Sunday 18 October 2020

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

I was really excited to be given the opportunity to read a digital ARC of The Lamplighters via Netgalley. This book has generated a lot of excitement, and while I hadn't previously learned much about the story behind this novel, I was intrigued by the blurb and cover to learn more.

First I should admit that I'd expected The Lamplighters to have a supernatural element to the story. In fact, there is something supernatural about this novel, a light element if you will (which I won't give away in this review) though it is not what you'd expect. Instead, this novel is more closely focused on the lives and relationships of the characters; on stories, rumour and speculation. In fact, I found these aspects far more interesting than the theme I had initially expected.

The narration of The Lamplighters has - at least for me - a strange rhythmic cadence. Chapters swing from events of the past to the present day; from the events leading up to the disappearance of the three lamplighters, to the impact on those left behind. Yet this does not feel disjointed: instead it flows smoothly, and made me think of stories told by firelight over the course of several winter nights.

Only after finishing The Lamplighters did I set out to explore the true-life story on which it was based. Then I realised how cleverly Emma Stonex had crafted this remarkable retelling, which lingered in my thoughts long after I'd turned the final page. The temporal setting was transported form the turn of the 20th century to a more contemporary decade, at the point which manned lighthouses were on the cusp of being replaced with automation. I found this added a great richness to the story, and more potential for each of the lamplighter's backstory, in addition to the clever twists and turns of the mystery which kept me guessing until the very end.

Do search this book out at your favourite bookstore when it is released next year! I'm sure this novel will be enjoyed by readers who crave well-crafted stories with realistic characters and an element of mystery.

The Lamplighters by will be released in the UK on .

Reviewed by on . Rating: 4 out of 4 stars.

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


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