Friday, November 25, 2011

The Secret of Lighthouse Pointe by Patty G. Henderson

Publisher:       Black Car Publishing

Constance Beechum is in an unenviable position.  She is single and penniless in a time when a woman without any prospects has little hope of respectability.  A letter arrives from her uncle offering her a position as a nurse/companion to Lady Elizabeth Gerard and Constance has no choice but to accept even though she has no experience at doing either.  The trip to Castine, Maine, is dark and spooky, but not nearly as spooky as Edward and Roger Gerard and Edward's wife Catherine.  Constance devotes herself to making Lady Gerard's last days as comfortable as possible, something which doesn't appear to interest her family, but does appeal to the mysterious George Kane.  Constance uncovers a mystery about "Mr." Kane and together they try to battle the evil which seems to be about to engulf them.

Patty G. Henderson has reached into the style of the Gothic novel to tell her story.  She captures many of the most common traits – a brooding old house with secret rooms, a damsel in distress from a tyrannical male, an upstanding hero, supernatural or mysterious events and a heightened sense of emotionalism.  People who read this book have to approach it with an understanding that Gothic is a very particular style requiring characters and the scenery to behave in certain patterns.  What might appear to be stilted or overblown to the modern reader is part of the format that has to be followed.  The characters are somewhat flat, but that could be because they are written according to a template.

Classifying this book for a modern reader is difficult.  Though the main character is lesbian, there isn't a typical "romance" that many require.  The atmosphere is bleak and looming, but the "mystery" never is very mysterious since the answer is apparent almost from the beginning.  Most of the book is predictable from the early chapters.  Followers of Gothic literature will probably find it more satisfying than most typical readers.   However, if the reader is looking for something different and an entertaining story, The Secret of Lighthouse Pointe will do fine.

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