The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke–ATLP Book Review

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The Lighthouse Witches book cover

THE STATS

  • 343 pages
  • Horror
  • Scotland
  • Witches
  • Outlander Vibes
  • Missing Children
  • Recommended by Simone St. James and Alice Feeney

SYNOPSIS

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke is a unique horror novel that follows twenty-two year old, Luna. Luna is living in England, in a place that she shares with her recently separated partner. They’re expecting a child and her partner is ready to settle down, but Luna can’t quite seem to get over her past.

When Luna was young, her mother, Liv, and her two sisters, Clover, and Sapphire, moved to a small Scottish Island for a few months while Liv was commissioned to paint a mural in a lighthouse. What was supposed to be an escape (after a family death) turned into a nightmare. Liv believes the lighthouse is haunted by the history of the women that were imprisoned below it, the daughters go missing, and strange children seem to haunt the property. Locals warn the family about wildlings, supernatural beings that mimic human children, but Liv has a hard time believing that children could be so sinister.

Years later, Luna has yet to solve the mystery of what happened to her family–That is, until she gets a phone call that her youngest sister, Clover, has been found. She’s ecstatic, until she actually sees Clover and discovers that Clover is still seven years old–the same age she was when she vanished. In The Lighthouse Witches, Luna will have to confront her past to rediscover the mystery of the wildlings, her few memories from the island, and the truth of what really happened to her family.


What I Liked

  • LOVED the Scottish setting. Lon Haven is actually a place C.J. Cooke made up, but it feels so real. Cooke did a fantastic job with the elements of the setting for this one.
  • Luna’s character was so realistic. As someone who is close to Luna’s age, I think I would have reacted very similarly.
  • The ending was somewhat predictable, but Liv’s place in the story is not. If you haven’t read this one yet, keep your eye on her!

What I Didn’t Like

  • The ending was pretty easy to guess from about a quarter of the way in (at least for me)
  • The book wasn’t quite as scary as I would have liked!
  • I think this book had the perfect opportunity for some 1998 nostalgia and there wasn’t as many cultural references as there could have been
  • The change of perspective changing the tense was very weird for me.

REVIEW

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Oooh, guys I really loved this one.

It’s no secret that I’ve been loving Horror novels lately and The Lighthouse Witches was just IT for me. This book blends the past with the present and then sprinkles a little history into it, too. We’ve got lighthouses, witches, missing children, ghosts, and some very sus neighborhood characters—i.e. all the elements to create the perfect horror blend. Then, there’s the Scottish Island setting, too, which just adds that extra level of creepy that this book needed *chefs kiss.*

This is the first book I have ever picked up by C.J. Cooke and I’m glad that I did. In fact, after reading this book, I searched the entire internet to find her latest book, The Ghost Woods (newsflash, you have to order it from the UK. So far Book Depository is the only place I’ve been able to find it) and I’m patiently chewing my fingernails waiting for my mailman to drop it off.

There were a lot of things I loved about this book, but I think my favorite aspect of The Lighthouse Witches was how easy it was for me to connect with Luna. Right off the bat, I was drawn in by C.J. Cooke’s writing and I absolutely loved the passages where Luna tries to figure out what to do with Clover–I felt like it was so indicative of what a normal person would do in that situation. I didn’t necessarily connect with Sapphire or Liv’s passages as much as Luna’s, but having their perspectives did add an element that this story needed.

I breezed through this book and I do think that there are some things that I would have liked to see more of (which is why I didn’t rate this a full four stars). I think there were a few elements that felt too thrown together–for example, I think the aspects of Patrick and Liv’s story, Finn and Liv’s story, then Sapphire’s love triangle, then also the wildlings and the neighborhood watch ladies thing—it was all a bit much when you think about it. I’m not sure the story needed all the different elements, especially when Cooke gives us so many clues to the book’s ending early on. We don’t necessarily need these extra threads, though I’m sure it does add an extra level of entertainment to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it might be one of my favorites I’ve read this year. It was completely unexpected but in a way I absolutely loved, so I highly recommend picking up a copy if you enjoy this genre. Plus, it took like the rights to it have just been picked up, so it might be made into a tv adaptation soon!!


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