Ariel's Reviews > The Woman at the Light

The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady
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's review
Jan 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-lighthouse
Read from April 01 to 05, 2012 — I own a copy

Thank you to St. Martin's Press with providing me a review copy of this novel.

I love historical fiction and since this book is set in my beloved Florida I knew I would enjoy it. This novel tells the story of Emily, a well to do young lady living in New Orleans. She marries her first husband Martin for love against her families advice and they become the light house keepers on the fictional island of Wrecker's Cay off the coast of Key West. They have three children and though the marriage did not live up to all of the romantic hopes Emily held for it, she does love her children and generally tries to make the best of things until the day Martin mysteriously disappears on a routine boating trip. His disappearance results in great hardship for Emily and her family until salvation washes up in the form of escaped slave Andrew. Andrew becomes indispensable to the survival of Emily and her family and they begin a passionate love affair. If their relationship were to be found out it would cause them to be highly ostracized if not outright arrested. Events conspire that drive them apart and Emily returns to Key West and pulls a Scarlett O'Hara by marrying her second, older husband for money and security. Eventually Emily is able to achieve the happiness and love she could never find in her marriages. The end of the novel reveals the outcome of several mysteries including what happened to Emily's first husband and Andrew as well as shed light on several vexing events that occurred when Emily was still living on Wrecker's Cay tending the lighthouse after Martin's exit.

I have visited Key West several times and I think the author did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the island. I have a particular love of the lighthouses of Florida and have visited many of them so I could clearly picture Emily's time on Wrecker's Cay. I also enjoyed all of the historical details in the novel concerning female lighthouse keepers as well as the author's notes at the end of the book which detail what parts of the book were true and which were fictional. The love affair between Emily and Andrew reminded me of a similar interracial couple depicted in another historical novel that I read recently, Wildflower Hill. This novel was a pleasure to read and I enthusiastically recommend it.

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04/01/2012 page 112
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