-boggling fact that one of the characters then started saying "God might be punishing someone so, don't intervene".... Excuse me, WHAT? Are we now manipulating Faith for plot-points, to justify the characters bizarre behavior? She keeps going on and on about her faith but I'm still questioning the ramifications of her STEALING PROPERTY, DECEIVING, oh, sorry, God's on her side (because she asked him five seconds ago, dontcha know) so it's okay that the characters just committed the time-period equivalent of grand-theft-auto.

I could go on. Seriously. But I won't. Please, save yourself from this grandiose waste of time and just don't bother with this book.
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Reading Progress

06/13 page 75
23.0% "Is this a case of bad editing or bad writing? Not sure yet. The author has made this incredibly convoluted back-story but seems more interested in running head-long into the romance to the point where all the other plot points seems neglected. I'm also not a fan of her telling me how insert-Mary-Sue-Adjective-Here the characters are... just show me. And work on your transitions please."
06/24 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Yna Fempia Paez And I thought I was the only one lead to hysterics by this book. Thank you for showing me I wasn't the only one irritated with this book. I noticed everything you pointed out about this book but I just didn't enumerate all of them in my review. It was just too draining for me. One of the worst books I've ever encountered too.


Hunter I don't disagree with the grand theft auto thing. I also thought that was out of place, but as to the rest of your review, I think you


Hunter Continued - you both read a ROMANCE book! What did you expect when she met John North? Of course the governess has to fall in love with her employer. If you couldn't see that one coming you need to read more romance novels. As to your comment about lighthouses, you never judge a book by the cover or the title. You also don't ever read a book looking for errors and trying to hate it. After reading a book in that manner you can expect nothing less that hating it.
In my library this book was marked inspirational romance. That was also on the back of the book above the price. When you read an inspirational book, you must expect the character's faith and prayers to come in. Prayer doesn't ever come at a specific time. Sometimes it is random. When you feel like you need to talk to God or about your faith with another person you talk or pray right then. I don't see Addie's behavior as out of the ordinary because I'm a Christian myself and I talk to God whenever I need to and He is always there with me. However, her witness did take a big hit when she and John stole the buggy. Another option for the author could have been for God to provide a friendly face coming down the road instead of making them steal a horse and buggy. I admitted in my own review that the plot didn't deepen as much as I wanted it to. I didn't see the grammatical errors that you spoke of but her writing style is hectic. However, if you don't like an authors writing style, then you shouldn't read that authors works. An authors writing style doesn't change just because we don't like it.


message 4: by Olukemi (new)

Olukemi Carey Thanks for stopping me from spending 14$ for this book on my kindle!I may be tempted to see just how bad it is if i ever find it in a charity shop. 1 euro might just be the right price lol


Barbara Ruuska Thank you! You wrote a very good overview of this poorly written and badly edited book. I borrowed it from the public library so I just wasted time not money on this book.


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