Cover Image: The Lighthouse Witches

The Lighthouse Witches

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a very very interesting read, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the amazing unique plot. Definitely would recommend it!!
Was this review helpful?
A brilliantly atmospheric and yet emotional creepy read.
Following a single mum and her three daughters as strange things begin to happen in their remote new home.

This was a great read, especially over a rainy autumn night.
Was this review helpful?
In 1998 Liv takes her 3 daughters to a remote Scottish island after accepting a commission to paint a mural at an old lighthouse called the Longing. It isn't what she expects, she meets superstition and folklore and tales of witches and curses. 

Years later in 2021 Luna is still confused about the disappearance of her mother Liv and her sisters. A call from a social worker saying her sister clover has been found alive and well brings relief and more mystery. As Clover is still seven years old, the age she was when she disappeared in 1998. 

There's a lot going on in this - the history of the island and the witches, the very wicker Man type of locals, the runes and folklore aspect and then what should be the relatively simple relationships between all the characters. However mix in suspicion, teen angst, mistrust and  secrets and what you get is something a bit more complex and interesting. Are the mysterious children who appear wildlings? Some sort of Fae changeling? Is the island cursed by the witches who died there?  Gets an extra star for being clever
Was this review helpful?
I do love a gothic mystery, and this definitely hit the spot on that front! Add in the witches link, and lots of mysterious goings on and it made for a really entertaining and engrossing read - even if it did end up falling a little flat towards the end!

It's a story told over a number of years and from different views, so it does keep you on your toes keeping up with what is going on, but at the heart of the story are the disappearance of young girls and the terror that brings to the local area.

Liv is drawn to the area with her 3 daughters, desperate for a new start and doesn't like to believe in the local gossip of strange goings on. But things start to happen that has a big impact on all of them! And when Luna, one of her daughters is drawn back to the area 20 years later, the story begins where it left off, with the reappearance of one of her sisters who has been missing... except she is exactly the same age now as she was when she disappeared. There's a lot to be explored and it's a murky, strange world she now finds herself involved with as she delves deeper into the magic and folklore.

This was an enjoyable and mysterious story and I loved the witchy aspect mixed in with the folklore!
Was this review helpful?
Cooke seems to have found a sweet spot with modern takes on stories from days of yore. Although that feels like it sells the concept short. This is more than a modern retelling of a story we all know well, it's a clever weaving of those stories into our modern world. In the case of "The Lighthouse Witches" our trip to the real past takes the form of a grimoire found and read by a teenager in the late 90s. The back story of the small island of Lon Haven. One with witch trials. And yes, we all know the general concept of witch trials with their burning stakes and suchlike, but it's fair to say Scottish witches have been underrepresented in our commonly known history. So although the witchy parts aren't exactly revelatory, they do have a slightly different flavour and accent than usual.

The witch background is just that though. The real story is split between 1998 and 2021. The early timeline sees a family turning on up Lon Haven, the later one sees one of the daughters, now a grown adult, unravelling during that fairly brief earlier period, a time that saw the rest of her family mysteriously disappear. And yes, the title does tell you very clearly that this isn't a police procedural with a Scooby-Doo style reveal at the end to debunk centuries of folklore. It's a story of witchcraft and unexplained, and unexplainable, phenomena. If you're hoping for the former walk away, if you enjoy the latter you've found a gem.

Something I enjoy about Cooke's writing in the books I've read so far is the simple details. Small lines that could easily be dismissed add a depth and reality to the whole affair and bring the magic to life. A mask to enter a hospital plants a stake firmly in the ground for the habits we've developed to show it really is 2021, but it never explicitly mentions what we all know that means. As the book ages so will that detail. It isn't a "book of the time" that leans on the world for the story and will feel awkward in a few years time, it's a subtle nod to something that we know makes it contemporary and relatable. Mentioning Facebook allows us that connection to a world we know and understand once more. It's modern without being faddy - you could read this in five years without having to look up a five-minute wonder overhyped app or meme that we've long forgotten. It's a good balance that allows the story to dip into the world of witches without fear of becoming self-parodying. The teen Wiccan, the superstitions, the long list of small details that very simply build a bridge between the folklore of wildlings and our modern world make it work.

The characters and story grow gently to fill your mind and offer up an intriguing story. There's not really a big reveal, a few aspects are nice twists and turns but the main story becomes obvious fairly quickly, but there is also a good feeling that the next page will tell you something more. And it does. You're pulled carefully along, as Cooke walks the fine line she's so good at. That tightrope of giving us the mysteries of old in a modern story. She asks for more suspension of disbelief than usual, and it's and her writing encourages the trust needed to do just that. A definite read for anyone who craves a good old fashioned story for the modern age.
Was this review helpful?
Thoroughly creepy and fiercely unputdownable, this tale of Scottish lore and it's effect on present day is the perfect book for anyone wanting a spooky evening in!
Was this review helpful?
THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES by C.J. Cooke is a thrilling page-turner steeped in gothic atmosphere. Set on a remote Scottish island, the setting of this book was a perfect backdrop for the unnerving story that unfolded throughout the book. There are three timelines threaded together throughout the book, which I did initially find confusing in the audiobook, however they came together in a very satisfying way once I'd finally worked out what was going on. I found the ending of this book incredibly bittersweet and emotional, and I couldn't have predicted where it was going to end. Every single theory I had throughout the story was absolutely wrong.

I found myself feeling genuinely on edge at several points throughout the book, and with storming winds outside I felt like I was following closely along with the characters as they tried to uncover the hidden history of the island. I loved Luna best, which meant I wasn't *super* invested in all the other POVs, but they were a really powerful way of telling each part of the story - and let me start furiously piecing together what was really going on in the book.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Liv is a single mom to three girls, who flees with her daughters to a remote island to paint an unusual mural in a lighthouse for commission. Unbeknown to Liv the island has a long and difficult history involving witches, curses and wildlings, that her family will soon become entangled in. 

The story is told over multiple timelines and different characters perspectives. I found the story quick paced, intriguing and found myself wanting to keep reading to see how the story would end.
Was this review helpful?
Three timelines, intertwined. Three sisters, two lost, and one returned. When Luna receives a call to say that one of her missing sisters has been found, she's ecstatic. Except Clover is still the same seven year old girl she was when she went missing 20 years ago. Luna must walk a murky path into the troublesome past of a remote Scottish island to uncover the truth behind what happened all those years ago. A past that involves witches, torture and death. 

This was brimming in atmosphere. From the wild and windy Scottish island and it's hostile inhabitants, to the disturbing past of the lighthouse, the reader knows straight from the get go that this is going to be a dark tale. The timeline of the past follows Liv and her three children as Liv struggles to control eldest daughter Saffy while keeping her head afloat with bills and life worries. There's a lot of fighting and squabbles that really add to this uneasy feeling that sweeps through the island. I liked Liv and found her relatable and realistic. She's by no means perfect, but she's trying to do her best and she wants to show her girls that she can be a good mother. Even if Saffy in particular can't see this. I could also see a lot of Liv in the present day Luna, who brims with a determination to uncover the truth in her own stubborn way. 

Gothic and cruel, with windy shores and bleak conversations about human nature, this is a perfect wintery read for those looking for atmosphere and witches.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review

Honestly, I put this book off for way too long because I am in love! I picked up the book based off of the cover (I know!) and the fact it had witches in the title. Little did I know this book would have so many more levels than I could ever imagine. I’m not one to read a thriller book, and I loved it. 

This story tells of some characters narrating from different time zones about their time on a Scottish island called Lòn haven. I’m trying to not give too much away as the story is very cleverly written with lots of interlinking. The story features Liv and her three daughters, Saff, Luna and Clover as they arrive on the island and Liv is tasked with painting a mutual in the lighthouse. Whilst there the family learns about the dark secrets and mysteries, witches and wildings that haunt the suspicious and cruel towns people. 

I love a witchy story but this one had so many more levels and so much more grounding in reality. The poignant message the story brings is still relevant now as it was back in the 1600s. The focus on the Scottish witch killings that are barely known about is, not only interesting, but also vital for those stories to be given a voice. I recently read A kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll and it also features this topic too. 

Honestly, this book is great and mirroring and interlinking of past and present and that ending! I am looking forward to reading more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the writting and the character building. There is enough clue spread throughout the book to guess what is happening, and some of the storyline are absolutely chilling and the author did a great job at creating a tense and frightening ambiance.
I was especting the ending to be way darker than it actually was, so I was a bit taken aback by it, but I still enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
The Lighthouse Witches is a mythological mystery that blends wildlings folklore, the witch trials, missing family and the power of time. The story is presented in three timelines with different POVs, but the short chapters and clear headings made it easy to read. I expected a supernatural element but the book went on an interesting and unexpected journey that feels fresh. 

While the story does seem far-fetched at times, I was invested in the mystery and how the timelines intersect. The characters experience growth and reconciliation. The book looks into how fast time moves and how little time we actually have through the themes of family, love, sacrifice and injustice. How the wildlings folklore is revealed, too, is effectively moving. The ending feels slightly too neat but it works. Overall, this would be perfect for readers who love mysteries, family drama, and the history of witches.
Was this review helpful?
I requested this on a bit of a whim – I hadn’t heard of the author, it was witching season, and there’s something a little enchanting about that cover. And, that definitely followed through in the book. This was a surprise five star book, it was a gorgeous blend of fairytale and folklore with contemporary fiction, with a small but powerful cast of characters all of whom I truly felt for.


There are three timelines. We start with 1998, when Liv arrives at a remote lighthouse in Scotland with her three daughters. She’s got an art commission to paint the lighthouse, and she’s running away from her life in England and dragging her daughters with her. Their arrival at the lighthouse is incredibly atmospheric, and it doesn’t let us from there.

While there, her eldest daughter Sapphire discovers an ancient diary – a grimoire – which dates back to the 1700s. Through excerpts from this we get an insight into the area’s murky history, complete with superstition, witch hunts and curses.

The final storyline is in 2021. It follows the middle sister, Luna. She’s been searching for her missing mother and sisters since events unfolded at the lighthouse. Until, she receives a call. They’ve found her younger sister, Clover. But there’s a catch. Clover is still seven years old – the same age as when she disappeared over 20 years ago.

And, I don’t want to say too much more on the plot itself, because it’s really one you should just lose yourself in. This was a truly atmospheric and enchanting read, where the author expertly weaves together multiple timelines and mysteries in a way that is utterly engrossing. There’s folklore and wildlings, dark superstitions and, of course, witches.

“A wild place with a Viking soul, Lon Haven\s violet and tragic history had clearly infected the minds of its inhabitants, creating beliefs deeply rooted in fear.”

The author paints a vivid, gothic picture, twisting through time, theories and superstitions, throwing in red herrings and just the right amount of creepiness. And, at the heart of it all, there’s an emotional family drama that brings it all together as a mother and her daughters try to find their way back to each other. A gorgeous read, around Halloween or any time of year.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this book knowing that it was a historical fiction based in Scotland and on the Witch Trials... I was not expecting to read what I did. The lighthouse Witches is the prefect October/November spooky read, it caught me so off guard of what I thought it would be. 

The Lighthouse witches has multiple timelines and povs that at the start can be a bit confusing but end up merging throughout the book that hooks you. This book was so captivating, with all the twists, it had me constantly guessing what happened to Luna and her family on The Longing, keeping me hooked until the end where all the loose threads eventual all pulled together in a way that I loved. Everything just leads to this ending in a way that left me satisfied with how it ended. You can expect time traveling, a creepy superstitious  town, witch caves, trials and a mother-daughters love.

I can not wait to add this book to my shelves, Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harper Collins for providing me with an Earc.
Was this review helpful?
4 of 5 stars
https://lynns-books.com/2021/11/09/the-lighthouse-witches-by-cj-cooke/
My Five Word TL:DR Review : Gothic, atmospheric and cunningly compelling

I was so happy to be approved for a review copy of The Lighthouse Witches, I’d previously read and enjoyed The Nesting and loved the author’s style, she can certainly create a story with plenty of atmosphere and so when I saw this book, hailed as a ‘chilling gothic thriller’ that takes place on a remote Scottish Island – well, colour me happy.  Slight spoiler for the rest of the review.  I really enjoyed this – it’s one of those books that is set to stealth mode.  It teases you with an intriguing prologue, it then stalks you, hidden from view until finally it pounces and you’re held firm in its grip.

So, following the prologue we are swiftly introduced to mother of three Olivia (known as Liv) and her daughters, Sapphire (Saffy), 15,  Luna 9, and Clover aged 7.  The year is 1998 and Liv has brought her daughters to Lon Haven, to a Lighthouse known as the Longing.  Essentially, Liv is running from something (all will eventually be revealed) and has taken a commission to paint a mural for the lighthouse’s new owner.  The family arrive late on a blustery evening and are introduced to their cosy keeper’s bothy but any romantic notions about the lighthouse are immediately dispelled when they are introduced to the grim interior.  A stark granite cone that covers something sinister from the Island’s past.

The Story is told from a number of POVs.  Primarily, Luna in 2021.  Pregnant, involved in a slightly rocky relationship and still trying to come to terms with the sketchy memories she has of the time spent on the Scottish Isle.  What she does know is that two of her sisters went missing and she was abandoned by her mother so it’s a huge shock when she receives a call to say that her sister Clover has been found – and she doesn’t appear to have aged a day.  We jump back to Liv in 1998 as she begins to get a feel for the Island.  It’s a close knit place rife with superstitions and a turbulent history that culminated in a witch hunt of a number of women who were eventually tried and executed.  Other stories abound – talk of wildlings and missing children run rife and it soon becomes apparent that Lon Haven has experienced more than its fair share of sad events that have undoubtedly led the islanders to harbour some strange beliefs.  The final pov is Sapphire, also from 1998.  Saffy’s pov includes excerpts from an old Grimoire that she found in the bothy and is slowly making her way through.  I won’t elaborate but these excerpts helpt to tie the time jumps together and give a feeling for what took place on the island back in the 1600s that eventually led to the brutal torturing and wrongful executions of a number of women.

The writing is really good.  Again Cooke manages to infuse the pages with a brooding and intriguing story, the atmosphere is like pea soup.  There’s an ever increasing sense of foreboding which is only exacerbated by Luna’s pov.  We know that the storyline from 1998 is slowly building up to something terrible and the suspense is huge.  There’s a great sense of family here, and one that is slightly fraying at the edges.  Liv, struggling to raise her daughters following the death of her partner, Saffy, rebelling against the move away from everything she knows and loves, the sisters being at odds with each other and the ever looming presence of threat that is slowly revealed.  There is a slight move into teenage angst at times where Saffy is concerned and I must admit that sometimes I was astounded by how oblivious Liv seemed to be but then I cut her some slack.  She was struggling so hard to hold everything together and barely coping herself.

This story really does move into the realms of fantasy, more so.than the Nesting  I’m not talking about dungeons and dragons but something much more subtle.  The villages believe almost religiously in the story of wildlings (in my mind I’m thinking of these as changelings – fae that mimic human children, stealing the children away and taking their place in the home).  There’s also the Grimoire and the fascinating story it relates that eventually provides answers to the mystery of Lon Haven.  I won’t spoil the final reveal, this took me in a direction that was completely unforeseen and one that I really enjoyed.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t have very much to be honest.  I did find a few elements, particularly in relation to Clover when she was eventually found and released to her much older sister – a little doubtful – but given the route the story takes I think I was much more willing to give it some leeway.  I think I probably also had questions about the nature of what was taking place here but, to be fair, I think the author’s style of ‘less is more’ was probably more fitting than any attempts to really define what was actually happening.

Overall this was a gripping tale.  I admit that I enjoy stories with alternating timelines.  I also love anything related to the fae which wildlings sound suspiciously akin to and the whole idea of this cursed island where the islanders have bought into their suspicions and fears so strongly, that they go to terrible lengths in order to keep any darkness at bay – coupled with the great gothic setting – well, as I already said, I was very happy to pick this one up and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Books that have a subject matter of witches and witch trials, albeit non fiction or fiction, have long appealed to me. This book was even better than I had thought it would be. The writing was incredibly descriptive, and it was so easy to play the scenes out in my mind whilst reading.  I found it very hard to put this down. Absolutely amazing book, I really enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
A bit of a slow start had me struggling with this book but once it got going, wow.
The story sets scene in a superstitious and claustrophobic little Scottish island called Lon Haven.
Olivia has brought her three daughters here for work, what follows is a dip into the history of the island dating back to the witch hunts which slowly melts into the present in a very surprising way. 
The main plot line of the story was not something I expected but found oddly satisfying and was pleased with the well rounded end.
The characters were described nicely and I warmed to one or two of them, especially Finn and Cassie.
Slow at first but then picking up the pace, this is a solid novel that’s worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
Wow! what a spine tingling book ! I hadn't heard much about the Scottish Witches as they were called , & just like those women in England were usually the Village Midwives , Healers & those with Folklore Knowledge . King James VI has much to atone for to the Women of the British Isles after his Book Daemonologie (1582) in which he stated that Women are weaker & thus more likely to be deceived by the Devil. The word `Witch' continues even in todays World to be aimed at Women . In this story Liv an artist who is commissioned to paint a Mural in a Light House known as `The Longings' on a remote Scottish Island along with her three children Staffy ,Luna & Clover soon become mixed up in mysterious happenings , it's a fabulous read . #NetGalley,#GoodReads, #FB, #Instagram, #Amazon.co.uk, #<img src="https://www.netgalley.com/badge/c566f42be23a0e25d120e78a3454e2d427c4beee" width="80" height="80" alt="50 Book Reviews" title="50 Book Reviews"/>, #<img src="https://www.netgalley.com/badge/ef856e6ce35e6d2d729539aa1808a5fb4326a415" width="80" height="80" alt="Reviews Published" title="Reviews Published"/>, #<img src="https://www.netgalley.com/badge/aa60c7e77cc330186f26ea1f647542df8af8326a" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/>.
Was this review helpful?
The Lighthouse Witches was a brilliantly crafted story that was hair raising and extremely creepy. This book is a perfect fall read for those who enjoy modern day retellings of folklore, mythology and witchcraft. 
The remote island of Lon Haven, Scotland has a dark and terrifying history of witches, curses and missing children. It’s 1998 and Liv arrives on the island hoping to build a new future with her three daughters, after she’s commissioned to paint a mural in an abandoned and forgotten 100 year old lighthouse. Whilst working on the mural, Liv soon learns the islands folklore and when coincidental unexplained events occur, she cannot help but be intrigued and unsettled. But, when two of her daughters go missing, Liv’s fears become very real and soon secrets and mysteries of the past resurface. 
The story flickered between timelines (1666, 1998 & 2021) and POVs that cleverly intertwined and threw you off track, always making you second guess yourself. Although the structure of the story come across confusing at times, the puzzle pieces started to fit together and the outcome was brilliant!
Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
“Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven stands a lighthouse. A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms. Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation. Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left. Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth. But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?”

I loved this book so much! The historian in me was drawn straight in at the first mention of witchcraft - I loved that incorporation of historical witch hunts into the storyline. I loved the characters in this book each with qualities that are equally as unlikeable as they are likeable, they were complex and vulnerable. The story is told on multiple timelines, from multiple perspectives - it’s not complicated to follow and it all slots together nicely, in the end, to reveal exactly what has been going on. It’s all so very well done, this book really gets that mix of history, magic and folklore just right to create a stunner of a story filled with atmosphere and mystery. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?