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The Woman at the Light

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  923 ratings  ·  203 reviews
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 sl
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published July 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  923 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, there are so many adjectives to describe this book...beautiful, engrossing, seductive, haunting, mysterious, educational...I could go on and on. This is a book finished 5 days out that I can recall word for word certain sections of the book because they were either so beautiful, gut wrenching or had me on my seat!

To the reader of this review, I am already at almost 400 books for 2012, so normally I read a book and move on. It is impossible with this book. The characters were so d
Tara Chevrestt
At first, I really loved and enjoyed this book. The narrative is very engaging. The descriptions are just right. The story is different. Can't say I've ever read a tale quite like this one. It gets major points for a unique story line.

It goes from New Orleans to Wrecker's Cave and the workings of maintaining a light house back in the 1800s to Key West to Cuba. It addresses slavery, greed, and how cruel and deceitful people can be.

When Emily's husband disappears, the story immersed in mystery as
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
(Warning: This is a tad super long. I'm just flailing over this book. That ending. My emotions. Love this book. It might just be the type font...not Helvetica! Wahoo.)

Key West. New Orleans. 1800's. At the heart of Joanna Brady's The Woman at the Light is a truly beautiful story that proves that nothing is impossible, especially when it comes to true love. (cue Disney theme song)

Emily Lowry and her family were living on an isolated island called Wreckers' Cay, when her husband suddenly disappeare
Holly Weiss
I commend Joanna Brady for her captivating debut novel. I had not before read about the outer islands of Key West or of nineteenth century women lighthouse keepers. The book is part history and part an unusual love story. Emily Lowry, the main character, does not always make good choices but she pushes on through her grief and is a memorable, determined heroine. Descriptions of life on the island are realistic and well written. I could smell the sea air and feel the fears and joys of the charact ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Once I could get past the fake southern accent of the narrator, I liked the uniqueness of this story. Even though the ending was predictable and a bit too perfect for my tastes, the tale itself was engaging. I liked the MC for the most part. She was a young mother. Her husband has gone missing and she is in charge of operating a lighthouse in Florida. She had young children but she didn't really feel like a mother. Her kids came into play every now and then when they needed tending or what not. ...more
Mary Ann
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mary Ann by: Goodreads giveaway
Shelves: first-read-books
Note to future readers, please be mindful of the dates in the first few chapters, as she tends to jump from one year to another, then back. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and learned some things I did not know. The main character is strong woman who goes thru many very difficult challenges along the way. It is an emotional roller coaster that makes you want to keep reading, with many surprises, some I figured out, other's blew me away.
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I could not put it down. Excellent writing and a tale well told. As a person with numerous "eras" in my own long life, I could relate to the immense changes that took place in the protagonist's life and how she dealt with them. May you write many more, Joanna Brady!
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
What a great audio book... I was totally drawn into into the story, looking forward to my daily walk where I only listen to audio books. I recommend it!
Alison Kenney
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get into this and didn't think the story or the writing were that realistic/engaging.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. The Woman at the Light tells the story of a woman who became a lighthouse keeper after her husband mysteriously disappeared. Emily had been a debutante in New Orleans before she married Martin, a laborer from Key West. When the government confiscates their land in Key West to expand a Navy base, they lose everything and eventually accept a lighthouse keeper on an island called Wreckers Cay. Although Emily is disappointed in the lack of romance in their marriage, ...more
Mystic Miraflores
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best historical fiction books I have read recently. It was on my wishlist for a couple of years and I finally bought the book. It is an exciting tale with many ups and downs, twists and turns. The main character, Emily, is a very strong female character and seems modern for her times. I hope Ms. Brady will write another book soon as I notice she hasn't written a new one since this book was published in 2012. I think she is a very talented writer and I'm disappointed in not see ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I want a month in some deserted island in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. That's what I thought throughout this whole book.
Otherwise it was a decent story, maybe a little bit slow at the beginning. But it could really just be the audio book.
I didn't really understand Emily and her emotions. What did she really feel for her first husband? She goes back and forth with her emotions but never as sad as a real woman would be if her husband disappeared. The same goes for the losses of her fam
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book follows the life of a woman in the Florida Keys in the early 19th century. I had no knowledge of the area's history when I started reading, but I feel like I absorbed quite a bit of information from the story. The plot was enjoyable and moved quickly enough to keep things interesting, but slow enough to not feel rushed. There were several flashbacks to earlier years, and a couple leaps into the future, but overall it was pretty easy to follow. This book has everything from being a ligh ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a highly read-able historical fiction novel with a strong heroine and a unique setting - Key West in the mid-1800's. I definitely learned some things about lighthouse keepers of the time, the "Wreckers", and slavery. I thorougly enjoyed Emily's story. I would recommend this great book for anyone interested in well-researched history with a bit of mystery and a forbidden love story. I thought it was really good.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars rounded down to 3.

It is a good story that keeps you reading, with a variety of characters and an interesting topic (female lighthouse keepers in the 19th century with a hint of abolitionism).
I got a little bit annoyed by the cliches ("I let out a breath I didn't realise I was holding" is cheesy...) and the fact the quotes in French were translated in brackets. If you can't make the foreign language work in the story, don't use it.

I would still recommend it as a good, fast read.
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I so wanted to like this book. The story was somewhat interesting but does lack some details at important parts. I would get to the end of a page and think.... What!?! Go back and read about the very little written.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads Gift. Brady captured the history of the period very well. She presents an emotional tale while weaving in issues of slavery and feminism. I could not put the book down! Remarkable storytelling.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed learning about Key West's history and I wanted to love the lighthouse keeper like I did when I read a little bit about Ida Lewis but I found instead someone that at times I cared for and then at others I wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up.
Lisa Helms
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
AWESOME! I loved this book. Could not put it down. I look forward to reading more from Joanna Brady.

Loved it!

Jill Choate
Sep 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Maybe it's the narrator but I just want to slap the main character. It will keep you weaving until the end but that's all I can say for it.
Jaime Boler
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Book Review: The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady

The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady (St. Martin's Griffin; 352 pages; $14.99)

Lighthouses have always fascinated me. Each has its own unique beauty and history, and all were designed to steer mariners from cliffs, shoals, reefs, and shorelines in fog and at night. Nowadays, lighthouses do not have keepers, as they once did, because the lights are automated. But that was not always the case. Tending lights was a difficult job. Anyone who has e
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Woman at the Light

Calling all filmmakers

The prologue begins “It is my day to honor the dead.” In six cleverly striking words, Brady loads those words with characterization, theme and homage to female lighthouse keepers. Both literally and metaphorically Brady honors the main character Emily’s buried dead in the graveyard, but also honors the lighthouse keeper sisterhood, weaving factual lighthouse keepers as characters in the life of Emily who, like the real lighthouse keepers, continued on
Elizabeth Lloyd
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lighthouse is of such significance both as a life-saver and a symbol. On dangerous coasts in the 19th century their importance could not be over-rated, so it is astonishing to learn that in some cases, the vital task of igniting the light each evening was undertaken by women. This story is based on one of those women who had responsibility for part of the wrecking coast of the Florida Keys.

Emily is determined to take on this responsibility, in the hope that her husband Martin will reappear. Li
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emily and Martin Lowry, along with their three young children live on Wrecker’s Cay, a small island off the coast of Key West. Martin is the lighthouse keeper, sometimes known as a “wickie,” because of his job trimming the wicks.They live a quiet, solitary life and their lighthouse is of vital importance as many ships crash on these shallow reefs. Lives are lost and treasures often found. Martin mysteriously disappears one afternoon and Emily continues to care for the lighthouse and her family, ...more
Judi Winters
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Many readers today are acculturated to the faster pace of a story’s development. A mindful prolific reader will appreciate Brady’s lyrically lush language. The rhythmically paced slow build lulls the reader into the tempo of the time, the late 1800s in Key West.

Set against the Key’s historical backdrop, Brady’s masterful sensibility to the time-period, hovers and cocoons the main character, Emily. Her life journey, from southern comfort to island isolation is not so removed from the struggles wo
Terry Schmida
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a story woven of the many threads of life that create the tapestry of human experience, both good and evil, some try to make sense of each day.
On the one hand it's about the physical, emotional, and psychic survival of a matriarch and (most of) her brood. But it's also a book about scaling the heights of the human spirit; and of the triumph of love, (yes, love,) against clifflike odds in a provincial (and parochial) hamlet of mostly small men.
The copy I read had a much nicer cover, but i
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
This book was so passive and dry and boring. I thought it would be a historical novel about a woman taking over a man's job and succeeding. Instead, it is more about her forbidden love story. So many aspects of this story seemed unreal and overly progressive for the time. There were hardships, but everything worked out to smoothly in the end. The characters we're very bland, and it was hard for me to really care bout what happened to them. I did like the Southern Florida setting. So many America ...more
Thomas F.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had found Ms. Brady's Woman at the Light at a local book sale before I saw it available on Amazon and found it entertaining to the point that I wanted to share my enjoyment with other readers in view of the current cultural climate. This well-told and well-researched story about a woman (who is a lighthouse keeper!) and in one-story line, her black lover shows that strong women have and always will be strong, in action and in character. Thank you, Ms. Brady, for a compelling story. I did not p ...more
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
While this is not the best written novel, it's by no means bad. I tend to prefer more flowery prose, and this isn't flowery at all, though that's just personal opinion and taste. The plot was interesting, and the characters were certainly interesting enough to keep me reading. The last third of the book gets a little slow, and sometimes I felt bogged down by all the historical facts thrown in in such a way that didn't feel blended, but overall, I'm glad I read it and would recommend for some lig ...more
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Captain Lee 2 21 Apr 02, 2012 05:45PM  

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