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The Lightkeeper's Daughter [Hardcover]

Iain Lawrence
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 10 2002
Three years have passed since Squid McCrae last saw her parents and the remote island where she grew up. She returns now at seventeen, a young woman with a daughter in tow. The visit, she knows, will be rough. Lizzie Island–paradise to some, a stifling prison to others–brings an onslaught of memories. It is the place of Squid’s idyllic childhood, where she and her brother, Alastair, blossomed into precocious adolescents. But Lizzie Island is also the place where Alastair died.

Now the past collides with the present as Squid’s homecoming unleashes bittersweet recollections, revelations, and accusations. But nothing is what it appears to be. No one possesses the complete truth, and no one is without blame.

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From Amazon

The thunder of the waves, the screams of seagulls, and the smell of torn kelp suffuse this quiet, introspective story of a young woman's return to her childhood home on an island off the west coast of Canada. The sea in all its moods makes a turbulent background for a story of four people closely tied together by their idyllic but claustrophobic life alone on Lizzie Island, and by the tangled strands of resentment, guilt, and love that bind them. Elizabeth, nicknamed Squid, has brought a load of bitter anger with her on this first visit back to Lizzie Island since she left two years ago after her daughter, Tatiana, was born. The child is the result of an encounter with a passing kayaker, who took advantage of Squid's youthful innocence. The visit is tense also for Squid's parents, Hannah and Murray, the meticulous lighthouse keeper. All three blame themselves and each other for the death, or possible suicide, of Squid's brother, Alastair, but are unable to confront their feelings.

Iain Lawrence makes a striking shift in this book from the swashbuckling action of his seagoing trilogy, The Wreckers, The Smugglers, and The Buccaneers, to a contemplative story only gradually revealed in bits and pieces through the memories of the four principals. The harsh but seductive beauty of the island and its limitation on their lives is subtly portrayed in this book that will be enjoyed by older girls who are willing to accept its thoughtful pace. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell

From Publishers Weekly

Lawrence (the High Seas Trilogy) returns to the ocean for this exquisite novel that conjures literally the nature and mood of an island haunted by tragedy. When 17-year-old Elizabeth McCrae better known as Squid returns to her childhood home on Lizzie Island, a remote spot off the coast of British Columbia where her father serves as lightkeeper, she has a three-year-old daughter and a host of memories in tow. Chief among them are images of her brother, Alastair, who drowned when his kayak overturned. The events surrounding his death gradually and inexorably come to light, sifted through his journal entries (which Squid uncovers), scraps of remembered conversations and a compelling third-person narrative that alternates between Squid and her parents. Lawrence charts the course of the human heart, with cascading emotions of remorse and fury, love and passion, hope and nostalgia. Sea creatures take on metaphoric symbolism (a raven is "the Undertaker"; a beached whale prompts a conversation and some closure on Alistair's death). The author blends tangible descriptions ("There was no wind and no swell, and the water lapped at the shore as soft as cat tongues") and an elegiac tone (Hannah hesitates to use a pair of old U-boat binoculars: "It would be wrong to watch for her daughter through lenses that have witnessed the drowning of men") as he unspools an unforgettable tale. Rather ambiguous references to Tatiana's paternity mark this for mature readers. With adult characters every bit as memorable as the teen characters, plus its stunning ability to create a sense of the island's rhythms and habitat, Lawrence's novel not only lives up to the high standards of his previous works, but may well attract a wide adult readership. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A warmly recommended story of family differences March 10 2003
Format:Hardcover
Recommended for older readers is Iain Lawrence's Lightkeeper's Daughter, a story of seventeen-year-old Squid, who returns home to her parents' isolated life on an island bringing with her a young daughter. Squid has a lot to face before she moves away from her parents: she resents them for their isolated life, blames them for her brother's untimely death, and seeks a closeness with them which might never be. Lightkeeper's Daughter is a warmly recommended story of family differences, strife, and the effects of an isolated environment on the family unit.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Lightkeeper's Daughter Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Iain Lawrence does an excellent job of bringing his reader back and forth between what his main character Squid remembers as a child growing up on Lizzie Island and what she feels now, at the age of 17, as she returns to the island to see her parents after she went away to have the baby she became pregnant with at 13.
This book lets readers think about how they saw things as a child and how they realize how their thoughts and ideas have changed as an adult or even young adult as they follow Squid through this realization.
Lawrence's description of the island and the family that lives on this lonely island are captivating. You are instantly brought into a lightkeeper's life with his great imagery, and I thought once I could smell the salt in the air of my living room.
Even though this book was almost 250 pages, it was an easy and fast read that left me wanting to know what had really taken place on the island, what really happened to Squid's brother who mysteriously died before she left the island, and how her daughter, the baby girl she left the island to have, will react to this mysterious and lonely island, as well as her grandparents.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lightkeeper's Daughter Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Iain Lawrence does an excellent job of bringing his reader back and forth between what his main character Squid remembers as a child growing up on Lizzie Island and what she feels now, at the age of 17, as she returns to the island to see her parents after she went away to have the baby she became pregnant with at 13.
This book lets readers think about how they saw things as a child and how they realize how their thoughts and ideas have changed as an adult or even young adult as they follow Squid through this realization.
Lawrence's description of the island and the family that lives on this lonely island are captivating. You are instantly brought into a lightkeeper's life with his great imagery, and I thought once I could smell the salt in the air of my living room.
Even though this book was almost 250 pages, it was an easy and fast read that left me wanting to know what had really taken place on the island, what really happened to Squid's brother who mysteriously died before she left the island, and how her daughter, the baby girl she left the island to have, will react to this mysterious and lonely island, as well as her grandparents.
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