Audiobook Review | The Lamplighters

I have been really enjoying audiobooks recently and this one was no exception.

The Lamplighters
Emma Stonex

They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.

They say the sea keeps its secrets…

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

The Lamplighters is a heart-stopping mystery rich with the salty air of the Cornish coast, and an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

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Honestly this book is equal parts fascinating and heartbreaking, the further into the story I got the more what-ifs popped into my head and at the same time as feeling so anguished for these characters the mystery of what had happened to them had me enthralled.

What I love about this book is that when I first read the blurb it was the mystery aspect of the story that caught my attention but actually what I really connected with was the characters and how the circumstances that they have faced and decisions they have made has changed their lives, how they have dealt with separation, loss, and unresolved feelings alongside the mystery around the disappearance. I also loved that I was kept guessing right to the end, any time another theory started to take shape, another part of the story would wash it away until all that was left was a compulsive need to know what on earth actually happened, what the motivation was for the chain of events.

The story is told between the past by the three lamplighters Arthur, Bill, and Vince and was narrated by Tom Burke and the present by their partners Helen, Jenny and Michelle twenty years later which was narrated by Indira Varma. I liked that there were two narrators for this story it really made the characters come alive, there are chapters that are monologues from the characters and these work so well in the audiobook because you really get such a good sense of the character’s voice.

I hadn’t really thought much about what it would have been like to work on a remote lighthouse or how it would affect the family left ashore but to be honest the minutiae of the keepers day to day existence was captivating. It also framed the atmosphere for the book perfectly, the contrast of the monotony of their days and the claustrophobic way of living against the addictive need to discover what happened. I think the plot and the structure of this book are just brilliant and time just flew in as I was listening, it’s nice to discover that I can still get that one more chapter feeling from an audiobook.

It is so hard to put into words how incredible The Lamplighters is but if you are looking for a book that has the thrill of a mystery whilst at the same time being a beautiful exploration of love and loss through an ordeal, then you will not be sorry to read this book. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

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