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The Lightkeeper's Daughters

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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.

320 pages, ebook

First published July 4, 2017

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About the author

Jean E. Pendziwol

20 books270 followers
Jean E. Pendziwol is an award winning Canadian author of books for adults and children. She was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the 2014 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for Once Upon a Northern Night (Groundwood Books, 2013). Her children’s books include the critically acclaimed No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) (Kids Can Press), which continues to be used as a valuable resource for teaching fire safety. Her debut adult novel, The Light Keeper’s Daughters was published by HarperCollins in 2017 and is available in 17 other countries and 14 languages around the world. Jean's latest children's book, Me and You and the Red Canoe, (Groundwood Books) was also be released in 2017. She lives in the shadow of the Nor’Wester Mountains near Lake Superior and draws inspiration for her stories from the rich history, culture and geography of northwestern Ontario, Canada.

Jean is represented by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,518 reviews
January 16, 2023
5+++ stars! Wow - I’m blown away - loved every word of this beautiful story!

This novel is moving right to the top of my 2017 Favourites list!

The characters, the atmosphere, the secrets - every part of this story was done to perfection! The author, Jean E. Pendziwol, created an unforgettable tale of family, love and hidden secrets all wrapped up in an intoxicating, mesmerizing and captivating atmosphere.

I highly, highly recommend this beautiful gem of a book! It was a pleasure to share reading this special "treat" of a novel with my Traveling Sisters Brenda, Nikki, Berit, Jennifer and Jaline. We had such fabulous discussion and we all fell IN LOVE with this touching story. I am still "hugging" my book. We look forward to the Pendziwol's next novel!
Profile Image for Jaline.
444 reviews1,606 followers
November 2, 2017
I will start at the end. I do not recall ever needing tissues to mop up tears after reading the Author’s Notes at the end of a book. Goodness gracious.

This novel, with chapters alternating primarily between narrators Elizabeth and Morgan, is so full and satisfying. It is a fascinating story, there are characters with deep and complex personalities, it takes place on various shores of the mighty, tempestuous, moody Lake Superior – and it is written with full command over the characters, locale, and story.

While the story moves between the two narrators, it also moves between two time frames – then and now – and uniquely, past and present are also traded off between the two narrators. Elizabeth is elderly and has a grasp on much of the past, but she is blind. It is young, rebellious Morgan who meets Elizabeth through her own reckless actions, and it is Morgan who fills in historical gaps by reading to Elizabeth from old journals written by Elizabeth’s father. Mr. Livingstone was the lightkeeper for the Porphyry Point Light Station and it is here that their family lived, loved, worked and kept secrets for so many years.

Morgan also has a related legacy, part of it is innate to her nature while part of it is linked through her prized possessions connecting her to Elizabeth’s life and her people. As their conversations and their times spent reading together move on, Elizabeth begins to share more of her own memories with Morgan as well. The stories she tells are riveting and I found it very difficult to set this book down.

This is a must-read for anyone who appreciates excellence in storytelling and writing. I don’t want to write spoilers as I hope that you will be inspired to read this and discover for yourself the wonders that this book contains. The mysteries and the secrets are definitely part of this book’s mystique; the remainder is discovering that while some things are as real as the black volcanic rock of Porphyry Point, other things can shapeshift and take on other forms as quickly as a storm comes up over Lake Superior.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This was a Traveling Sister Read with Brenda, Berit, Jennifer, Nikki, and Lindsay. This book and our discussions throughout were super enjoyable – and we all want to be part of the Traveling Sister Read for Jean Pendziwol’s next book!

All Traveling Sisters reviews, including all the reviews for this book are available on Brenda's and Norma's blog: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,733 reviews14.1k followers
July 3, 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 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.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,001 reviews35.9k followers
March 8, 2018
People said this book was good ...but not one review- ( the few I read), nor the blurb
prepared me. WOW..... really WOW!!!

I don’t even know where to begin....
I mean I’ve read stories about unlikely characters coming together (an adult and teenager).... so this in itself is not new. I thought of “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barberry—also a book I enjoyed....
and I’ve read books about dysfunctional families, delinquent teenagers, old folks, and secrets - so this is not new....
but what is new is how this entire book is written as a ‘whole’ - with symbolism throughout- messages & insights - etc. You have to read it to know what I’m talking about.

This book is both historical fiction/suspenseful & contemporary storytelling. I can’t think of another book written like this. Just remarkable.
Plus there are twists that really ‘are’ twists.

The language is soft and harsh. Seriously HARSH BOLD SWEARING that I didn’t expect to find in these pages under that gorgeous book cover. Some readers might be offended.
Yet seriously BREATHTAKING - almost musical- and artful - beauty in the purest form, too. I found it kind a brilliant, that I enjoyed equally all the ranges of writing & dialogue styles.

Elizabeth had a twin sister and two brothers. This part of the story is base on true events that took place on Porphyry Island where she was raised. Early on - we are aware Elizabeth is standing alone - as a lighthouse does - without her twin. It’s a suspenseful haunting thought until the end.
And Morgan was raised by her grandfather. After he died - she stood alone too — and was tossed around in foster homes. Her story comes together later too.

Morgan needed to peel away - whitewash - the paint off the graffiti she did.....and Elizabeth had to peel away & whitewash hidden stories from her past.
Everywhere I looked — it seemed there was a balance of darkness with light of hope shining through.
Misunderstandings—grief- loss - yet beauty, connections & love.

Morgan & Elizabeth’s relationship becomes very moving - purposeful.

The secrets of the past brought tears to my eyes.

This is also a very atmospheric novel. Unless I quoted page after page, no words I could say comes close to expressing how stunning the prose is - really spell-binding.

There is much to talk about in this novel - it’s simply magnificent!

Harmonious & symphonic, jarring, and perhaps offensive but fitting.....
a lovely lovely novel!!!
Profile Image for Debra .
2,279 reviews35k followers
August 28, 2018
Morgan is a teenager who lived with her grandfather until he passed away. Since then she has been living in foster homes and has created a hard exterior to keep others at bay. She doesn't like to appear as if she cares about anything but there is one thing she cares about- the violin that once belonged to her grandfather. He taught her to play and she treasures it and its contents. Morgan gets into a little trouble when she paints graffiti on a fence at a home for the elderly. She must make amends by painting the fence.

"You know," he said, "when you paint over something, everything that was there before isn't really gone. It's still there. All the layers of color, the scrapes and dents, even the bare wood hiding beneath, they shape what's painted on top, inspire it even, but they don't define it. That's up to the painter."

Elizabeth has been a resident of the home for the elderly for some time. Her eyesight has failed but her mind and her memory are still sharp. She has formed a friendship with Marty, a caretaker at the home and he frequently will quiz her on art and music. She likes to brag that he has never trumped her. Her hearing has been sharpened and she has learned the steps and sounds of those around her. She is intrigued by Morgan who is being supervised in re-painting the fence by her friend, Marty.

When a boat capsizes, Elizabeth’s father's journals have been found and returned to her. Unfortunately, she cannot read them, and she desperately wants to know what her father has written. She convinces Morgan to read the journals to her, in return she will give Morgan one of the paintings that she has on her nightstand. Morgan is drawn to the paintings as she her grandfather had a similar one under the material of his violin case.

"Like the raindrops falling outside, one by one they fill the gaps until the memories pool together and flood through me.”

As Morgan begins to read, Elizabeth's story comes alive. Elizabeth was raised on Porphyry Island and her father was the lighthouse keeper. As each journal entry is read, the reader learns more about Elizabeth and her family but mainly about Elizabeth and her twin sister, Emily. Both Morgan and Elizabeth bond over the reading of the journals. Morgan wants to know more about Elizabeth and Elizabeth has keen insight into the life of a teenage girl.

What is it with lighthouses?

I seriously loved this book. I loved how the past and present story-lines flowed naturally and the transition from one to the next was seamless. With dual story-lines, we know that they are going to connect in some way, and it is the how and the why that really works here. The writing was so beautiful and the descriptions so vivid, that I felt as if I were right there on the island and in the home with the characters. I loved Elizabeth's and Emily's story-line, it was beautiful, sad, full of hope and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Besides the smooth transitions, I loved the unfolding of the story and watching the bonding between Morgan and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was sharp, witty and not afraid to ruffle some feathers at the home for Morgan to spend time in her room. For someone who could not see, she saw more than most people. She had great insight and had Morgan's number right away. She saw past the hard exterior and sarcastic nature of Morgan and knew inside she was a young woman dealing with loss and pain. Elizabeth also served as a strong female character which Morgan needed in her life. Plus, as the mystery of Elizabeth's life unfolded, Morgan began to learn more about her own life as well.

The Author has created characters that readers will fall in love with or dislike instantly. I loved every single page of this book. From the setting, the characters, the descriptions, the art, the music, the mystery, the personalities, they all were quite perfect. I was instantly drawn in and captivated by this book. When I lived in Massachusetts, I visited several lighthouses and my family had one we visited every couple of months, it was quite easy to imagine the one in this book and I could see the family climbing the stairs to make sure everything was working and to protect the ships on Lake Superior. Being able to transport a reader to your setting, takes great skill and Pendziwol has it.

I highly recommend this book!

Shortlisted for the 2018 Northern Lit Award

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Tina.
509 reviews782 followers
August 19, 2022
4.5 * Canadian Author Alert 🇨🇦

A hardcopy of this book has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time. I finally decided to pick it up. What a story! I don't know why I left it for so long! I read up to Part One and then when I was browsing Libby I found this audiobook. I downloaded it and started reading AND listening to it. The narrators were just wonderful!

I must say this author is very gifted. She is a children's author and I believe this is her first adult novel. This is why I originally bought this book in the first place because of her children's story, "No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids." It was one of my kids favourite books that I would read to them when they were young. It's so clever and funny and educational and if you like children's stories I'd highly recommend that one too!

The story is set in the beautiful Canadian region (in the province of Ontario) around Lake Superior (our largest of 5 Great Lakes.)

Elizabeth is an elderly lady in a Nursing home in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She meets up with Morgan, a teenaged girl who is doing community service at the home. Elizabeth has recently been given her father's old journals from when she was a young girl and he was the Lighthouse Keeper on Porphyry Island along Lake Superior. Elizabeth is nearly blind now and Morgan begins to read the papers to her. The story goes back in time and spans many years as well as part of a story in the present time.

The writing is stunning. She captures the Lake Superior area vividly. This is a beautiful story that slowly unravels secrets of the past.

I will check out more of Jean E. Pendziwol's children's books but I do hope she will write another adult novel in the near future.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
486 reviews1,356 followers
December 22, 2017
If you've ever been to Lake Superior, you would never know it was a lake rather than an ocean sitting on its coast. It sits between the US and Canada and is one of the 5 Great Lakes. I recall from early childhood the south side being shallow and being able to drift out for what seemed like miles( and the north side, dipping deep down, upon a few steps in. But the landscapes of the lakes change along with the seasons.

This is a wonderfully descriptive novel of a young girl, Morgan, who has been in and out of foster homes and that of an aging woman, Elizabeth, who resides in a nursing home. A friendship is forged and Morgan reads to Elizabeth the diaries of her father, a light house keeper on Lake Superior - Porphyry Island- bringing him back to life along with a secrets that have come back from the past.

A little too tidy and coincidental, But the writing is strong, the wilderness beautiful and I was lulled me into the richness of the island, the stormy seas and the beautiful imagery. 4⭐️
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
November 4, 2017
If I could I would give this book 6 perfect stars!!!

This really was such a remarkable book, I’m sure my words cannot do it justice.... The characters were so well-developed, the writing so extremely vivid, the pacing perfect, It just met or exceeded everything I expect from a wonderful book.... it was a book about secrets, family, bonds, love, And so much more.... The book took place during two different time frames, both of which I found equally intriguing.... The part of this book set in the past took place on the isolated banks of Lake Superior, the author made me feel as though I was there, shoot I think I even could feel the sno... but what I enjoyed even more than the setting was the amazing bond between the sisters Elizabeth and Emily.... some of the sacrifices the sisters made for each other were downright heartbreaking....

The present part of this book took place when Elizabeth was older and losing her site and Morgan a teenager with a troubled past; was reading her father’s journals to her.... The bond between Elizabeth and Morgan grew to be very special and they definitely learned they had much more in common then they would have ever thought..... and I learned that some secrets are better kept in the past.... as I said my words cannot do this book justice, you are definitely going to need to read it for yourself!

this was my first Traveling Sister read and it could have not been more special! Thank you so much too Jaline, Brenda, Lindsey, Jennifer, and Nikki for this wonderful experience! You all definitely added so much to my enjoyment of this book! Looking forward to many more reads with all the sisters!XO

narration: the narrators did a fantastic job of voicing both the characters but especially Elizabeth, I just Felt as though she was telling me her story💜

You can find the combined Traveling Sister review of this book, along with all of The Sisters fabulous reviews at https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,121 reviews30.2k followers
August 13, 2022
5 huggable, bright, shiny stars for The Lightkeeper's Daughters

This is one of those books where the words inside are just as alluring as the cover. There are two storylines, past and present, and I loved each equally. Lighthouses have always been captivating to me, and the story surrounding this particular lighthouse at Porphyry Point on Lake Superior was mesmerizing.

As I write, I feel like I am running down a checklist where everything is marked off because this was literally the perfect book. The flow of the writing was immaculate, the characters were easy to adore or loathe, and the descriptions of the settings were striking. I felt deeply about the characters in this book. I'm still thinking about them.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a book you will want to read on an overcast day curled up with your favorite cozy blanket. Be prepared to be swept away, or swept in to this beautiful story.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,098 followers
December 2, 2017
If I had to describe this book in three words it would be Charming, Engaging and Memorable

From the the very beginning of this novel I was captivated by the magic of the voices on audio and the memorable characters that make this book such a pleasure to listen to. I think readers of books like Orphan Train Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman The Light Between Oceans may well enjoy this novel.

Elizabeth Livingstone, is living in a retirement home and her eyesight has failed her, raised on Porphyry Island in the 1920s and ’30s. Her father’s old Lightkeeper's day logs, returned by a constable investigating a shipwreck may throw some light of the tragedy that forced her and her twin sister to leave the island 60 years before.When Morgan Fletcher, a foster teen sent to do community service at her retirment home, Elizabeth convinces Morgan to read the journals to her and both women benefit
from the experience.

The author does include a short note at the end about the Lighthouse and its inhabitants and includes some entries from the originals journals but most of the book is fiction.
I enjoyed the novel for what it was a historical fiction story with wonderful characters, an engaging and suspenseful plot and I finished the book with a sigh of contentment and I think I hated parting with the narrators as much as the characters.

A terrific cosy by the fire winter time read and a book that will keep you turning the pages and leave you wanting more.
November 5, 2017

Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda with Jennifer, Lindsay, Jaline, Nikki and Berit.

I read The LightKeeper's Daughters with six of my Traveling Sisters. This was a first sister read for two of our sisters and I am so happy this turned out to be such a special reading experience for their first read. We all really enjoyed this beautifully written book and as one sister said it was such a huggable book that she tucked it under her pillow so she could cuddle it.

I am going to warn you now I am going to continue gushing over how beautifully wonderful this book is and the brilliant discussion it brought to this sister read. The discussions that this story brought out is my favorite kind of discussion. The kind where we dig deep into the writing, the story and the characters and share our insight to them both. Such great and wonderful insight from this smart and insightful sisters of mine.

The LightKeeper’s Daughters is a captivating, elegant, complex and well-written story and one that a sister called it a force of nature that has us totally immersed in this captivating story of love and deception.

The story is told through the perspectives of two unlikely characters who are not so unlikely and it goes back and forth from the past and the present. Jean E. Pendziwol does a fantastic job weaving their stories together. We were right away drawn into these strong and interesting characters and their relationship to each other as we are shown how a complex web of secrets are unraveled. The characters are so well-done and we came to really care about them and they brought out a few emotions that we shared with each other. We all love the strong sister bond between two of the characters and we could feel their love, commitment and unspoken understanding of each other that bonded them together.

We all really appreciated all the research Jean E. Pendziwol put into this story and so vividly gave us such a wonderful sense of place. We could visualize the lighthouse and the lake and it gave a good sense of how isolated it must have been. Through our discussion we found out a few of us have a fascination for lighthouses and one sister shared a very special story with us involving a lighthouse.

Jean E. Pendziwol does a wonderful and refreshing job of portraying Morgan’s foster parents and home. It was so nice to see a different side to foster homes and it brought out a nice warm boast to the story.

We shared a couple quotes from the story and I will leave you with one of our favorites.

“At some point, we all ask ourselves, Who am I?, it’s not about who you are or who you were, it’s about who you can be”

I will leave this review with one of my favorite thoughts from a sister “Could you imagine what life would be like if we loved all books this much!”

Thank you, Jean E. Pendziwol for making me and my sisters ultra-happy sisters with this reading experience. We highly recommend!

Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:

Profile Image for Karen.
573 reviews1,114 followers
November 12, 2017
I love lighthouses and our Great Lakes, as I am in Michigan where both are aplenty. This story takes place at a lighthouse along the powerful Lake Superior. This book is mostly a story about sister love through the years but there are many hidden secrets that unfold towards the end that get a bit confusing. I really liked it despite the confusion because of the story’s setting.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
September 3, 2018
5 Brilliant & Glowing Stars!   This was a fabulous read and was quickly placed into my favourite reads shelf!

* Traveling Friends Read *

THE LIGHTKEEPER’S DAUGHTERS by JEAN E. PENDZIWOL was an absolutely fantastic, charming, and touching novel that had me totally engaged and held dear right to the very last word.  I was mesmerized by how beautiful and heartfelt this story was.

I was immediately drawn into this story by the absolutely gorgeous storytelling here and totally intrigued in the storyline which had me feeling so much emotional warmth for this book.  This was one of those books for me that I had to have it close to me at all times even when I wasn’t reading it. I’d pick it up, smell it, and give it a hug. I was the proud owner of this book!  

JEAN E. PENDZIWOL delivers a complex, descriptive, and beautifully written story here that flowed absolutely perfect. The characters, the setting, and the premise of this novel were all so captivating to me and had me totally fascinated in what I was reading.  I love books with dual storylines and the transitions between the two were done seamlessly and blended so well together.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover:  Love that beautiful and eye-catching cover!
Title:  Fits the story well and had me totally intrigued.
Writing/Prose: Beautifully written, eloquent and spellbinding.
Plot:  Interesting, held my attention, and loved everything about it.
Ending: Took me a little by surprise and loved how all the storylines came together. Moving, memorable and satisfying.
Overall: An outstanding read! Would highly recommend!

Review can also be found on our book blog:
Profile Image for PorshaJo.
453 reviews660 followers
September 9, 2018
I've always been a fan of lighthouses. Growing up, I liked to visit them and collect statues of various lighthouses. So reading, eh listening to this one, was a perfect story for me. A story told in alternating times, narrators, and view points. Much of the story is told by Morgan, a girl who is struggling to find her place, reading diary entries to an elderly woman in a nursing home, Elizabeth. I almost thought I had this one figured out....thinking it was going to go a specific way, which disappointed me. But I was so pleasantly shocked with this one. To be honest, I wanted to go back and start it again. The story immediately draws you in, into the story, into a time so long ago, and into the working of the lighthouse. I liked how the story alternated between present day and the past, weaving the stories together so well. I listened to this one and really enjoyed the various narrators. A truly special read, and one I'm glad I finally got a chance to get to.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews317 followers
May 25, 2018
At some point, we all ask ourselves, who am I? The thing is, it’s not about who you are or who you were, it’s about who you can be.

This is beautiful story telling and the kind of story for which long winter days with a roaring fire are made. This is the kind of story that reminds you why you read. Haunting and melancholic, the author slowly reveals a story steeped in rich detail, sweeping prose and characters you bring into your heart and who will remain there long after the final page. And you’ll be transported to an island on Lake Superior and even its blustery winds won’t make you want to let go.

I am not growing weary. I am finding the telling of it makes me stronger. These words that spill out of me and shape the story, that lead to us both being here, now, in this room, have been waiting for their life. It frees me and lightens me to share them. What an odd couple of conspirators we make, this girl and I.

Elizabeth, Morgan and all of the ghosts of the past will uncover a decades old mystery, yet these stunning revelations can’t compare to the emotionality of this spellbinding tale. Upon reading the last satisfying word you will wipe away your tears and wonder how the next book can possibly live up to the voyage upon which the author has taken you. To quote Teddy…’I am a part of everything that I have read’ and now this story is a part of me.
Profile Image for Lucy.
415 reviews610 followers
January 3, 2019

“Like the raindrops falling outside, one by one they fill the gaps until the memories pool together and flood through me.”

Elizabeth and Emily grew up in a lighthouse; Elizabeth a fierce protector over her silent, excellent-artist twin sister, Emily. Their father kept journals of their daily lives and these journals have not been seen by Elizabeth for many decades. When a ship wreck occurs, some of these journals are found and are given to Elizabeth.

At the retirement home, Elizabeth begins to engage in conversation with a troubled delinquent teenager, Morgan, who is at the home doing restorative justice and trying to discover who she is. As Morgan is able to read, Elizabeth enlists Morgan's help in reading the journals to discover more about her life as the young lightkeeper's daughter.

Through these journals not only does Elizabeth discover more about the past that she did not know, but also Morgan matures as a person. There is more of a connection between these two character's than what initially appears on the surface.

Sadly this book did not live up to the hype for me and I found myself sometimes skim reading. While I loved the premise of discovering old secrets and loving the enigmatic character of Emily, nothing else particularly held my attention and I was not drawn to the story. I found that I figured out some of the plot lines and secrets so it wasn't very surprising when these were revealed in the book.

I found this to be an easy read, however, this book just was not for me.
November 13, 2018
What a beautifully written story of love, care, and devotion with the gorgeous turbulent and sometimes peaceful background of a lighthouse located on an island in Lake Superior! The author was able to involve the reader in the surroundings, those being peaceful and melancholy as she slowly developed the story of the twin sisters, Emily and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is blind. She is in a home for the elderly. She can no longer read the words of beloved books nor see the beauty that once surrounded her in art and in her environment. Into her life comes Morgan, a teenager who is bordering on delinquency and Morgan starts to form a relationship with Elizabeth reading the journals kept by Elizabeth's father while he was the lightkeeper. Events start to swirl around Morgan as she reads and later when another journal is found, the story takes on a mystic quality that starts to bind Morgan and Elizabeth.

Secrets are revealed as the life of the twins and their brothers unfold in this sometimes harsh and unforgiving environment. This was such an haunting tale, one of an atmospheric nature that so closely followed the environs of where the story was set. The ebb and flow of the water, the seasons, and the times of the lives of this family bring forth Morgan's question of who is she?

The only issue I had was that the ending for me was confusing. However, that being said, this was a gorgeous novel, one that brought sadness and tears as we realize the very sacrifices one can make for another they truly love.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,109 reviews2,792 followers
January 3, 2019
Very enjoyable book that pulled at the heartstring from beginning to end. I really liked the character of Elizabeth and at first, just tolerated Morgan. But I grew to like Morgan too and her grandfather was a favorite character for me, in this book. This was a library book, it'd been out for a while and had good ratings but I didn't know much more than that. Glad I read it.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
948 reviews130 followers
February 16, 2018
I don't think I've ever disliked a lighthouse story and The Lightkeeper's Daughters did not disappoint. Such a beautiful story! And it takes place in Canada!! This was probably the best audio book I've heard to date, which may have even added to my enjoyment of the book.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters tells the story of the Livingston family and their years living on a small island, working the lighthouse, in the early half of the 20th century. It also includes a second present day timeline and plot that involves the struggles of a 15 year old orphan named Morgan. When Morgan and Elizabeth Livingston meet while Morgan is painting the fence at Elizabeth's senior home as restitution for graffiti, the two form an unexpected bond. It is through this bond that each character learns more about themselves and discovers hidden secrets that will ultimately change their lives. The prose is poetic and graceful. It captures the reader and pulls them into the story like a gentle hug. The author uses an alternating first perspective (Morgan and Elizabeth), which adds depth and complexity. It was one of those books that I fell in love with and didn't want it to end.

My favorite reads are those that bring me into the folds with ornate yet restrained description and emotional warmth. This book excelled on both fronts. I felt like I was living the experience and my heart was with the characters. I would absolutely recommend and will be listing this one as a favorite!
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,042 reviews902 followers
August 18, 2017
The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a tender book about sisters' love, family, secrets, and lighthouse keeping on the Porphyry Island on Lake Superior. It covers a long period of time, from the WWI to present time.

Like many others, I love lighthouses, so I was drawn to this book. I haven't read anything by Pendziwol before, but I've enjoyed this novel and her writing style.
It reminded me a bit of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman, as both have light house keeping as an anchoring point for the stories.

The main characters of this novel are the elderly Elizabeth Livingstone, who's almost blind and lives in a retirement home and Morgan, a teenage girl, who's doing community service at the retirement residence after being caught doing graffiti.

The two start a relationship when Morgan starts to read to Elizabeth her father's old journals that reappeared after decades. Elizabeth's recollections fill in the gaps about what had happened. Elizabeth's and her twin sister, Emily, have always been inseparable. Elizabeth is Emily's guardian of sorts, who's always had to protect Emily from others and from herself. Their bond was extraordinary.

Secrets abound. There are misunderstandings, grudges, love and loss and art.

The descriptions of the life on the Porphyry Island were quite evocative.

Generally speaking, this novel was enjoyable, although somewhat familiar.

I've received this novel via Edelweiss. Many thanks to HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review this novel.
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews112 followers
March 26, 2018
When Morgan is caught spray painting, she is given community service at the nursing home where the incident took place. Tasked with repainting the fence, Morgan meets Elizabeth, a resident of the home. Initially Morgan just wants to finish up her punishment but a familiar sight draws her close with Elizabeth. Soon Morgan is helping Elizabeth revisit her past as being almost completely blind Elizabeth can not read her dad's journals. As Morgan reads to Elizabeth, the bond between the two women strengthens as does their truths.

The cover of this work is deceiving as beneath it lays a much more complex story. Set primarily in Porphyry Island, on a lighthouse post, the narrative follows Elizabeth as she revisits her upbringing on this remote and secluded location. Elizabeth's father was the lightkeeper and choosing not to be by himself during the prolongued post decided to have his family with him. Elizabeth and her twin sister Emily were born on the island and they are just as familiar with the soil under their feet as with the water that surrounds them. But just as there is beauty, there is also danger and growing up in Porphyry is not all idylic. Isolation can be a breeding ground for secrets and there is no shortage of them on the island. Elizabeth has been living with doubts all her life and her dad's journals hold the key to deciphering them. Enter Morgan. Morgan is a teen with a difficult life. She has been in several foster homes and on the wrong side of the law when caught spray painting the nursing home. I enjoyed the way in which Pendziwol weaved Elizabeth's and Morgan's stories making both equally touching.

Where this narrative really excels in in creating an atmospheric read. Just like "The Light Between Oceans", another work set in a lighthouse, this work conveyed the seclusion and isolation that comes with being the lightkeeper. Themes with light and darkness are also prevalent in the novel. The use of light in helping someone find their way amid turbulent (figurative and literal) waves was a strong feature. The narrative was laced with lies and deceit and while the pace did take some time to pick up, it perfectly suited the narrative. The reveal of each secret was meted out with great care. Just as I thought there was nothing more to add, there was another reaveal. I love how the historical details were integrated with the story. As a whole, the book was touching, beautiful, heartbreaking but also hopeful. Would definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Nikki Joyce.
185 reviews66 followers
November 3, 2017
"I'm invisible except to the one person who is blind."
Wow. wow. wow! The Lightkeeper's Daughters is easily one of the best books I've read this year. It honestly had everything: excellent writing, beautiful imagery, mystery, romance, history....all rolled into a perfect blend of past and present.
Bits and pieces of the story reminded me of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, both of which I really enjoyed. However, The Lightkeeper's Daughters surpassed both of those on my favorites list!
It's almost difficult for me to write a review for this book, because it all comes down to me saying: Go read this book!! :) It is a beautiful, exciting, heartbreaking journey. I highly recommend taking the ride.
***This was my first Traveling Sisters Read. I had the privilege of reading this along with Brenda, Jaline, Berit, Lindsay, and Jennifer. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and what a perfect book to discuss with fellow readers. This is a great book for any book club or reading group.
All Traveling Sisters reviews can be found on the following blog:

Profile Image for Retired Reader.
124 reviews47 followers
November 10, 2017
Mostly a good read but I got really confused about 85% in...lol; I may go back and read that part again. The characters are well developed and the story is well-paced and interesting. Takes place in Canada to the north of Lake Superior, an area I know nothing about, so it was pleasant to learn something new about the setting and the people of that area.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews786 followers
February 18, 2018
THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTERS is a book that I felt from the beginning was just my kind of book. I love books with dual storylines. Also, I was quite taken with the cover and blurb.

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTERS is about two twin sisters that were born at the beginning of the 20th-century to a lightkeeper and his wife on an isolated island. There, they grew up with their two older brothers. Several events, when they were older, would permanently change their lives and, in the end, make them move away from the island. Now one of the sisters, Elizabeth, is back and living in a nursing home.

Profile Image for Lollita .
206 reviews74 followers
July 7, 2018
I received a copy 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 initially thought I would.
Profile Image for Linda.
152 reviews87 followers
January 18, 2019
Even with all my goodreads friend ‘s excellent reviews this book far exceeded my expectations . Beautifully written with characters to steal my heart. ..A storyline full of twists and turns with suspense to have me guessing until the end...history to intrigue me and teach me.....beautiful symbolism throughout ..I just loved it!
Profile Image for Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews.
1,912 reviews270 followers
July 29, 2018
Novels based around lighthouses have always taken my interest. I cast my mind back to The Light Between the Oceans, the brilliant debut by M.L. Stedman, Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman and The Lightkeeper’s Wife by Karen Viggers. I have enjoyed each and every one of these lighthouse themed novels. When I came across new release, The Lightkeepers Daughters, by Jean E. Pendizwol, I was confident I was going to enjoy this novel. The use of a shipwreck, a journal and a family mystery, plus an unfamiliar backdrop of an island off Ontario in Canada, all contributed to my interest. I did read this book, which became rather a reluctant effort by the end. I have to confess that it didn’t speak to me, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. Therefore, I would struggle to complete a fair review. Since there is a plethora of great reviews on this book on the Goodreads site, I’m going to put this down to my own frame of mind.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,953 reviews485 followers
December 30, 2017
3.5 stars round up to 4.

The book synopsis sums up the story quite well. I felt that this was a beautiful story about the bond between family and the secrets they keep.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,317 reviews
November 17, 2017
This one was quite good! I'm still thinking about the ending, not at all what I was expecting. I love lighthouses, so it was fun to get a glimpse at what life was like for a family growing up being light keepers. Great cover and compelling story.

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