Robin F. (Tucson, AZ)
The Woman at the Light
Emily Lowry's life changed forever on Wrecker's Cay when her husband failed to return to the lighthouse. Emily took over the lighthouse duties, tended to the 3 children and, one day, when a runaway slave washed up on the beach, everything changed yet again. This is almost a historical novel, but it's truly about Emily, her courage and strengths. Joanna Brady, the author won the Key West Writers Award in 2009 for this book. It is well deserved. I hope she is writing another book. I can hardly wait to read it!
Patricia D. (Woodland Hills, CA)
History and Women at Their Best!
This book will be one of my favorites for this year! Historically, it is around the mid-1800s and the U.S. has acquired Florida as a new territory. The Keys are being settled and New Orleans is at its social peak. Emily and Martin, recently married, move to Key West and then are assigned to man the lighthouse at the tip of the Keys on Wreckers' Cay. When Martin suddenly disappears, Emily and her children take on this difficult job of lighthouse keeper. The story is both intriguing and suspenseful when Andrew, an escaped slave, washes up on the island. Having to keep Andrew a secret since he is a runaway, becomes even harder when a romance develops with Emily. This story revolves around how women are looked upon during this period, racial tensions, and hurricane disasters. This memoir of Emily's life is one that will definitely leave an impression on the reader both because of the story and the research Brady completed.
Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL)
Survival in the Keys
The Woman at the Light, by Joanna Brady, is the warm, compelling story of Emily Lowry. It mainly takes you to (ficticious) Wreckers Cay in South FLorida in the 1800's. From class and money in New Orleans, she becomes a wife and mother, a lighthouse keeper, a boardinghouse cook etc. and survives. A relationship with a slave causes great difficulties. There is a lot of history here in the Keys, including the dangers of boats transporting goods, and slaves through the shallow channels and also dealing with the Seminole Indians.
The cover of the book seems to convey peace and beauty with the famous sunset. The story is anything but.
It's a women's book for all ages. Emily is someone we can all admire. She is intelligent and resourceful and you have to admire her.
It reminds me of another new book, Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster where the heroine controls her own fate.
Eloise F. (Poway, CA)
Something different for pre-Civil War fiction
This is a refreshingly different work of historical fiction about the pre-Civil War era in the south. The lighthouses and the shipwrecks, the power of the rich and the vulnerability of the poor, combined in a believable and educational story. A good and worthwhile read.
Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
Summer's Perfect Storm...
What is sitting on the beach, time on your hands, reading glasses in place, lathered up with sunscreen and a good book to read? Ah summer! It is the best of times when all of these things, especially the good book, come together at once…a perfect storm scenario without the storm. Woman at the Light is an integral part of this summers’ perfect storm. Joanna Brady has written an evenly paced, historical fiction romance that could result in sunburn if you don’t have that sunscreen. You won’t want to put it down until you have read the last page. In 1829, Emily, a young Southern bell from New Orleans becomes infatuated with a handsome “wrecker,” men who salvage cargo from shipwrecks along the coast of the Florida Keys. Based loosely on the lives of women who assumed the duties of lighthouse keeping after their husbands died or disappeared, Emily endures everything the natural world can throw at her along with having to navigate the social mores of the pre-Civil War era in the deep South. Brady has just the right blend of history, romance and reality to make a week end at the beach fulfilling as well as frivolous. Perfect…
Joan C. (Warwick, RI)
The Woman at the Light
What a great story! Joanna Brady put everything a reader of historical fiction could ask for into this novel - romance, adventure mystery and family with all its joys and trials. The book not only offers an interesting history of Key West (all I knew about Key West was it was located in Florida and Ernest Hemingway lived there and loved it). The book is also an education. Who knew women like Brady's heroine were keepers of these buildings and how important they are to the Florida ocean. The prose is wonderful as it flows along just like a the story does. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Yvette T. (Boca Raton, FL)
The Woman at the Light
I absolutely loved this page-turner and have already recommended it to friends. The author did an admirable job of integrating an intricate plot with the history of Key West; lighthouse keepers in the Keys; and, to a lesser, but interesting extent, Havana in the mid-19th century. Her main characters were well-fleshed out. I finished the book in two days and am still thinking about it, which is one of my criteria in giving the highest recommendation for a novel (e.g., The Kitchen House). Brady’s thorough research was obviously an integral part in providing a realistic setting. If you want a mesmerizing love story, you’ll find it here! I look forward to what I hope is a long career for Joanna Brady.