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Publisher's Summary

As recommended by the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

They say we'll never know what happened to those men. They say the sea keeps its secrets....

Cornwall, 1972. Three lighthouse keepers vanish from a remote rock, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The principal keeper's weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface....

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters, by Emma Stone is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

©2021 Emma Stonex (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A mystery, a love story and a ghost story, all at once. I didn’t want it to end." (S. J. Watson)

What listeners say about The Lamplighters

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Earnest
  • 18-04-21

Beautifully written.

Very refreshing to be a witness to a version of life events that may have happened that are lyrically written, embed the related experience of women and children coping with “men’s work,” and avoid the hyper brutal version more recent films have taken.
The fact that the language used is so vibrant and engaging..more painterly, than not, is a bountiful bonus.

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  • Kimberly G9
  • 29-03-21

Best narration EVER

This book was exceptional, and my review follows. The narration was, quite possibly, the best I've ever heard. The accents, the emotion (or lack there of), the power of the execution kept me glued to this audiobook. I don't normally write reviews of audiobooks but The Lamplighters demanded I write this as I was so impressed by the gifted delivery from Tom Burke and Indira Varma. The perfect casting for this heartrendingly gritty, bittersweet novel. Thank you for a great book and exemplary narration.

My book review: This raw and gripping novel had me enthralled to know what happened to the three lighthouse keepers in a fictionalized account based loosely on real life events of the early 1900s. How could three keepers vanish without a trace leaving the tower locked from within and a troubling trail of breadcrumb clues for all to ponder over after they have been labelled missing?

Unflinchingly personal, painful and reflective the thoughtful musings of Arthur, Bill and Vince, in the seventies just before they disappeared, added to the sense of mystery surrounding their fate. Twenty years later the women they left behind are approached by a writer keen to solve the mystery. Each woman has her own pains and struggles with what transpired years before and knows more than she may wish to impart.

The dynamic, poetic writing was as hypnotic as a siren's song. I could not put The Lamplighters down. Filled with heavy emotion and a deep love and respect for the sea, there is a darkness lurking in the shadows unwilling to part with its troubling truth. Quite possibly one of the most gripping books I've read in a while. I was completely enveloped by this narrative and there in the claustrophobic tower with PK and his crew. Spellbinding and creepy, heartbreaking and yet hopeful, too? Magical storytelling, honestly.

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  • Leah
  • 06-04-21

The best audio book I've listened to so far!

This book fascinated me in so many ways.

Firstly, the mystery. Three lighthouse keepers vanish without a trace. The lighthouse is miles from the shore so it's fair to assume that they were all taken by the sea. However, the entrance door to the lighthouse is locked from the inside, the two clocks inside have stopped on the same time and the table has been layed for only two people. It's a riddle that reels you in from the beginning and lingers in your mind throughout the book. What makes it even more compelling is that it is inspired by a true story, three keepers did mysteriously vanish from the Eilean Mor lighthouse in 1990. Stonex has loosely based her story on this real event, shifting the location to Cornwall and the time to 1972.

The puzzle of the missing men isn't all that this book has to offer though. The story is very much about the people - the relationships between the three keepers and the relationships between them and their loved ones on shore. The mental challenges that they all face due to the nature of the men's job.

The writing is beautiful and it felt so original to me, unlike anything I've read before. I loved the monologue chapters and felt that it was a very clever way of bringing the characters to life. I was just as interested in the characters and the remote lighthouse as I was in the mystery - everything captivated me equally.

I can highly recommend the audio book! I think the narrators did an incredible job (so far the best audio book I've tried). I'm not one to re-read books, even if I loved them but I do think I will play this audio book again in the future. I also wouldn't be surprised if I end up buying the paperback version too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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  • S. Champeau
  • 24-03-21

Beautiful and heartbreaking

First, I have to acknowledge the great readings of Tom Burke and Indira Varma who, once again prove how talented they are and gave life so beautifully to these characters. The story was such a heartfelt tale about solitude, loss, friendship, life on these remote lighthouse than you cannot not feel something when finishing this book. A beautiful story of human nature and great tale of the unique life of these people who lived remotely in those places.

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  • Laura
  • 17-03-21

A beautiful book with the pulse of a thriller

This is a gorgeous book - lyrical and emotional in its depiction of a small group of people damaged by grief and by an unresolved mystery, with their secrets and the solution to that mystery slowly revealed. Beautifully narrated, with deft touches revealing whole hinterlands to the characters, while the unravelling of the plot grips like a thriller.

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  • Dog Walker Sussex
  • 15-03-21

wonderful from start to finish

What an incredible book , one of the very best I've listened to. it was so beautifully written and narrators both superb . A winning combination.

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  • FreebieBean
  • 15-03-21

Really Interesting Story

When this book first started I didn't think it was going to be for me, but I kept going and actually really enjoyed it.
It was well narrated by Indira Varma and Tom Burke and the characters were flawed, well rounded and totally believable.
A really interesting, informative 'whodunnit' which kept me on my toes until the end.

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  • Eva Davison
  • 31-03-21

I couldn't stop listening.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. The performances of the readers were excellent. couldn't stop listening. Not too sure about the ending but that could just be me, as I often feel that way about books I've read. I like books to be believable but in real life stories never really end.

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  • Linda Feehan
  • 29-03-21

Very poor

i didn't enjoy The Lamplighters. it was my first audio book and i was very disappointed. It was far too wordy and terribly slow. The narrator's voice could be hard to listen to. i found myself drifting off to sleep several times during it. All in all I found it a very boring book.

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  • Dexlovesol
  • 15-03-21

Superb - atmospheric and compelling

This novel has a fascinating subject and tells the story through its credible characters. There is a mystery at its heart but that is secondary to the deep rooted secrets of those involved. The narrators are simply top notch. Indira Varma in particular needs to read more books please!

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  • Mrs. C. A. Robertson
  • 13-03-21

intriguing and unexpectedly beautiful

First audible book, excellently read making the characters really become real.
The story was unexpected, but very poignant and truly character driven. Highly enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful