Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman

Pages: 432
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 9, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From the author of Wildflower Hill, this breathtaking novel travels more than a century between two love stories set in the Australian seaside town of Lighthouse Bay. In 1901, a ship sinks off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The only survivor is Isabella Winterbourne, who clutches a priceless gift meant for the Australian Parliament. This gift could be her ticket to a new life, free from the bonds of her husband and his overbearing family. But whom can she trust in Lighthouse Bay? Fast-forward to 2011: after losing her lover, Libby Slater leaves her life in Paris to return to her hometown of Lighthouse Bay, hoping to gain some perspective and grieve her recent loss. Libby also attempts to reconcile with her sister, Juliet, to whom she hasn’t spoken in twenty years. Libby did something so unforgivable, Juliet is unsure if she can ever trust her sister again. In these two adventurous love stories, both Isabella and Libby must learn that letting go of the past is the only way to move into the future. The answers they seek lie in Lighthouse Bay."

Isabella Winterbourne is on a sea voyage from England to Australia and the year is 1901.  She has been struggling emotionally for a few years after the unexpected death of her infant son, Daniel.  Her husband, Arthur, and his family never let her fully grieve for him and even had his funeral without her.  They are on this trip to Australia to accompany a piece of very valuable jewelry for the Austrilian parliament.  Arthur's family are famous jewelers and he insists on traveling with the invaluable item; however, things take a turn for the worse when their ship encounters a dangerous storm.  As a result of the storm, the boat sinks off the Australian coast. There's only one survivor: Isabella. 100 years later, Libby Slater, is also in a bad place.  Her married lover, Mark, has unexpectedly died and as a result she leaves her job in London and returns home to Australia.  Mark bought her the cottage next to a lighthouse and it is here that she tries to start over.  Her sister, Juliet, lives nearby and she hasn't spoken to her in twenty years due to something tragic that occurred many years ago.  Libby is trying to start over, but she finds there is a link to her and the Winterbournes as Arthur is Mark's great-grandnephew.  Kimberly Freeman's Lighthouse Bay is a tale about two women who live many years apart, but have more in common then they think set all on the backdrop of  the beautiful coastline of Australia.

I found Isabella's story to be more intriguing than Libby's in Lighthouse Bay.  I was dying to find out how Isabella would start over and avoid the Winterbourne family after the shipwreck.  I was a fan of Isabella immediately and Freeman did a great job making Arthur's family seem horrific, especially regarding their treatment of Isabella. How could you not root for her?  Libby, on the other hand, was an interesting character, but I found myself wondering more about Isabella during her sections of the novel.  I did like trying to figure out what happened between Juliet and Libby many years ago and why they are estranged. Loves of romance, be forewarned: The focus of Lighthouse Bay isn't exactly all about the love; however, its focus is more on these two women's journeys, starting fresh and ultimately, moving on with their lives.

Lighthouse Bay would make for a great beach read due to Freeman's beautiful descriptions of the Austrialian coastline. I must say this was my favorite part. I've never been to Australia, but I have been dying to go.  Freeman made me feel like I was there. 

I like how Freeman effortlessly weaved a tale that incorporates both women's stories in Lighthouse Bay.  Freeman does a fantastic job jumping between the two tales and the many years that span them. When some authors use this technique, it can be rather cumbersome and jarring, but this was not the case in Lighthouse Bay.

So, if you are looking for a beach read that involves historical fiction, a gorgeous setting, a mystery and family secrets, then check out Lighthouse Bay this summer.  


  1. I preferred the parts of the book devoted to Isabella's story too. I just found it more compelling. I also enjoyed the descriptions and I agree that this would make a good beach read!

    1. I agree....she was my favorite character. I loved the descriptions of Australia. I would love to go there someday. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Ah, I love books like this that skip between the ages - Kate Morton does this in her books and I'm a big fan! This one sounds like another great summer read! :)

    1. Good point! I love Kate Morton and they are very similar--you are right! It definitely makes for a good beach read. Thanks for dropping by, Leanna

  3. Oh, this really does sound like a wonderful summer read, and I've never heard of it before, so thank you! I think that Isabella sounds like an intriguing character, and with a backdrop like that and a setting/premise that strong, how could I not want to read it? Wonderful review, Christina! :)

    1. Isabella is an awesome character and the setting is to-die-for. Thanks for visiting, Melissa.


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