Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Light Keeper’s Daughter” by Jean E. Pendziwol


Rating:  5/5

Genre: Historical fiction


(From Goodreads) 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—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father’s journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, 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 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 hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.


I never saw the ending coming, I’ll tell you that much! For me, this was the kind of book where you stop and see how much you have left, and then think to yourself “the main mystery here is practically solved…how many more pages does it take to reach a final happy ending?” I was so wrong when I did this little check, because “The Light Keeper’s Daughter” was just packed with curve balls.

The setting was well-written, and the detail and care that Jean put into painting a beautiful picture of Porphyry Island is stunning, and it literally felt like I was on it the entire time.

My favourite character was Morgan, and I’ve literally never had as much swearing in a book compared to “The Light Keeper’s Daughter.” It was refreshing, and duh, I love it. The stark contrast between Morgan and Elizabeth was hilarious; a young, troubled teenager with no filter VS the old, blind woman with intelligence and culture. It was great! The way they interacted was awesome, and it was more of a therapeutic friendship, because they both needed an ear to listen to.

I find that the situation Elizabeth and Emily had to endure was so infuriating that I struggled to keep going at times. I literally had to reread certain parts of the book, because I was just positive that what I had just read was wrong. I really cannot justify the actions of hateful characters, and I’m glad they got what they deserved.

What I took away from this book the most is to not judge anyone by their actions, appearance, or age. I mean, I already know that, but this book is a real eye-opener. At first, Morgan was really skeptical of Elizabeth’s functional and mental capacities, but her initial perceptions turned out to be wrong, and she ended up learning more during their weeks together than the government system ever did for her. For Elizabeth, she’s the beacon of comfort and knowledge, and she knew from the beginning that Morgan was special (thanks to a little help from Marty).

Overall, I think fans of “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and similar titles will really enjoy this book, and appreciate all the characters and just the story itself.






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