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The Lighthouse
Amy Tucker is struggling to put her life back together following the death of her mother. The loss has left the 18-year-old heartbroken, and she doesn’t know if her world will ever be whole again. Meanwhile, in Seabrook, a small town famous for its haunted lighthouse, Ryan Porter lives a simple but busy life, maintaining the ranch which he shares with his father. Separated by hundreds of miles, yet drawn to each other by forces they can’t understand, Amy and Ryan spend a magical day together and quickly forge a deep connection. But all is not what it seems in Seabrook, and when strange events begin happening around town, they question if their meeting really was an accident at all. Trusting in themselves and in each other, they attempt to unravel the mystery of why fate has brought them together, and in doing so, they embark on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that leads straight to the heart of Seabrook’s mysterious lighthouse. There they uncover the most shocking secret of all… a secret that will change the course of their lives forever.
Parker’s debut novel is a work of character-driven magical realism dealing with themes of filial love, grief, and existence in the liminal space between life and death. The story follows two young protagonists: Amy, who has recently lost her mother to a car crash, and Ryan, a young rancher who is struggling with his farm’s failing finances and his father’s failing health. The two develop a close relationship after Ryan finds Amy in the bathtub, having overdosed on sleeping pills, and saves her. While both must face their own personal troubles, they also find themselves caught up in the mystery of the town’s old lighthouse, which somehow, as a local puts it, lights “up the sky like a torch from heaven”—despite having no lamp. What follows is a genuinely surprising twist that will leave readers aching for all the characters involved.

Ryan and Amy are sympathetic characters whose grief makes them relatable, and their tender, supportive relationship is the story’s heart. Still, Parker does not shy away from highlighting the ways trauma and loss can change a person’s personality for the worse. Parker also proves adept at crafting a moody, possibly haunted milieu, as his leads live among vicious winter storms, miles of forlorn farmland, and of course the lonely lighthouse, on its “outcrop of jagged rocks,” to which Ryan and Amy find themselves drawn.

Several exciting revelations come at the novel’s end, but the beginning and the middle of the story by comparison at times lacks momentum. Some subplots are dropped or not fully realized, such as Amy’s father’s detective work. The Lighthouse is not a full-fledged fantasy, yet does contain magical and spiritual elements, which can be tricky to balance. For some readers, there may not be enough magic, and for others, there might be too much. Still, readers who follow its mysterious light will be rewarded with intriguing twists and lovable characters.

Takeaway: A mysterious lighthouse, compelling surprises, and a meditative look at moving through grief.

Great for fans of: Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea, Erin A Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B