Santa Montefiore is an author that has popped up on my radar on and off again over the last few years. I have seen her books popping up on my Goodreads recommendations and social media over the years and always plan on reading one of her books but she is a prolific writer and just wasn’t sure where to start.
I wanted something good that would captivate me right away but I just wasn’t sure where to begin. A few months ago, I nabbed this book from my local used book store—mostly for the cover. The cover is divine lets just all agree on that please!
But I shelved it and moved on to other books rather than cracking it open. So here I was six months later searching for a new audiobook to listen to while running errands. I belong to the Audible romance package where I can listen to select titles for free, so I started searching for books in their catalogue and what should pop up but this book! I immediately downloaded it and started listening.
Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret – and a future she never knew she might have.Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on.
And between the two of them is an old lighthouse – the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again? (Summary from Goodreads).
I feel like this book was written for me. What a lovely and captivating book. I know a lot of Montefiore fans will argue that this is far from her best novel, but I absolutely adored it and couldn’t put it down! When I wasn’t in my car or doing house work, I would pull my printed copy down from the shelf and pick up where my audiobook left off.
This book had a paranormal element and while I wasn’t sure that it always worked, I didn’t hate it and found Caitlin’s perspective interesting. What hooked me in this book was the characters. Ellen, though a little silly at times, was heartwarming and open and I loved discovering her family history with her. Her family was absolutely nuts but exactly what I think of when I think of a traditional Irish Catholic family—big, nosey, and welcoming. I want to live in this family—it sounds like such a fun group and I wish I had a family like that.
I also loved the nostalgia and reflection in this book so much. One of the major themes is the long term ramifications of youthful choices, missed opportunities, and the power of love. It’s all the things that I love in a story. If felt sweeping, romantic, sad, and yet satisfying all together. I can’t say enough good things about the mood and atmosphere of this book.
The descriptions of Ireland were breathtaking. Normally I don’t care too much about things set in Ireland (I know I know….my mom crammed Ireland down my throat as a kid and I never recovered) but this book made me adore Ireland and want to visit in the worst way! Montefiore does an outstanding job incorporating the scenery into her story letting it take on a life of its own.
The romance between Connor and Ellen takes a back seat in my opinion to the other narratives and plot lines happening, but that doesn’t mean that it’s disappointing all. I loved the tension and chemistry between Ellen and Connor and enjoyed their moments together, but the romantic storyline that really intrigued me was that of Dylan and Maddie. I am a sucker for missed opportunity romances.
This book wrapped up so nicely and perfectly that while I was sad it was coming to an end, I was incredibly satisfied with how every one ended up. So where does that leave me now? Well now I am desperate for more Santa Montefiore books! I need to read everything she’s written but I just don’t know where to start now so if you have read her books please point me in the direction of another one of her outstanding novels!