The Lightkeeper’s Wife

The Lightkeeper's WifeThe Lightkeeper’s Wife by Karen Viggers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book for its depiction of unique and remote places – Tasmania and Antarctica. The story alternates between Mary and her son Tom. I expected more interaction between the two. Their stories were connected, but separate. There is also the story of the young ranger on Bruny who looks in on Mary and is coerced into spending time with her driving her around the island. I liked the way their relationship was developed, though again, I felt it could have been more tightly connected to the overall story. Their stories still feel separate at the end. The secret that Mary has kept until her death, wasn’t really much of a revelation at the end. So, a nice story – I liked it – but it wasn’t compelling. The best part for me was the depiction of the island, and I kept wanting to stop reading and look up pictures of these places on the internet.

Book description: Elderly and in poor health, Mary fulfills her wish to herself to live out her last days on Bruny Island off of Tasmania, with only her regrets and memories for company. Her late husband was the lighthousekeeper on Bruny, and she’d raised a family on the wild windswept island, until terrible circumstances forced them back to civilization. The long-buried secret that has haunted her for decades now threatens to break free, and she hopes to banish it in the time she has left. Mary’s youngest son Tom loves Bruny as much as she does, and understands her primal connection to the island. Years before he spent a winter working in Antarctica, and returned from that empty loneliness to find his marriage over and his life destroyed. Still wounded, Tom lives a simple life, unable and unwilling to make real connections with people in case he gets hurt again—but then he meets Emma, newly returned from Antarctica and as open and welcoming as Tom is not. As Mary’s time winds down, both she and Tom must face their pasts in ways they cannot even begin to imagine, and Mary finds that the script she’s written to the end of her life has taken on a few twists of its own.