The Lighthouse Road
By Peter Geye
(Unbridled Books, Hardcover, 9781609530846, October 2012, 293pp.)
The Short of It:
Geye has hit it out of the park again.
The Rest of It:
The story begins in the late 1890’s at a Minnesota logging camp. Thea Eide, an immigrant from Norway lands herself a position as a cook and after being raped by a visitor of the camp, finds herself pregnant with few prospects for raising the child. Hosea Grimm, who runs the apothecary and functions as the village doctor, gives her a place to stay and promises to help her with the child. Rebekah Grimm, also “saved” by Hosea some years before, becomes attached to Thea and later to her son, Odd Einar.
Twenty years later, Odd is a young craftsman making his living building fine fishing vessels. Having known Rebekah all of his life, the two share an unusual bond; one that takes a romantic turn which forces them to consider life outside of the village. What begins as an adventure, quickly settles into worry for Rebekah as she begins to doubt the decisions she’s made.
A couple of years ago I read Safe from the Sea and was amazed, overwhelmed and touched by its beauty. Geye’s sense of place was remarkable and the ease with which he told the story, stayed with me for a very long time.
In his new book, Geye’s sense of place is still present as he takes us back and forth through time, weaving in and out of the narrative as nimbly as if he’s been doing it all his life. These characters struggle with place in the form of setting but also within themselves. Rebekah’s previous life shapes who she is and although she left her previous life behind, not all was left behind.
Hosea Grimm’s goodness is marked by something a bit darker and he too is not all that he appears to be. These characters are flawed by previous experiences or lack thereof and it makes for wonderful reading. This is a quiet, reflective type of read but it has some surprises too. It’s the type of book that you settle in with after a long day at work. That’s how I enjoyed it anyway!
If you haven’t read any of his books, you really must. Simple stories, well told with beautiful writing. I’ve been a fan since Safe from the Sea and he did not disappoint with this one.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.
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