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The Lighthouse by Fran Dorricott - Review

Friday, April 15, 2022

I got this book on Netgalley, so thank you very much to Avon Books for granting me access to it. I received a free electronic copy of the book for review purposes, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own. 

I haven't heard of this author before, but the premise of the book intrigued me. I would read something else by the author, as I found the book pretty good, if a little predictable in parts. It's a pretty standard thriller but there are some genuinely chilling parts. I had to stop reading at one point as I was alone in the house and got too scared!

A group of six friends are heading to a remote Scottish island for a weekend. Kira is a photographer and has been asked to photograph the new accomadation on Ora. There is a lighthouse and adjoining cottage, which have been recently renovated. She takes along her friends - Moira and Jess, a couple who have a small daughter, James, Lukas and Genevieve. James, Moira, Jess, and Lukas met when they started uni; Kira joined them in the third year when she started going out with Lukas. The five were very firm friends, but a few years ago Kira and Lukas split up, acrimoniously. Genevieve is Lukas' new girlfriend and Kira is dreading meeting her. The six are taken to the island in a small boat, which will return on Monday to pick them up, but should make a couple of trips in the meantime too. 

The six disembark and take all their supplies up the slope towards the lighthouse. They all love the accomadation - the cottage has nice bedrooms and a small kitchen, but the real wow is saved for the lighthouse, where there is a big entertaining space and sunroom, and the lighthouse rooms themselves. They explore to the top, where the lamp is, but find that one room on the first floor is locked. Then Jess decides to cook, and discovers that a bottle of wine is missing. It's later found, outside, empty. 

The six eat, and start to drink, and later decide to go down on to the beach. They think about building a fire, and James goes back to find matches. He doesn't return. The other five spend hours looking for him, finding an abandoned shack further up the island. They have no phone signal, and are considering trying to get the coastguard or otherwise, but eventually return to the cottage, where they find James. He is clearly shaken, but won't tell them where he's been or what happened. 

Weird things carry on happening, but there's plenty of tension within the group too. Moira and Jess are finding it hard to be away from their daughter, and keep coming up against each other. James seems withdrawn. Kira has issues with him and with Lukas, and is quick to judge Genevieve because she is Lukas' new girlfriend. Genevieve is trying hard to fit in with the group, but she's got to work with over ten years if history between them. The novel is told from the points of view of Kira, Genevieve and Moira, in turn, and each of them thinks that either Lukas or James may be playing pranks. 

But are they really alone on the island? And if they're not, are the others real, or paranormal? I liked the scary things, they were well written. I did think some of the interactions between the six didn't always ring true - sometimes someone would be really angry and would then quickly lose it, for example. I did like it though, and I'm giving it four out of five. 

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