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Secrets of the Lighthouse

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,596 ratings  ·  545 reviews
Ellen Trawton is running away from it all—quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn't love, her job is dragging her down, and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won't follow her—to her aunt's house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret—and a future she never knew ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,596 ratings  ·  545 reviews

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Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014

I have to be honest, I didn't love this story because of the romance. That isn't what kept me up late reading. What I loved was the romance of Ireland. I thought Santa Montefiore did an excellent job creating the scenes taking place on the Connemara coast, I felt like I was there. I loved all the aspects of that little place; the ruins, the castle, the coast, the waves crashing against the lighthouse. I was there having a Guinness at the Pot of Gold and having conversations with my large Iri
Aug 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
I realize I'm very much in a minority regarding this book, but that's okay. While I also realize many will, and do, find this utterly romantic, I just couldn't. I found little to nothing to like. While the Irish setting is well done (an area I yearn to see again)and the cover is lovely--the rest left me wincing.

Initially, the "ghost" narration every few chapters is effective and spooky yet like most everything else, it falters as the novel progresses. What starts off as a very Gothic, spooky, ob
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellen Trawton desperately needed peace and solitude away from her pushy mother and a fiancée she didn't love, so she arranged to go and stay with her, Aunt Peg in rugged countryside of Connemara. Ellen's mother had not spoken to her sister for thirty years and if, Ellen hadn't been rummaging through some old letters of her mother's she still would not have known her aunt existed. Ellen left a note, but she never said where she was going as she knew her mother would only try and bring her back, b ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Oh dear, once again I seem to be at odds with all the other reviewers. This simply didn't work for me, and I finished it by skim reading at least a third of it. Once again, maybe it was me, because once again it was the main, female protagonist who really put me off.

Ellen is 33. She's beautiful, she's rich, she has loving parents, she's been brought up in a gilded cage. She's engaged to be married, she has a job, she has money, she has friends. Yet poor Ellen is miserable and feels trapped and
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I think this is the third book I have read by this author and I have enjoyed all of them, although this one not quite so much as others. At just under 450 pages, that is a lot of reading for what turned out to be not as much as I would have liked in the way of a story. It didn’t seem to sweep from continent to continent and era to era in the same way.

At the start of the story Ellen Trawton has run away to Ireland to escape from her mother and fiancé, taking refuge at the home of her Aunt Peg, a
Bethany Clark
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for an Advanced Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What an amazing book! I don't know where to begin.

Ellen Trawton knows that she needs to get away, she doesn't know why and she doesn't know what she wants but she just knows she needs to be anywhere but London. It doesn't feel right to her. It doesn't feel like she belongs.
So she quits her job and leaves for Ireland because she knows that her family will not follow her ther
33-year-old Ellen Trawton has always felt like she doesn’t fit in with her posh mother and sisters. She is also unhappy about her upcoming wedding. So she decide to take time off and visit her mother's sister, Aunt Peg. When she arrive to beatiful Connemara, beautiful Irish town, she discover that her mother hasn't told her many things about her family nor her past. We also meet ghost [or spirit] of Caitlin, the wife of Conor Macausland, who tragically died 5 years ago and still keep an eye on h ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book though I do really enjoy Santa's novels. I have only read two other books of hers but I will be aiming to read them all eventually.

For someone who didn't grow up or as far as I know, spend a lot of time in Ireland, Santa really nailed the atmosphere that can be seen and felt in any small Irish town. The friendliness of locals, the big families, people who know everyone, the judgement, the curiosity, the gossip but all in all, a place full of big hearts and loud laughte
Jan 26, 2017 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: contemporary, ireland
My dnf's are piling up this year so far, but I've pretty much completely checked out of this book.

I didn't really like Ellen and I was growing to actively dislike Caitlin. In the 100+ pages I read every conversation was either Ellen telling people about why she came to Ireland (I heard the same spiel at least 5 different times - when she meets Peg, her uncles, Dylan, Elana, and Connor - and she seemed pretentious every time) or about Caitlin's death - speculating if it was an accident or if Con
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very light story with stereotypical characterizations of "The Irish" - romance, I guess. Young woman from upper class runs away from her life in London to unknown relatives in Ireland in a town so small everyone knows everything about everyone. And then there are the ghosts.
Oh well, I gave it a try because of favorable reviews. It was ok to read on the train.
The Lit Bitch
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Santa Montefiore is an author that has popped up on my radar on and off again over the last few years. I have seen her books popping up on my Goodreads recommendations and social media over the years and always plan on reading one of her books but she is a prolific writer and just wasn’t sure where to start.

I wanted something good that would captivate me right away but I just wasn’t sure where to begin. A few months ago, I nabbed this book from my local used book store—mostly for the cover. The
Diana | Book of Secrets
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE transported me to the magical coast of western Ireland, and I savored the journey. I also enjoyed the story, even though I wanted to throttle the heroine several times. Ellen is a 33-year old modern woman, so I had no idea why she felt she had to live with her parents and do as she's told. *scratches head* Thank goodness she ran away to Ireland to track down her mother's estranged family!

Ellen's time in Connemara with her Aunt Peg turned her world on end as secrets from
Julie Chapman
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This, for me, started off well but it just dragged out for far too long. Predictable ending. Loved the Irish setting and would like to have heard more about this. Would have liked a little more mystery. More romance than anything else.
Colleen Turner
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this book for

When the demands of Ellen Trawton’s life in posh London become too much for her to handle she runs away from her overbearing mother and the fiancée she doesn’t love to the one place she knows no one will look for her: the Irish coastal village her mother grew up in and refused to ever discuss. Staying with her Aunt Peg under the guise of writing a book Ellen soon discovers a large and loving family she never knew she had. As she digs deeper into why
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
The representations of Ireland, and finding a large loving family, and being a regular in the local pub and becoming part of the fabric of a community -- belonging -- really spoke to me. And the main character's dawning conviction that life is short, and we have to take a risk to follow our own hearts instead of just toiling away at a miserable job in a place we feel unconnected from...that really spoke to me in my current life situation.
But the negatives outweighed the positives with this book
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy uncanny authors like Santa Montefiore because a story brimmed outside her milieu. Romance incorporating a ghost is no longer plain. An interesting about-face is that the spirit in "Secrets Of The Lighthouse" is a secondary protagonist, using Ellen Trawton to apologize to her husband for unstable behaviour that precipitated her death. We notice Caitlin Macausland's demeanour grows lighter or darker, dependent on whether she urges Connor towards a fresh life, or provokes hurdles out of spi ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it

Santa Montefiore

Because I’m so particular in my ideas about a good romance, I’m often disappointed with boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back. Also very tired of a couple’s constant battling which is supposed to be an expression of their mutual attraction. That said I love a sweeping and romantic novel that is a true escape.

Santa Montefiore is a master at finding the magic combination in her books. I truly loved THE FRENCH GARDENER despite the overtones
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Santa Montefiore has written a beguiling novel set in Connemara, Ireland where Ellen Trawton has fled from her home in London at the age of thirty-three to escape her job, the aristocratic man she is engaged to but doesn't love, and her controlling mother. Ellen flees to the one place her mother would never think to look for her, her aunt Peg's home in Ireland. The sisters have been estranged for thirty years following a family drama and Ellen knows she will be safe there while she sorts out her ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
When Ellen Trawthorn wants to run away from her past for a bit where her family won't find her, what better place to go than her mother's family that she wasn't ever supposed to know about. Once in Ireland with her mother's large family, Ellen starts to get to know them and enjoy their more laid back lifestyle. She is welcomed by the family her mother rejected, and she finally has a chance to think about what she wants for her own life.

When she meets widowed Conor, Ellen feels a connection right
Sneha Mary Henry
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Miller
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed being swept away to the coast of Ireland with this audio! The narrator’s Irish Brogue really added to the experience. While the “ghost” and romance aspects were somewhat stretched, it was beautifully written. I’m thinking fans of Nora Roberts may like this. Santa Montefiore is a new author for me and I will look to read more of her books when I want an escape!
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This took me so long to read! Just because it was one of those books that doesn’t make you want to hurry to get back to. I think the only reason I slogged it out was because there was a couple of ghosts which made it interesting, even though I would never pick up a ghost book!
OverAll a nice book with nice characters set in a nice place.
Adriana Stringer
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alright. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but was just good. Simple enough to get through quickly, but interesting enough to for you to not hate yourself by the time you get to the last page.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book sucked me in from the beginning. It has all the markers I love in a good story. Set in Ireland, complex relationships, mystery, a little haunting, and a thread of spirituality. I could not put it down.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Review also found at

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I have a mixed opinion about this story and I do not know how to start explaining it.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of Ireland and the descriptions of it's landscapes and the dynamic of strong family bonds within its small towns. This was the highlight for me experiencing how everyone looks out for each other and family co
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lady Madeline Trawton is very much the aristocratic lady of leisure in London. With three daughters, two married into the aristocracy, her aim is to see her third also well settled. Ellen however is the changeling. After a serious think about her future, she flees her family and her fiance an retreats to Connemara where she knows her mother originated from and to her only sister. On arrival there Ellen discovers so much of the Bryne clan including the fact that her mother not only had a sister b ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, describing it as a light romance. Montefiore can really make you travel to the places she writes about and want to meet and spend time with the characters. There was enough suspense to keep me going and just a touch of magic to lighten the heart.
Secrets of the Lighthouse is a fascinating paranormal family drama with an intriguing relationship triangle. The cast is solid and the vivid location enhances the entertaining plot. Although the climax seems too obvious, readers will remain spellbound throughout.
Kathleen Crowell
I just really liked this book and don't want to overthink what could've been done better. It was different and entertaining, and I felt like I was in Ireland!
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
I quite enjoyed this book, though I had a few things that really got on my nerves.
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Born in England in 1970 Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily ...more

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Whether it’s magic schools, dystopias, paranormal love stories, or contemporary explorations of important real-life issues, young adult books a...
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“Your life isn’t something you can leave behind or run away from, because you are it. People, on the other hand, are another matter altogether.” 7 likes
“May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children’s children. May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward. May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home And may the hand of a friend always be near. May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.” 3 likes
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