‘From Cork to Rhode Island, can a young Irish girl find home…and herself?’
How excited am I to have an EXCLUSIVE extract from The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter for you all today. It is the latest book from the wonderful writer that is Hazel Gaynor and it’s a doubly exciting reveal for me as it’s the very important Cork bit 🙂
Published with Harper Collins on the 6th September, it is described as ‘a sweeping historical novel inspired by the astonishing true story of a remarkable woman.’
I am so looking forward to starting this book during the week and will bring you all my review soon, hopefully next week!
Please do continue reading for all the details, including THAT extract..
About The Book:
1838: Northumberland, England. Grace Darling enjoys her quiet island life at Longstone Lighthouse, at one with nature and the wild sea breezes. But her solitude is interrupted when she and her father rescue survivors of a shipwreck in a furious storm and Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, a heroine of her time. As her renown grows, so does her friendship with George Emmerson, an artist visiting the lighthouse. As George captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart, but as the accounts of her heroism escalate, Grace wonders if she has the courage to endure the relentless glare of fame.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson arrives in America in disgrace, sent from her home in Ireland to stay with Harriet Flaherty, a reclusive relative and keeper at Rose Island lighthouse. When a discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s past, she sets out to discover the connection between a Victorian heroine and her own family. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be forever linked by their instinctive acts of bravery and love.
Inspired by true events, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a sweeping historical novel that explores how our past shapes our present, and what it truly means to be courageous.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter ~ Hazel Gaynor
Cobh, Ireland. May 1938
They call it Heartbreak Pier, the place from where I will leave Ireland. From the upper balcony of the ticket office I watch the Third Class passengers sobbing on the cobbles below as they say their emotional goodbyes, but I feel nothing. I’ve done all my crying, all my pleading and protesting. All I am left with is a sullen resignation to whatever fate has in store for me on the other side of the Atlantic. I hardly care anymore.
I fidget and fuss as we wait to board the tenders, tugging at the buttons on my gloves, checking my watch, spinning and turning the cameo locket at my neck, much to my mother’s irritation.
‘Stop fiddling, Matilda,’ she snips, her pinched lips a pale violet in the cool morning air. ‘You’re making me anxious.’
I spin the locket again. ‘And you’re making me go to America.’ She glares at me, colour rushing to her neck in a deep flush of anger, her jaw clenching and straining as she bites back a withering response. ‘I can fiddle as much as I like when I get there,’ I add, pushing and provoking. ‘You won’t know what I’m doing. Or who with.’
‘Whom with,’ she corrects, turning her face away with an exaggerated sniff, swallowing her exasperation and fixing her gaze on the unfortunates below. The cloying scent of violet water seeps from the exposed paper-thin skin at her wrists. It gives me a headache.
Bored of waiting, my thoughts return to the locket, a christening gift passed down to me from a great aunt and from my great-great-granny Sarah before her. I’d spent many happy hours as a child, opening and closing the delicate filigree clasp, making up stories about the miniature people captured in the portraits inside. Portraits which, I now know, were drawn by my great-great-uncle, George Emmerson: one, a self-portrait; the other, a young woman beside a lighthouse. To a bored little girl left to play alone in the draughty rooms of our grand country home, these tiny people offered a tantalising glimpse of a time when I imagined everyone had a happy ever after. With the more cynical gaze of adulthood, I now presume the locket peoples’ lives were as dull and restricted as mine. Or as dull and restricted as mine was until half a bottle of whiskey and a misjudged evening with a soldier from the local garrison changed everything and led to me standing here, waiting to board a ship to New York.
The doctor tells me I am four months gone. The remaining five, I am to spend under the pretence of an impromptu holiday with a reclusive relative, Harriet Flaherty, who keeps a lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island. An ideal hiding place for the local politician’s daughter who finds herself in the scandalous situation of being unmarried and pregnant.
At one o’clock precisely, the stewards direct us to board the tenders that will take us out to the S.S. California, moored on the other side of Spike Island to avoid the mud banks in Cork harbour. As I step forward, Mother grasps my hand dramatically and presses a lace handkerchief to her paper dry cheeks.
‘Write as soon as you arrive, Matilda, darling. Promise you’ll write.’ It is a perfectly stage-managed display of emotion, performed for the benefit of those nearby who must remain convinced of the charade of my American holiday. ‘And do take care.’
I pull my hand sharply away and bid her goodbye, never having meant the words more. She has made her feelings perfectly clear. Whatever is waiting for me across the pond, I will face it alone. I wrap my fingers instinctively around the locket and focus of the inscription engraved on the back: For what is courage without fear?
However well I might hide it, I have never been more afraid in my life.
Purchase Link ~ The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
Hazel Gaynor is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning historical novelist, who lives in County Kildare, Ireland with her husband and two children.
Her 2014 debut historical novel The Girl Who Came Home—A Novel of the Titanic hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and went on to win the 2015 Historical Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association in London.
Her second novel A Memory of Violets, was also a New York Times bestseller, and her third, The Girl from The Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail bestseller, and finalist for the 2016 Irish Book Awards.
Her releases in 2017 – The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) both hit the Canadian Globe & Mail bestseller list.
In autumn 2018, Hazel will release The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, a novel inspired by the true events surrounding the life of Victorian lighthouse keeper, Grace Darling.
Summer 2019 will see the publication of Meet Me In Monaco, her second collaboration with Heather Webb, and which is set against the back-drop of the iconic wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier.
All Hazel’s novels have been received to critical-acclaim and have been translated into eight foreign languages to date.
Website ~ https://www.hazelgaynor.com/
Twitter ~ @HazelGaynor