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This is a review of the 2012 book 'Keeper of the Light' by Diane Chamberlain but it should be noted that it was actually written in 2002 and only printed in the UK in 2012. I found out mid-way through the book that this is the first part of a trilogy - this was not really demonstrated up front and I only realised when I was looking at the listing on Amazon for the book. Fortunately, this was book one so I didn't come in to the middle of the action. I have read and enjoyed a couple of other books by the same author recently, she is compared favourably to Jodi Picoult in her writing style whom I tend to enjoy also.
A bit about
In Keeper of the Light the story jumps straight in to the action with emergency room doctor Olivia trying to save the life of a shooting victim. Mid way through the heart surgery Olivia realises the woman she is trying to save is the person her husband Paul is having an affair with, the well known local artist Annie O'Neill. With two holes in her heart, the attempt to save her life is futile and Olivia has to break the news to Annie's husband Alec and two children. The rest of the book deals with the fall out of the impact Annie's death has on her family and on Paul. Olivia grows close to Alec and his kids and begins to emulate Annie's life in her spare time from the ER. This doesn't go down well with some of the local people and Olivia finds herself at the end of a hate campaign questioning her motives and whether she took the right action in the ER the night of Annie's death. The namesake of the book refers to the local dilapidated lighthouse whose keeper Mary now lives in a home. The lighthouse has a big influence on all the character in the book who have memories of it for different reasons.
The men in the book seem particularly week and obsessed over this particular woman Annie, who is described vividly in the book. The one person who knows everyone's secrets is the 90 year old Mary Poor, the old lighthouse keeper who knew Annie so well in life. In turn the characters come to her for different reasons, all wanting advice and answers on their complex lives. Olivia is vulnerable at first with her husband Paul leaving her when it's not her fault but we see her grow in strength and confidence which makes very good reading.
This book was well written and had an intriguing story line. I liked most of the characters and loved the twists and turns in the plot as the book unfolded. I think it could have been made more clear that this is part of a trilogy but it doesn't stop you from reading it as a stand alone book. I was a bit disappointed that there were at least three spelling mistakes I noticed in the book which has been printed in America before now so really should have been picked up before the UK printing (the worst one being p 489 "lighthouse" in case the publisher is reading this, and the other ones were more grammatical errors). I do find mistakes in books very distracting from the story line!
I picked up my paperback copy from Morrisons in a 2 for £7 deal but it is also available for under £5 on Amazon (with free postage).
I enjoyed reading Keeper of the Light but am undecided whether I will track down the other two books in the trilogy. For me the questions were answered in the book and whilst I am sure there is more to be made of the characters in the subsequent books, I will probably leave it for now.