Saturday, March 14, 2009

REVIEW: The Maidenstone Lighthouse by Sally Smith O'Rourke

Maidenstone Lighthouse coverGenre: Fiction, Ghosts
Pub Date: September 2007, Kensington Books
Format: Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book. I was in no way compensated for this review and my opinions are my own.
Nestled in a coastal inlet a few miles north of Newport, Rhode Island, Freedman's Cove is known for its superb seafood, its postcard-pretty waterfront, and its exquisite Victorian homes-a legacy of the town's past as a summer resort for wealthy families. Manhattan antiques appraiser Susan Marks inherited one of these ornate mansions from her great aunt. After suffering a devastating loss, she retreats to Freedman's Cove to nurse her grief.
Three months have passed since the corporate plane piloted by Susan's lover, Bobby Hayward, disappeared at sea, but still Susan dreams nightly of his safe return. Her days are filled with memories of Bobby's mischievous blue eyes, his sensual touch, and the sheer zest for living that he imparted to every moment of their time together.
Amid the bracing sea air and familiar surroundings of the town where she spent happy childhood summers, Susan starts to recover her peace of mind-until she awakens one night to see an ethereal figure standing at her window. More curious than afraid, Susan is immediately intrigued by the ghost of this sad and beautiful young girl who gazes out at the Maidenstone Lighthouse. Delving into the story of her ancestor's tragic death brings Susan into contact with Dan Freedman, a local historian and famed artist who was once the town's teenage rebel. But even as the hours spent with Dan awaken Susan's hope that she could someday find love again, the startling truth behind a century-old mystery emerges to shed a beacon of light on dangerous shadows in Susan's own past and in her present.


So, as I mentioned in my Friday Finds post, I happened across this book while browsing the stacks at BJ's. They had loads of books on my TBR list, one of which I picked up (The Hunger Games), but what caught my eye was the beautiful cover of this book, so I read the cover and my interest was piqued. I'd never heard of the title or the author, and when I got home and searched the blogging sites I read, there were no reviews to be seen.

I really enjoyed reading this book. O'Rourke's writing style is pleasant and flows easily, which is exactly what I needed since I'm still a bit foggy from being sick most of the week. I was caught up in the story very quickly--who doesn't like a ghost story?--and I had a hard time putting the book down. Actually, there is more to this book than just the ghost story, but I don't want to give away too much because I would risk spoiling it. Let's just say the last several chapters prove to be very intense!

I also liked the way O'Rourke handled Susan's two men in her life--Bobby (disappeared and presumed dead), whom Susan had basically fooled herself into believing was the perfect man, and Dan, who truly was the perfect man--for her, I mean, naturally he had his own flaws. It was a very realistic portrayal of her relationships--luckily, in the end she found someone who was everything she wanted, rather than someone whom she had built up to be everything she wanted because that was what she wanted to believe and wanted to have. (I hope that made sense, I plead a fuzzy head from the cold if it doesn't!)

All-in-all I thought it was a great escapist read, made even better by the fact that had I not been browsing BJ's, I likely never would have come across it! A ghost story/mystery from Susan's family's past, an emerging mystery in Susan's current life, and a love story with a happy ending. Now I've got to get my hands on O'Rourke's first book, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen--I like the sound of that!

 4 stars 


  1. The beautiful cover would definitely have caught my eye too. But now I want it for two reasons: the cover and your review :) One more to add to my wishlist.

  2. This does sound good Melissa. I checked here and couldn't find it anywhere. Weird, huh. Well great review and I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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