The Lamplighters: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Inspired by a haunting true story, a gorgeous and atmospheric novel about the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower miles from the Cornish coast--and about the wives who were left behind
What strange fate befell these doomed men? The heavy sea whispers their names. Black rocks roll beneath the surface, drowning ghosts. And out of the swell like a finger of light, the salt-scratched tower stands lonely and magnificent.
It's New Year's Eve, 1972, when a boat pulls up to the Maiden Rock lighthouse with relief for the keepers. But no one greets them. When the entrance door, locked from the inside, is battered down, rescuers find an empty tower. A table is laid for a meal not eaten. The Principal Keeper's weather log describes a storm raging round the tower, but the skies have been clear all week. And the clocks have all stopped at 8:45.
Two decades later, the wives who were left behind are visited by a writer who is determined to find the truth about the men's disappearance. Moving between the women's stories and the men's last weeks together in the lighthouse, long-held secrets surface and truths twist into lies as we piece together what happened, why, and who to believe.
In her riveting and suspenseful novel, Emma Stonex writes a story of isolation and obsession, of reality and illusion, and of what it takes to keep the light burning when all else is swallowed by dark.
About the Author
Emma Stonex is a novelist and The Lamplighters is her debut under her own name; she is the author of several books written under a pseudonym. Before becoming a writer, she worked as an editor at a major publishing house. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two young daughters.
"Emma Stonex has written a gorgeous page-turner that is at once a mystery and a novel about mysteries--about how we all write our own endings and suffer betrayals, but still light the lamps so the people we love can find their way home." --Charlotte Rogan, The Lifeboat
“Beautiful, absorbing and utterly riveting, The Lamplighters is a hymn to loneliness, to the sea, and to the stories we allow ourselves to believe when we are alone. I treasured every moment of this dazzlingly accomplished and completely unforgettable novel.” --Rosie Walsh, author of Ghosted
“Wonderfully smart and atmospheric.” --Observer
“A remarkable book, through every page, every character, the writing resonates with the dark, powerful presence of the sea.” --Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path
“Transported me effortlessly…Haunting, harrowing and heartbreaking, this is a novel that will stay with you.” --Ashley Audrain, author of The Push
“A gorgeous page-turner that is at once a mystery and a novel about mysteries.” --Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat
“A beautifully written, utterly compelling tale." --Jenny Colgan, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner
“Stonex’s spectacular debut wraps a haunting mystery in precise, starkly beautiful prose…Seamlessly marrying quotidian detail with ghostly touches, the author captures both the lighthouse’s lure and the damage its isolation and confinement wreak on minds and families. The convincing resolution brings a welcome note of healing. Readers will eagerly await Stonex’s next." --Publisher's Weekly, starred review