Title: The Lighthouse
Author: Fran Dorricott
Release Date: 3/2/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Avon Books ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
No one expected them to go there. The question is: will any of them leave?
Six friends travel to a remote island north of the Scottish Highlands for an old school reunion. They’ve rented The Lighthouse – a stunning, now abandoned building that was once notorious for deaths at sea.
On the first evening, someone goes missing. The group search all through the night to no avail. But when the five remaining friends return to the lighthouse early the next morning, they are shocked to find James inside. He’s looks terrified – but won’t say a word about where he’s been.
The party vow to put the strange night behind them and enjoy the rest of their stay, but when more unexplained things begin to occur, tensions escalate. It’s clear James knows something, but nothing will persuade him to give up the secrets of the island. Is he protecting his friends from a terrible truth, or leading them into more danger?
A chilling, gripping and powerfully atmospheric suspense novel with a gothic edge.
This was a real slump buster for me. I found it a very absorbing read. It is so well paced.
I feel there are really two sides to this story. The mystery of this peculiar Island, its past and all the mysterious goings on and the character study . Told from three different perspectives we get to know a lot about our 6 ‘friends’. We really get to know the intricacies of the relationships between them all and there is something so honest in them. We have such great dynamics between all the characters. It was also refreshing to have one of these types of mysteries with a cast of characters in their 30s.
Each of the characters despite to prove to the friends they have known since there late teens early 20s that they are still that 20 something when they have grown and life has moved on and now they have 30 something problems to cope with too. You could really feel the ennui in group as they found themselves regressing slightly but also realising that they had grown apart. It was such subtle yet brilliant character building.
Kira is out trip organiser, but also is forced to spend it with her ex boyfriends new girlfriend. Her inner monologue focusing on trying not to seem bitter or cruel but also really wanting to be better than the new woman, but finding out she was actually a nice person. This inner turmoil read so genuine. There was not real childishness to Kira’s character, I liked how she would catch herself in her bitterness and reassess her behaviour. We also get Genevieve, the new one to the group, the outsider desperate to prove she is interesting and fun to her boyfriends oldest and dearest friends. Always feeling like she is outside all the jokes, or being misinterpreted in her eagerness to fit. Moira is our third protagonist. This is supposed to be a restorative trip for her and her wife, they have been inseparable from their toddler and have lost a little of who they are now that they are a young family. They are struggling with who they are now compared to who they were and what they want from those changes. I really liked how we got such an intimate view of their relationship as they tried to reconcile the who they were with the who they need to be for their child.
This all adds such layers to the mysterious vibe of the island. All the inner turmoil added to the ominous and dark feeling of the island is just so engaging. As the mystery builds with subtle spooky paranormal aspects, we just have such slow burn creepy vibes that layer on top of all the tension and build in such a fantastic manner. Despite being slower paces, the bickering and tension building between the characters makes it such a page turner.
Despite the nod to Agatha Christie that feels much more akin to Lucy Folly in the way its written and I think a lot of people would enjoy this little spooky psycological thriller.