Title: The Lightkeeper's Daughter
Author: Colleen Coble
From the back cover:
Addie Sullivan leads a quiet life in a northern Californian lighthouse. She mourns the death of her father and endures her mother's bitterness, until the night a storm brings an injured stranger and a dark secret to her home. The man insists she is not who she thinks she is, but rather "Julia Eaton" - the child long lost and feared dead by her wealthy family. Seizing the chance to be reunited with the Eatons, Addie leaves her lighthouse home but decides to keep her true identity a secret until they can unravel the mystery.
Addie loves the Eatons' palatial home tucked away among the California redwood forests. She feels secure with the jovial family, adores the young boy who is her charge as governess, and finds romance with his father John, a young widower. But sinister shadows overtake Addie's joy. As dusty rooms and secret compartments give up their clues about her past, Addie finds a faith and a love she could never have guessed. To embrace this new world of promise is to risk her life; but to run away is to risk losing the greatest love she's ever known.
First a confession. Many of you know I'm in the process of writing a book. Part of that process includes reading. I read a lot. The book idea that came to me was slightly out of my normal scope of reading material. Okay ~ way off the map. :o) I've never read suspense before ~ plus it's contemporary (but we won't go there). So, I've been asking around for who does it well. Colleen Coble was was of the first names I was given. Now I don't generally enjoy homework, but let me tell you, I'm starting off 2010 in grand style because this is yet another fabulous read.
Her back cover sets up the story beautifully, but in Addie Sullivan we have a character that faces conflict in every form. She doesn't know who to trust in this new "family" of hers. Someone wanted her to stay hidden away and she doesn't know who or why. There are stories told about her dashing naval love interest that don't paint him in a particularly good light. She doesn't want to believe them, but she hasn't known him for very long ~ could he want something to happen to her so his son can inherit?
Everyone seems to have a motive and nobody acts in a way she can trust. Throw in the fact that once she is accepted into the family, she gets caught up and forgets to seek God... and finds herself trying to please her new father instead... You can imagine how twisted up things can get.
I was under the impression this author did contemporary books only. I don't go through and check for historical accuracy, but I can tell you she did a wonderful job with the most important things in this kind of story: writing, characters, romance and suspense/mystery.
Addie Sullivan popped off the page in living color. She was so vibrant and alive, I wished I could sit down with her (or splash in a creek) and eat ice cream with her until we both couldn't move. I have to believe the author spent a good amount of time on her because she felt too real for just a paragraph or two of notes.
The other characters were also very well done and had strengths and weaknesses that had you pulling for them and caught you off guard. She pulled the wool over my eyes more than once. I think this is the most twists and surprises I have seen in a book yet ~ and it wasn't confusing. The whole thing felt like a wonderful romantic action adventure movie. Perhaps Hollywood will come calling. :o)
I know everyone has their niche they like to read ~ or don't like. Don't let the beautiful cover stop you from trying this book because you think it will be too "Austen-esque." (Is that a word?) This is one of those books that kind of transcends genre and just is a great story. I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you like it.