Lighthouse Keepers in Early Florida
By Joanna Brady
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99, 335 pages
In the early 1800s in Florida, lighthouses were normally manned by men, sometimes a man and his wife, or occasionally by a family, but the man was always in charge. He was the one who was paid for the work. In this story of a lighthouse in the Florida Keys, the man of the family caring for the lighthouse vanishes, and his wife decides to stay and work in his place with only the help of her young children.
Author Joanna Brady portrays The Woman At the Light as a very courageous woman who encounters heartbreak and betrayal from virtually all sides during her time as the lighthouse keeper. All the characters in the story are portrayed with intensity, and it can make for uncomfortable reading at some points. Have a tissue handy. In the end, though, and until the end of the woman’s life, all becomes right in beautiful and surprising ways. I recommend this book, which encompasses a rather novel situation, as an intense reading experience in early American history.
Reviewed by Rosalie West
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