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The Lightkeeper's Daughters

Cover of The Lightkeeper's Daughters

The Lightkeeper's Daughters

A Novel

"Jean Pendziwol's beautifully written novel captured me from the very first page. Its descriptions of the windswept lightkeeper's station of Elizabeth's and Emily's youth are so crisply rendered I felt I was standing on its shores watching the great ships cross the stormy waters of Lake Superior. Even more than its vivid evocation of a unique time and place, The LightKeeper's Daughters is a sensitive and moving examination of the nature of identity, the importance of family, and the possibility of second chances."—Heather Young, author of The Lose Girls

With the haunting atmosphere and emotional power of The Language of Flowers, Orphan Train, and The Light Between Oceans, critically acclaimed children's author Jean E. Pendziwol's adult debut is an affecting story of family, identity, and art that involves a decades-old mystery.

Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family, especially her beloved twin sister, Emily. When her late father's journals are discovered after an accident, the past suddenly becomes all too present.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service at her senior home, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own, to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth's father manned the lighthouse and raised his young family seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals will shake the foundation of everything Elizabeth thinks she knows and bring the secrets of the past into the light.

"Jean Pendziwol's beautifully written novel captured me from the very first page. Its descriptions of the windswept lightkeeper's station of Elizabeth's and Emily's youth are so crisply rendered I felt I was standing on its shores watching the great ships cross the stormy waters of Lake Superior. Even more than its vivid evocation of a unique time and place, The LightKeeper's Daughters is a sensitive and moving examination of the nature of identity, the importance of family, and the possibility of second chances."—Heather Young, author of The Lose Girls

With the haunting atmosphere and emotional power of The Language of Flowers, Orphan Train, and The Light Between Oceans, critically acclaimed children's author Jean E. Pendziwol's adult debut is an affecting story of family, identity, and art that involves a decades-old mystery.

Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family, especially her beloved twin sister, Emily. When her late father's journals are discovered after an accident, the past suddenly becomes all too present.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service at her senior home, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own, to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth's father manned the lighthouse and raised his young family seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals will shake the foundation of everything Elizabeth thinks she knows and bring the secrets of the past into the light.

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About the Author-
  • Jean E. Pendziwol was born in Thunder Bay on Lake Superior and spent much of her childhood aboard her family's sailboat, exploring the islands and bays of the inland sea. After working as a freelance writer and photographer, she spent several years focusing on raising her three children before publishing her first children's book. She lives in Ontario, in the shadow of the Nor'Wester Mountains, with her husband, two of her three grown children, a loveable mutt, and three temperamental chickens, who sometimes lay eggs.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 29, 2017
    YA author Pendziwol (Once Upon a Northern Light) pins her first story for adults to the “fortunes of chance” that bring mixed blessings to the last family manning a lighthouse on the Ontario side of Lake Superior. The narrative nimbly tacks between the past and present of Elizabeth Livingstone, a near-blind expat raised on Porphyry Island in the 1920s and ’30s. Since recovering her father’s old day logs, returned by a constable investigating a shipwreck, she’s eager to get to the bottom of the tragedy that forced her and her twin sister to leave the island 60 years before. Her failing eyesight prevents her from diving in until “fortune” pairs her with Morgan Fletcher, a foster teen sent to do community service at her retirement home. Game on. Cagey and drawn to bad company, Morgan turns out to be on an ancestral quest of her own and proves the perfect Watson. This is a perfect hammock read for those who love the Brontë sisters and Jodi Picoult in equal measure. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2017
    A decades-old mystery is revisited as an elderly woman shares the story of her childhood with a troubled teen.Teenage foster child Morgan Fletcher has been sentenced to completing a term of community service at the senior center she tagged with graffiti art. On her first day scraping off spray paint, Morgan meets Elizabeth Livingstone, an elderly woman who's still sharp as a tack but is almost completely blind. A boat belonging to Elizabeth's older brother, Charlie, has just been found, empty and foundering on Lake Superior. The boat was discovered near Porphyry Island, a small island in the Thunder Bay District of Ontario, where she and her siblings were raised. Their father was the lighthouse keeper on Porphyry Island for many years during the early 20th century. Although Charlie is missing, the authorities have recovered journals that belonged to their dead father, Andrew, and those books have just arrived for Elizabeth. Unable to read her father's words on her own, Elizabeth looks to the delinquent teenager repairing the fence outside her window. Morgan is quickly drawn in by Elizabeth and her history, spending many hours reading to the old lady instead of hanging around with her deadbeat boyfriend. As Morgan helps Elizabeth solve the puzzles of her past, the two women, young and old, form an unlikely bond that helps Morgan unearth many mysteries about her own life. With each tidbit that Elizabeth discovers from her father's writings, Morgan becomes more desperate for answers about her own past. In her first foray into adult fiction, Pendziwol (Once upon a Northern Night, 2013, etc.) has created an intricately satisfying story about love and deception that manages to be both melancholy and exhilarating.A haunting tale of nostalgia and lost chances that is full of last-minute surprises.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2017
    A children's author short-listed for the Governor General's Award, Pendziwol goes adult with the story of Elizabeth, confined to a retirement home and struggling with fading eyesight, who gets help going through her father's journals from a mouthy teenager performing community service at the home. With a 35,000-copy first printing; rights sold to 11 countries.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • New York Post, “This Week’s Must-Reads” "Morgan Fletcher is performing community service at the senior center, penance for tagging it with graffiti art. She's matched up with Elizabeth Livingstone, an elderly woman whose mind is still sharp, even though her eyesight has failed her. Elizabeth has just been sent some journals belonging to her late father, but she needs Morgan's help to read them. As Elizabeth uncovers details from her past with each page, Morgan becomes more determined to solve the mysteries in her own life."
  • Heather Young, author of THE LOST GIRLS "Jean Pendziwol's beautifully written novel captured me from the very first page. Its descriptions of the windswept lightkeeper's station of Elizabeth's and Emily's youth are so crisply rendered I felt I was standing on its shores watching the great ships cross the stormy waters of Lake Superior. Even more than its vivid evocation of a unique time and place, THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTERS is a sensitive and moving examination of the nature of identity, the importance of family, and the possibility of second chances."
  • Michelle Richmond, author of The Year of Fog and The Marriage Pact "The past and present collide with stunning force in The Lightkeeper's Daughters, Jean E. Pendizwol's not-to-be-missed debut. When a troubled teen named Morgan meets the mercurial Elizabeth in a nursing home, it seems they have nothing in common. But Morgan soon finds echoes of her own past within the pages of Elizabeth's father's diary, echoes that the two must trace to discover the secrets of their shared past. Set against the richly evoked landscape of Lake Superior, The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a novel about memory, about the inexorable forces of place, and, above all, about family."
  • Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride "Lake Superior may not give up its dead, but it does eventually give up the secret that lies at the heart of this compelling and fascinating novel by Jean Pendziwol. The Lightkeeper's Daughters is a splendid feat of storytelling that held me happily spellbound from the opening pages to the satisfying final sentence."
  • Coastal Living, “50 Best Books for the Beach This Summer” "An elderly woman and a delinquent teen form an unlikely bond as they uncover the journal entries of a man who oversaw a remote Lake Superior lighthouse nearly a century before."
  • Kirkus Reviews "An intricately satisfying story about love and deception that manages to be both melancholy and exhilarating. A haunting tale of nostalgia and lost chances that is full of last-minute surprises."
  • Publishers Weekly "This is a perfect hammock read for those who love the Brontë sisters and Jodi Picoult in equal measure."
  • New York Journal of Books A remarkable achievement . . . a story of commitment, identity, and familial loyalty that will leave one in tears. Five out of five stars."
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram "An elegant adult fiction debut."
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