Review: Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

Title: Secrets of the Lighthouse

Author: Santa Montefiore

Published: Simon and Schuster AU December 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from December 07 to 08, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Santa Montefiore has published over a dozen novels in the last decade or so, and Secrets of the Lighthouse is her latest release.

Desperate to escape her domineering mother, leaving behind her fiance and her job, Ellen Trawton flees London and claims refuge at the home of her only known relative in Ireland, an aunt she has never met. There she unexpectedly uncovers some shocking family secrets and, as Ellen tries to make sense of her mother’s hidden past, she is challenged to make some decisions about her future.
Caitlin Macausland, was a beautiful and vibrant woman until she plunged to her death from the Connemara lighthouse, now she is a restless spirit, watching over her husband and their children. In the five years since her death, Caitlin has been satisfied that she is still the woman Connor loves most, until he meets Ellen.

Set mainly in rural Ireland, I would describe Secrets of the Lighthouse as a contemporary gothic romance, complete with an abandoned castle, a vengeful ghost, spurned lovers and heartbreaking tragedy. Ellen’s arrival in Connemara is the catalyst for the revelations of secrets related not only to her family but also of what happened the night Caitlin died.

The story unfolds from the first person perspective of Caitlin and the third person, which follows Ellen. Caitlin is an interesting character, initially attracting our sympathy for her tragic early death, it fades as she is consumed by envy and bitterness. Through Caitlin Montefiore explores the themes of mental illness, obsession, vengeance and redemption.

Ellen’s contemplation of what she wants out of her life is well overdue, and her escape to Connemara makes sense. She didn’t expect to find a family she has never known or fall in love with the enigmatic Connor and both events change her life irrevocably. Though I liked Ellen I found her to be quite passive and one thing I found discordant was Ellen’s stated aged, supposedly in her early thirties (about the same age as Caitlin when she died) I thought her behaviour and attitude more appropriate for someone in their mid twenties – late twenties at a stretch.

I loved the setting, I’m a sucker for anything that takes place in Ireland and the village of Connemara, with a pub named the Pot of Gold, surrounded by deep valleys and craggy cliffs, is very appealing. The ruined lighthouse, the tiny church on the hill and the castle all add to the atmosphere.

Secrets of the Lighthouse is an easy read offering intrigue,drama and romance. Connemara has just been added to my must visit one day list.

Available to Purchase from

Simon and Schuster Au I Boomerang Books I Booktopia I Amazon AU

via Booko

Amazon US I BookDepository I Amazon UK

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 13:31:25

    Great review. This Simon & Schuster author is on my TBR list. I confess, I did email her directly the other day as we are both suckers for house stories of any kind and I admit I did enjoy receiving a lovely return email from Santa. (Oh, especially now that your blog is snowing!!!!) 🙂



  2. Michelle Walker
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 13:37:46

    great review, i too have just read this.



  3. Kate Forsyth
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 13:51:18

    Hey Shelly-rae, thanks for the review. On the one hand it sounds just like my kind of book – Irish setting, gothic romance,drama and intrigue … but I’ve read Santa Montefiore before and was a little disappointed. I’m unsure whether to try this or not … was the story really compelling and gripping? I know we like a lot of the same books as I’ve read on your recommendation before … do you think I’d like this?
    PS: no pressure, just wondering
    PPS: love the snowflakes ….



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:28:01

      Honestly, I think this is a little light for you Kate. The setting is fab, the plot is engaging but I wouldn’t say compelling, and the characterisation is a little weak so if that was an issue you had with her last book I wouldn’t recommend it. 🙂

      Let it snow 🙂



  4. Kailana
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 15:56:54

    I really want to read this just because of the cover and the setting… I am not sure if it is for me, though.



    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons
      Dec 16, 2013 @ 16:04:13

      My thoughts exactly, Kailana. I am a sucker for a cover and I kinda swooned when I looked at her website.



  5. Patty
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 02:06:58

    Loved your review…it sounds really good!



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