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Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting. When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Sc Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting. When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it's an opportunity to start over with her three daughters--Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she's frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed. Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she's initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers--except she's still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she'll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn't realize just how much the truth will change her.


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Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting. When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Sc Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting. When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it's an opportunity to start over with her three daughters--Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she's frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed. Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she's initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers--except she's still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she'll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn't realize just how much the truth will change her.

30 review for The Lighthouse Witches

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke 1998 So much has gone wrong for mother of three, Liv. She's run away to a remote Scottish island where she has a commission to paint a mural in an old lighthouse. The old house where she and her daughters will be staying is old, dark, and damp and the lighthouse is full of dank water and bats and is falling to pieces. The mural Liv is commissioned to paint is a line drawing of symbols and the person who commissioned the mural is somewhere on the sea. Little di The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke 1998 So much has gone wrong for mother of three, Liv. She's run away to a remote Scottish island where she has a commission to paint a mural in an old lighthouse. The old house where she and her daughters will be staying is old, dark, and damp and the lighthouse is full of dank water and bats and is falling to pieces. The mural Liv is commissioned to paint is a line drawing of symbols and the person who commissioned the mural is somewhere on the sea. Little did Liv know that she would end up losing seven year old Clover and fifteen year old Saffy, and attempting the unthinkable with nine year old Luna. The lighthouse is built over the site of the prison where woman accused of being witches were imprisoned and tortured until they confessed their sins and were executed. The stories are grisly but so are the stories of what happens to the wildlings, inhuman creatures who made a pact with the long ago witches to make their aggressors pay for what they have done to the women accused of witchcraft. 2021 Twenty two years later Luna is notified that her sister, Clover, has been found. But that can't be right because this Clover is still seven years old. Everything about her indicates she's the same Clover who disappeared all those years ago. Could Clover be one of those mysterious wildlings? Against her better judgement, Luna takes Clover back to the remote island where everything went wrong, so long ago. From the first word, the story throws you into the fray of long ago women being accused of witchcraft, with no chance of them being judged anything but guilty. So be it, as the aggressors, and all that come after them, are cursed, the curses to be carried out by wildlings. There seems to be no escape from this curse as those cursed do the unthinkable. The sense of foreboding and danger is constant and it seems impossible that things can ever change for the better. But there is love in this story. The love of a mother for her children and the love of Luna, who will never give up looking for her two missing sisters. What happened in the past has colored Luna's life forever but she won't let go of her search for answers, no matter how the search affects her present. At no time is there a sense of ease or peace, as the curse, and all that it means, presses down on Luna and the island. Publication: October 5th 2021 Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This book is dreamy combination of Nordic folklore, Iceland mythology, witch trials or let’s say it’s Fear Street Part three- 1666 meets German Netflix original series “Dark” with a new form of changeling ( human like creature found in folklore throughout Europe) vibes as wildling. Can you imagine your long gone sister you haven’t heard from for 23 years appears at the same place where she was missing? But the strange thing about this not only the way how they found her after all those years, s This book is dreamy combination of Nordic folklore, Iceland mythology, witch trials or let’s say it’s Fear Street Part three- 1666 meets German Netflix original series “Dark” with a new form of changeling ( human like creature found in folklore throughout Europe) vibes as wildling. Can you imagine your long gone sister you haven’t heard from for 23 years appears at the same place where she was missing? But the strange thing about this not only the way how they found her after all those years, she’s still 7 years, she hasn’t aged for a day after she got missing. Well, did you get intrigued? You might be, because things will get more complex and crazier at each chapter. Go on! It’s so exciting! The story told by three timelines and several POVs but it’s not confusing to gather pieces together: at the end everything about this paranormal, mind blowing, intelligent story makes sense and all those loopholes will be filled with surprising explanations. The timelines divided between a diary belongs to Patrick’s telling the events take place the witch hunt, trials, burning them in stakes in 17th century, 1998 : when Liv rides into her car, running away from a secret she keeps, carrying her three daughters: Sapphire (15), Luna( 9) , Clover( 7) with her. When they live their lives behind, she stops by at a cafe to check her emails and get a job offer for working on a mural project at a venue owned by mysterious, wealthy and eerie man Patrick who mostly spends his time in sailing. The venue is decommissioned lighthouse with a bizarre name Longing where is situated in Lon Haven- the east coast of Scotland. Patrick wants the artist create an inspiring and stunning mural inside the lighthouse which will be transformed to writing studio. He will pay handsomely which also will provide a purpose to Liv till she plans her next step. But she has no idea about the place’s history: the cave beneath the lighthouse was once upon a time a prison for women accused of witchcraft. Before they’ve been burned at stakes, witches haunted the island: created wildlings, supernatural creatures ( a kind of changelings) who are mimicking exactly the lost children of the town! Then we turn back to our final and third timeline: 2021: Luna lost her sisters and mother 23 years ago in Lon Haven and now she’s expecting her first child after having too many miscarriages, having issues with her long time boyfriend, still getting angry of her mother who left her in the woods 23 years ago. But she gets a call from officers informs her: her little sister Clover is found! But she’s not an adult. She’s still the same seven years old girl she got missing. Could she be a creature acting like her sister or she’s suffering from the same disease Benjamin Button had. Luna has to return back to the place where everything started to solve the puzzle but the truth may be more complicated she can absorb! I devoured in one sit! I enjoyed so much! I loved the idea the author formed around entire revelations and without thinking any further I’m giving five changeling, surprising, shocking, smart stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    *4.5 stars* Liv is a single mum of three girls, Sapphire, Luna and Clover, she’s finding it tough financially, so when she’s commissioned to paint a mural in a 100 year old decommissioned lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, she doesn’t hesitate. The island is not the idyllic place one would imagine, there is talk of witches being burned in a cave beneath the lighthouse, and murmurings of wildlings (supernatural beings who mimic human children) and though sceptical, Liv has to admit that there *4.5 stars* Liv is a single mum of three girls, Sapphire, Luna and Clover, she’s finding it tough financially, so when she’s commissioned to paint a mural in a 100 year old decommissioned lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, she doesn’t hesitate. The island is not the idyllic place one would imagine, there is talk of witches being burned in a cave beneath the lighthouse, and murmurings of wildlings (supernatural beings who mimic human children) and though sceptical, Liv has to admit that there is definitely an air of menace, a feeling that something bad is about to happen. When two of her daughters go missing, Liv can no longer ignore the folklore, and what follows is a tale that is creepy but utterly compelling. Featuring three different timelines - 1662, 1998, and 2021, this is an ambitious but wonderfully engaging novel. The characters were perfect in their parts, one could easily place themselves in their shoes, and the island and lighthouse added a dimension that transformed them into a very important and scary part of the storyline. Witches, curses, superstitions, creepy unexplained events - need I say more? A terrific read! *Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    You: Hey Regina, you seem to read a lot of books. I’m in the mood for a story about witches. I need a page-turner that gives me all the right vibes for October seasonal reading. Me: Can you be more specific? What kind of witches? Scary/not scary? Who are your typical favorite authors? You: I don’t really love fantasy “hocus pocus” paranormal books, and the witches that interest me most are of the 1600’s “burnt at the stake” variety. I’m a bit of a lightweight in the scares department, but it’s Ha You: Hey Regina, you seem to read a lot of books. I’m in the mood for a story about witches. I need a page-turner that gives me all the right vibes for October seasonal reading. Me: Can you be more specific? What kind of witches? Scary/not scary? Who are your typical favorite authors? You: I don’t really love fantasy “hocus pocus” paranormal books, and the witches that interest me most are of the 1600’s “burnt at the stake” variety. I’m a bit of a lightweight in the scares department, but it’s Halloween so I wanna get a little spooky. I usually read thrillers like those by Lisa Jewell, Clare Mackintosh, and Sharon Bolton. Me: Ah well then I have just the thing! May I suggest The Lighthouse Witches? C.J. Cooke has concocted a spellbinding novel that bubbles over with gothic atmosphere, thriller vibes and the perfect amount of supernatural elements. You: What’s it about? Me: The story starts in 1998 when single mum Liv takes her three daughters to a remote Scottish island when she’s commissioned to paint a mural in the lighthouse. Two go missing. Flash forward to 2021 when the remaining sister is informed the youngest has been found, but - gasp - she’s still only 7 years old! Flash back to 1662 when the sinister nature of the island began, where women were labeled and murdered as witches, and hence the land started its cursed trajectory of superstition, paranoia, and spookiness. You: Sounds perfect! What’s not to like? Me: It nearly is. My only slight hesitation is that a major part of the storyline comes a bit too close to the Netflix series “Dark.” Maybe it’s true what they say that there aren’t any wholly original ideas anymore. But no matter. Buy the book for your shelves (the UK cover is gorgeous!) or listen to the fantastic multi-narrator 10-hour audiobook. Either way, you’ll love it. 4.5 stars My thanks to HarperCollins UK Audio for providing a gifted advance listening copy for review via NetGalley. The Lighthouse Witches is now available. Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Having read The Nesting by CJ Cooke, I was looking forward to reading her latest offering, and found myself enthralled by this riveting, imaginative and atmospheric gothic chiller and family drama, set on a remote Scottish island with its rundown lighthouse, The Longing. It begins in 1998 with single mum, Liv, finding it hard to make a living as an artist, arriving on the island with her three daughters, Saffy, Luna and Clover, having accepted a commission from Patrick Roberts to paint a lightho Having read The Nesting by CJ Cooke, I was looking forward to reading her latest offering, and found myself enthralled by this riveting, imaginative and atmospheric gothic chiller and family drama, set on a remote Scottish island with its rundown lighthouse, The Longing. It begins in 1998 with single mum, Liv, finding it hard to make a living as an artist, arriving on the island with her three daughters, Saffy, Luna and Clover, having accepted a commission from Patrick Roberts to paint a lighthouse mural. All is not as well as hoped for, as the locals warn of the fae and wildings, supernatural beings that emulate humans, and a lighthouse that was built on a cave where in the 17th century women perceived as witches were imprisoned and burned. With the last gasp of their breath, the island residents were cursed terribly, a nightmare that resulted in missing children through time, the repercussions of which live on. This is dismissed as ancient folklore, mythology and legend, except that every member of the family vanishes, only Luna is left behind. More than two decades later, a haunted and traumatised Luna is pregnant, still harbouring hopes that her family will return. Then she gets a call that informs her that her sister, Clover, has been found alive, but impossibly Clover is still 7 years old, how could that be? Moreover, Clover's strange behaviour has Luna wondering if she is a wilding, all of which has her returning to the island, to her memories, and in search of the truth of the mystery of what happened to her family all those years ago. The narrative is split between three timelines, from the 17th century from a grimoire of magic, spells and diary, from the family in 1998, and in the present with Luna. Cooke expertly weaves the different strands of this eerie and unsettling story so that they connect beautifully by the end. The wonderfully evocative location and lighthouse prove to be characters in their own right as they come alive with the rich descriptions in the book. The author provides the reader with the timeless nature of human beings and how they react when overtaken by fear, misplaced beliefs, hysteria, and paranoia, which can so often have horrifying consequences that can result in pain, death, destruction and devastation. This is as true today in our contemporary world as it was in the past. This was a terrifically creepy, ominous and engaging read, dark, intense, and highly suspenseful, with great characters, holding my interest from start to finish. Perfect reading for Autumn and Winter. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    He’s tall and rakish, with greasy black hair to his jaw, a tattoo of a panther on his neck, a missing front tooth. A grin. “You’re Luna Stay?” She frowns, confused by the shift to a smile. “Yes?” He steps forward and eyes her coldly. “You’re supposed to be dead.” 2021 - Ok, so maybe not exactly a welcoming committee, with a sparkly, multi-colored sign at the local watering hole, all the residents in attendance, celebrating her return. But I guess it’ll have to do. It wasn’t Luna’s first time on He’s tall and rakish, with greasy black hair to his jaw, a tattoo of a panther on his neck, a missing front tooth. A grin. “You’re Luna Stay?” She frowns, confused by the shift to a smile. “Yes?” He steps forward and eyes her coldly. “You’re supposed to be dead.” 2021 - Ok, so maybe not exactly a welcoming committee, with a sparkly, multi-colored sign at the local watering hole, all the residents in attendance, celebrating her return. But I guess it’ll have to do. It wasn’t Luna’s first time on the island of Lòn Haven. She had been there for a spell as a child, and, while her experience was memorable, it was relatively brief, and her exit had been fraught. Now, thirty years old, pregnant for the first time, she is not exactly eager to stick around. But she is there on a mission. C.J. (Carolyn Jess) Cooke – image from The University of Glasgow 1998 - Olivia Stay has just left her home in northern England, dragged her three daughters with her, and headed north on an hours-long drive to a remote island off the east coast of Scotland. She is an artist, with a commission to paint a mural on the inside of a 149-foot-tall lighthouse, which is in less-than-stellar condition. Her mysterious employer has left drawings for her of what he wants. She and the girls will be staying on the lighthouse property, in a small house, called a bothy. The lighthouse has an intriguing name. “You’re staying at the Longing?” he said, raising an eyebrow. “Quite a history, that place.” “I can see that,” I said, flicking through the leaflet, my eyes falling on an artist’s rendition of people being burned at the stake. “Why’s it called the Longing?” Luna asked him. “It’s named for the people who lost loved ones,” he said. “Sometimes they’d visit the site where the Longing was built and . . . pay their respects.” …or something. The lost loved ones tended to be women murdered by the locals, accused of witchcraft and burned alive. The Longing was built directly over the place where the women had been kept and tortured, a broch, which is a circular castle-like structure, as much as two thousand years old. While there have been five major national bouts of witch-burnings in Scotland, the only witches likely to have been about were of the herbalist, rather than spell-casting sort. The ones with the matches provided the very human-sourced evil involved. The historical burning time of note here was 1662. Olivia (Liv) is our first-person narrator for much of the book. Other chapters offer third-person POVs from Luna and Saffy. A second first-person account is historical. That one provides interceding chapters made up of passages from a book, left in the bothy, referred to as a grimoire. But it serves less as a source for studying the dark arts than it does as a memoir. Written by someone named Roberts, presumably an ancestor of Liv’s employer, it serves mostly as a fourth perspective, offering first-person exposition of historical events the book’s author lived through, events that inform the present. We follow Liv as she is introduced to the island, and the local oddballs. (and wonder why she suddenly dropped everything and dragged her kids north several weeks ahead of the appointed time) But when she sees a small, almost feral-seeming white-haired child on the property, and the police do not seem to take her seriously, things get more interesting. Local lore has it that condemned witches, in league with the fae realm, created wildlings, copies of island children, who would suddenly appear out of nowhere, intent on wiping out family lines. Locals hold that any such beings must be killed ASAP. Then two of her daughters, Saffy and Clover, disappear. St Mary’s Lighthouse – the English lighthouse that provided inspiration for the Longing – image from Photographers Resource UK In 2021, after twenty-two years of searching for her lost family, Luna is contacted. Her sister, Clover, has been found. But instead of being twenty-nine years old, Clover is still only seven. Is this child even her sister? Or could she be one of the wildlings Luna had heard about when she was a child on Lòn Haven? Her behavior certainly gives one cause for concern. The story braids the four narratives, alternating Liv, Luna, Saffy, and the grimoire’s Mr Roberts reporting of their experiences, and the times in which they are in the spotlight, offering nice chapter-ending cliff-hangers to sustain our interest from one strand to the next. In an interview with The Nerd Daily, Cooke (who is married, with four children) was asked about her inspiration for the book. I think it came from a range of places – I was thinking a lot (and still am) about how different it is to parent a teenager than it is to parent a baby, and yet the speed with which a baby seems to become a teenager feels like whiplash. So the story of Liv and her 15-year-old Sapphire in the book emerged from that thinking. When we moved to Scotland in 2019, I learned about the Scottish Witch Trials. I’m very interested in women’s lives, and this slice of history is very much concerned with what happened to women – and it also bears a huge relevance to the current moment. Gradually that thinking took shape. Lastly, I was invited to teach at the University of Iceland in 2019, and while I was there – and thinking a lot about the book and how I was going to incorporate all the various ideas I had – I came across 14th century spell books, which blew my mind. As I dug deeper into the history of magic and how it impacted women in particular, the story came out of the shadows. The fraught relationship between 15yo Saffy and Liv will feel familiar, in tone, if not necessarily in the specific content of Saffy and Liv’s interaction. Cooke relied on her own teenage daughter for much of Saffy’s voice. Add to that the fact that Liv is a single mother, struggling to get by. Many of Liv’s struggles with parenting resonated, guilt versus responsibility versus coping with external limitations. Cooke offers, through the grimoire, a first-person look at the 1661/1662 witch-trial hysteria, providing a persuasive take on its causation, at least in this instance. The Icelandic spell books notion gave Cooke the tool she needed for exploring the past. I wanted everything for my children. But every single day I had to confront the glaring reality that I simply wasn’t able to provide the kind of life they deserved. And it crushed me. There is a hint of prior, off-screen abuse in Liv’s background. This is likely a manifestation of Cooke’s experiences growing up in an abusive household in a council estate in Belfast during The Troubles. The up-front abuse here is in how power is used to protect those who have it from being held responsible for their actions, at the expense of the powerless, both past and present. And in how murderous impulses, combined with ignorance, under the mantle of religion, and official sanction, present a peril to any who do not conform, in any age. Informational payload informs the story. You will pick up a few bits of Scottish terminology, and even a bit of spice on magical symbology and local fairy lore. Cooke has some fun with triangles of various sorts. We get a you-are-there look at an actual historical time of madness. Cooke, in the interview from The Inside Flap, talks about how surprised she was when she moved to Scotland to find that there had been witch trials there, and that there were no memorials at all for the hundreds of people (not all were women) who had been killed. Perhaps it might be necessary to light a fire under some public officials to see that this is corrected. There were parts of the book that gave me pause. I had trouble, for example, with the police releasing seven-year-old Clover to Luna, given that there was no way the two were the sisters they supposedly were in any normal time line. There seemed some contradiction in the overall take. Where does magic leave off and other factors enter into things? Could an evil-doer, for example, be stricken with an awful affliction at the hands of a spell-caster? And if so, then a scientific-ish explanation for later events seems undercut. What if that scientific-ish situation was created by magic? And round and round we go. While not exactly a hair-raising read for me, (few are) I did find some scenes in the book pretty scary, less, maybe, for the magical terror involved, than for the willingness of people to do terrible things in the name of insane beliefs, a terror we live with every day, and the fear any parent might feel when their child is in danger. We can feel for Liv even as we might wonder at her judgment. She is clearly stressed beyond reason. And we can feel for Luna trying to solve this intricate puzzle, while taking on parental responsibility for her now-much-younger sib. The mysteries of the book will keep you turning the pages. In this fictional realm, are witches real? And if they are, did they really curse the island? And if they did, were fairy-generated wildlings a part of the plan? And if they were, was there an intent to end family lines? And what’s the deal with Clover showing up twenty-two years after vanishing? One of life’s great joys is to begin reading a book expecting to be directed from Point A to Point Z with the familiar stops along the way, and then finding oneself in an entirely other alphabet. The Lighthouse Witches has the magic needed to make that trip possible. It is an enchanting read. She turns her head from side to side, taking in the velvet expanse of the ocean on her left and the rocks and beach on her right. Ahead, surf furls into the bay. Something there catches her eye, and she wonders if it’s the basking shark, Basil, with his weird two fins. Something bobbing in the water. Seals, probably. Except it’s the wrong color. It’s pale. She squints at the object. It’s about thirty feet away, moving on the waves. A cloud shifts from the moon and for a moment the light finds the object. It’s a face. A human face, its mouth open in a howl, someone in the water. Review posted - October 8, 2021 Publication date – October 5, 2021 I received an eARC of The Lighthouse Witches from Berkley in return for casting one or two minor spells. Thanks to EK, and NetGalley for facilitating. This review has been cross-posted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Stop by and say Hi! =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, and Twitter pages From About the Author in the book C. J. Cooke is an award-winning poet and novelist published in twenty-three languages. She teaches creative writing at the University of Glasgow, where she also researches the impact of motherhood on women’s writing and creative-writing interventions for mental health. Her previous novel is The Nesting. She has been writing stories since she was seven years old. Interviews ----- The Inside Flap Ep. 140 The Witching Hour Is Upon Us with C.J. Cooke - podcast = 1:30:00 – from about 30:00 ----- The Nerd Daily - Q&A: C.J. Cooke, Author of ‘The Lighthouse Witches’ by Elise Dumpleton -----Slider - Episode 2 – Interview with author CJ Cooke - audio - 25:23 Wiki-ons and Other Items of Interest -----bothy -----Borromean Ring -----broch -----The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662 -----grimoire -----St Mary’s Lighthouse -----50 Megs - on Scottish faeries -----Cambridge University Press - The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662 - a miuch more detailed look at this abomination – by Brian P. Levack

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 stars A light house, missing children, a land cursed by witches and wildlings make for a riveting, gripping and oh so enjoyable book! Single mother of three, Liv is left her former life behind. She has been commissioned to do a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island. It's an island steeped in history -witches were killed here. Specifically in 1662, women were imprisoned, tortured, and burned at the stake. Their cures one the land left the island reeling and people afr 4.5 stars A light house, missing children, a land cursed by witches and wildlings make for a riveting, gripping and oh so enjoyable book! Single mother of three, Liv is left her former life behind. She has been commissioned to do a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island. It's an island steeped in history -witches were killed here. Specifically in 1662, women were imprisoned, tortured, and burned at the stake. Their cures one the land left the island reeling and people afraid, superstitious and in a strange way looking out for each other. But Liv isn't quite aware of that when she takes the job. She is looking to escape, make some money and think of some plans. Soon is she told tales which she finds hard to believe. Who would? But things go awry and then two of her daughters go missing.... Twenty years later, one of them comes back! C.J. Cooke got my attention with The Nesting and I could not wait to read this book. She did not disappoint! This book is told in three timelines -1662, 1998, and the present. Don't let the timelines scare you away. These are expertly done, and nothing is confusing! As more of the story unfold, there is a mounting sense of dread, tension, and unease. Those things along with the journal entries were my favorite parts of the book. There is some creepy things that go on in this book that will leave readers guessing, and trying to figure out what is really happening. For me this was a pleasure from beginning to end. It had the right amount of atmosphere, Gothic vibes, and mystery to keep me engaged and wanting more. Creepy, tension filled and Dark - curl up with this one on a long October night! Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  8. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars** After the death of her loving husband, Liv has it rough trying to care for herself and her three daughters. It's generally difficult being a single parent, but as an artist, Liv is really feeling the strain on her resources. When she receives a commission to paint a mural in a historical lighthouse on a remote Scottish Island, she jumps at a chance for a fresh start. Moving the girls there is a big decision, but unfortunately, she really has no other choice. Boarding the ferry on the **4.5-stars** After the death of her loving husband, Liv has it rough trying to care for herself and her three daughters. It's generally difficult being a single parent, but as an artist, Liv is really feeling the strain on her resources. When she receives a commission to paint a mural in a historical lighthouse on a remote Scottish Island, she jumps at a chance for a fresh start. Moving the girls there is a big decision, but unfortunately, she really has no other choice. Boarding the ferry on the day of their move, Liv, Saffy, Luna and Clover say goodbye to their old life. Once at the lighthouse and adjacent bothy, which will be their home, they realize it's a wee bit more dilapidated than they anticipated. Regardless, it's an exceptional location and they quickly settle in. Saffy, as the oldest, definitely has the most difficult time with the move. You know how teens can be. As a result, she begins to distance herself from her Mom and sisters. Liv dives into her work and actually ends up befriending a few village women, who fill her in on the history and lore of the island itself. Some of the things they tell her are quite disturbing, most notably a witch's curse that summons wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children. Liv doesn't know what to make these eerie tales, but it is clear her new friends whole-heartedly believe every word. When mysterious things begin to happen to Liv and her girls, however, she starts to believe there may be some credence to the lore. After two of her daughters go missing, Liv panics and is willing to do whatever it takes, turn to whoever she must, in order to get them back. Y'all, The Lighthouse Witches gave me exactly what I was looking for. If you read the synopsis, and it sounds incredible to you, have no fear, that is what you are getting; you will not be let down. The atmosphere is freaking fantastic. Everything about the island, the lighthouse, the local history and lore, it is perfect Spooky Season reading! The narrative follows three different perspectives, over two timelines: Liv, Saffy and Luna, with past and present perspectives. You learn about the family's time on the island, the disappearance of the girls, and from Luna's present perspective, the aftermath of all of that. My one small issue with this story was that I did find it hard to differentiate between the perspectives in the beginning. I was still learning everyone's name and their position in the family, so it was hard to keep it all straight at first. Luckily, the chapters were headed with the person's name who you were following and the year, but I did have to page back quite a few times to figure out where I was and who I was reading from. Eventually though, I was able to settle into it and really enjoyed my time reading this story. There are some genuinely creepy moments and some quite interesting supernatural twists. I found the entire thing to be original and chilling. It definitely kept me up at night. The atmosphere and lore of the town were my two favorite aspects, but really there is so much to enjoy in this story! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. After this and The Nesting, I think it is fair to say, I will pick up anything C.J. Cooke releases!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4.5 rounded up. In 1998 Liv Stay arrives at Lon Haven off the coast of the Black Isle with her three daughters in tow. There’s Saffy (Sapphire) 15, Luna who is 9 and Clover, 7. Liv has been commissioned by wealthy Patrick Roberts to paint a mural at The Longing, a dilapidated lighthouse built on a broch, an Iron Age Round tower. Beneath the lighthouse lies a cave where women accused of witchcraft have been imprisoned. The local people warn Liv about ‘wildlings’, a fae (fairy) who takes in human 4.5 rounded up. In 1998 Liv Stay arrives at Lon Haven off the coast of the Black Isle with her three daughters in tow. There’s Saffy (Sapphire) 15, Luna who is 9 and Clover, 7. Liv has been commissioned by wealthy Patrick Roberts to paint a mural at The Longing, a dilapidated lighthouse built on a broch, an Iron Age Round tower. Beneath the lighthouse lies a cave where women accused of witchcraft have been imprisoned. The local people warn Liv about ‘wildlings’, a fae (fairy) who takes in human form after a pact made with witches. A few weeks later, two of the sisters and Liv go missing. In 2021 Luna gets a phone call out of the blue to say one of her sisters is found. The story is told in 1998 by Liv and Saffy, by Luna in 2021 and via extracts from a Grimoire from the 1660’s, a book of magic, spells and invocations. Wow. This is a superb Gothic thriller , we have sorcery, witchcraft, magic, spells and curses which reveals a creepy world full of superstition, apparitions and the wildlings, the latter completely capturing my imagination. The premise and unfolding dark events are really creative and original and I’m spellbound caught up in the enchanting, well written storyline which mesmerises as it weaves the fantastic tale. I love the superstitious folk lore element with the earlier timeline of the Grimoire being some of my favourite sections as it tells of dangerous times of witch-finders and so on. The setting principally on the island is fantastic as it lends a haunting, threatening, fearful , malevolent presence especially in and around The Longing which feels alive. At the start when we first meet the Stay family there are some good touches of humour which contrasts starkly with later dark events. The characterisation is excellent, even peripheral characters have depth. This is a very clever story which although it centres in witchcraft it is also about love, motherhood and family. My only slight negative is that maybe the end is a bit convenient but that’s not to say I don’t like it as I do! Overall, this book enthrals from start to finish with the ideas and concepts keeping you hooked. I love the cover too. With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins, Harper Fiction for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    4.5**** I raced through this. This book was creepy and atmospheric within the first couple of chapters... and this continued through out the novel, drawing me in. In 1998, Liv is commissioned to do a mural for “The Longing” a decommissioned lighthouse, she ups and moves herself and her three children to the island of Lon Haven. She is commissioned by the mysterious Patrick Roberts and the mural contains strange symbols and signs. In 2021, Luna (Liv’s daughter) is now grown up with so few memories 4.5**** I raced through this. This book was creepy and atmospheric within the first couple of chapters... and this continued through out the novel, drawing me in. In 1998, Liv is commissioned to do a mural for “The Longing” a decommissioned lighthouse, she ups and moves herself and her three children to the island of Lon Haven. She is commissioned by the mysterious Patrick Roberts and the mural contains strange symbols and signs. In 2021, Luna (Liv’s daughter) is now grown up with so few memories of Lon Haven- other than it being the place where her mother and sisters suddenly disappeared. She’s got Facebook pages set up for information which have lain dormant for many years, until one day she gets a call from social to say that they’ve found her sister, Clover.... but how is it possible that Clover is still 7 years old!? The same age she was when she went missing over two decades ago!? To answer these questions, Luna must recount what happened on that island many years ago. The book flickers back and forth from largely Liv’s POV in 1998 (some of Saffy) and Luna’s POV in 2021. This also contains some excerpts from Patrick Roberts grimoire recounting his past. Through these we uncover the bloody and secretive history of the island. This book is the perfect fall read and had everything I loved- witches, curses, secrets, mysterious symbols, and had quite a few horror elements too! This book was eerie through out and was a page Turner- my adrenaline was pumping while turning the pages, needing to find out the answers. Some things are typical for a horror- a creepy forest, abandoned places, a random hut in the middle of the woods- but CJ Cooke makes this work. I’ve seen this advertised as a “gothic thriller” but it was definitely more of a horror/mystery with a tiny bit of sci-do chucked in. A highly enjoyable and atmospheric creepy read- I loved it! My only issue is of personal preference where I try to avoid books where children play a large role... as I find them annoying usually. Thank you NetGalley for this E-Arc.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Margaret M

    Double double foil and trouble Fire burn and cauldron bubble (Macbeth) ***************************** Fire burn, burning bright Through the flames I read tonight I followed the plot and the stories untold Of the lighthouse witches the curse unfolds I read about the “Longing”, and the witch’s power As Liv is commissioned to paint the round tower A haunting gothic tale that is rich in history While the disappearance of Liv’s daughters remains a mystery I read the reviews from Goodreads friends I trust And Double double foil and trouble Fire burn and cauldron bubble (Macbeth) ***************************** Fire burn, burning bright Through the flames I read tonight I followed the plot and the stories untold Of the lighthouse witches the curse unfolds I read about the “Longing”, and the witch’s power As Liv is commissioned to paint the round tower A haunting gothic tale that is rich in history While the disappearance of Liv’s daughters remains a mystery I read the reviews from Goodreads friends I trust And now I’m recommending this book as a must With this dark skilful writing, shiver you might But for Halloween month this book is just right. ******************************** A short summary. Liv, a single mother of three daughters, is commissioned to paint a mural at the Lighthouse known as the “Longing”. However, built on an old Broch from the Iron Age, a place where 12 women were reportedly tortured and burned at the stake for witchcraft, the lighthouse is not a beacon of light instead it is a haunting place feared by the locals. When Liv and two of her daughters go missing then the true macabre story of the disappearances, killings, and sightings is uncovered. Twenty-two years later, the surviving sister is contacted by police to reveal the news that Luna’s youngest sister Clover has been found. There is one thing wrong she hasn’t aged in twenty two years and still looks a seven year old girl. This is a wonderful book, dark, menacing, and full of suspense, set in 1998 and 2021 and draws from folklore dating back to 1662 and a witch-hunt in Scotland, when hundreds of women were accused of witchcraft. The setting of the Lighthouse is mysterious, haunting, wild, and untamed and the characterisation is superb, with witches and the wildlings that connect the past and the present. The writing is creepy but sharp and darkly ominous. The anticipation is created in the opening chapters and the author does an amazing job of maintaining the suspense throughout as she unspools the past, but the evil is accretive, extending and eternalising. If you want to read a ghoulish and chilling book for spooky month, then look no further than the Lighthouse Witches. You do have to suspend disbelief in a couple of places but other than that it is a great book for everyone who likes a bit of mystery.

  12. 5 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    In a Nutshell: An interesting gothic mystery with some outstanding twists. Story: This tale comes to us from distinct perspectives and multiple timelines. 1998: Single mother Liv has been commissioned to paint a mural in the lighthouse of a remote Scottish island. Liv takes it as a golden opportunity to make a fresh start with her three daughters. She soon discovers that the island harbours dark secrets. But who in this modern day can believe in those old ladies tales and superstitions? Not Liv, f In a Nutshell: An interesting gothic mystery with some outstanding twists. Story: This tale comes to us from distinct perspectives and multiple timelines. 1998: Single mother Liv has been commissioned to paint a mural in the lighthouse of a remote Scottish island. Liv takes it as a golden opportunity to make a fresh start with her three daughters. She soon discovers that the island harbours dark secrets. But who in this modern day can believe in those old ladies tales and superstitions? Not Liv, for sure. Until things take a dark turn. 2021: Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mothers for more than two decades. When she receives a call that her youngest sister has finally been located, she is on cloud nine. But imagine her shock when she discovers that Clover is still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished twenty two years earlier. With Luna’s hazy memory about the past, will she be able to figure out this bizarre situation? The other two perspectives are that of Sapphire (Liv’s eldest daughter) and a mysterious grimoire that contains a man’s narration of the witch hunts in Scotland during the 1660s. This is one of those books where I can’t write anything much without going into spoilers. And as I hate spoilers with a vehemence, I’ll try to keep the feedback specific and brief. • The plot is fairly twisted and quite convoluted. There are some loopholes in the flow but nothing too major that will take away from your enjoyment. I enjoyed the constant surprises that the author kept throwing time and again. There are many creepy moments too. At the same time, some parts were very farfetched and there were too many coincidences towards the end. • The grimoire’s story was my favourite, though it was the most horrifying at times. The idiotic thinking behind the witch hunts were written very well. • Many of the characters are quite intriguing, even though I couldn’t connect with the decisions of a few of them. To pinpoint one, Liv’s reason for wanting to escape London and go to an unknown island seemed utterly illogical to me. Then there is this big hullabaloo about some mysterious numbers. Tell me honestly: if you see the numerals “2 0 2 1” appear somewhere, will you think “Oh, what a mysterious number!?” or will you think “Why is the current year mentioned here?” • Though there were multiple timelines and character perspectives to follow, the narrative felt pretty smooth to me. The writing keeps you hooked. • A couple of reader friends found the plot dragging in the middle but I couldn’t detect any major dip in pace. Probably because I was listening to it than reading it. For me, the biggest pro points of this book were its plot idea and its ability to spring surprises almost till the end. Where it could have worked a little better for me was in making the characters, especially Liv, seem more realistic. Luna was the best etched character, but even her arc contained some wild stretches at times. I heard the audio version of this book and I think that made my experience much better. The four perspectives are voiced by four different narrators and this brings a nice individuality to their narratives. I loved all the narrators as they rendered the characters perfectly. The audiobook is 10 hrs 13 min long, and that’s 10 hrs 13 minutes of a captivating hearing experience. Of course, you’ve already seen that the plot is fairly complicated. If you find your mind boggled by too much of a to and fro in the timelines, better go for reading. But to experienced audiobook listeners, I’ll recommend the audiobook wholeheartedly. 4 stars from me to this engrossing story. (It might have been 3.75 had I read the book. The bonus is for the narrators.) Thank you, HarperCollins UK Audio and NetGalley, for the audio ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Books.and.Salt

    Do you ever finish a book and immediately wish you could wipe your memory and read it for the first time again? 😂 I was so engrossed in watching this mystery unfold. On a secluded Scottish island in 1998 a mother and her three daughters are separated. 20 years later, Luna is still searching for her mom and two sisters while trying to rise above her own trauma. When Luna receives a call from the police saying one of her sisters has been found, she is ecstatic... Until she realizes Clover is seven Do you ever finish a book and immediately wish you could wipe your memory and read it for the first time again? 😂 I was so engrossed in watching this mystery unfold. On a secluded Scottish island in 1998 a mother and her three daughters are separated. 20 years later, Luna is still searching for her mom and two sisters while trying to rise above her own trauma. When Luna receives a call from the police saying one of her sisters has been found, she is ecstatic... Until she realizes Clover is seven years old - the same age she was when she disappeared. The mystery pulls Luna back to the Scottish island where she unravels her trapped memories & discovers the truth about her family. The Lighthouse Witches tells an intense, spooky tale through the eyes of mama Liv in 1998, sister Luna in 2021, and the words of a grimoire from 1620. I thought the different perspectives brought such an exciting pace to the novels, allowing the reader to try to connect the dots as they go. I found it so easy to become attached to Liv and her girls - I still ache to give Saffy a hug. 🥲 I have a major soft spot for Gaelic myths and absolutely loved Cooke's take on wildlings. I think the mixing of fae lore and witchy magic was so incredibly clever. It was also the PERFECT amount of creepy, just enough to make me nervous without forcing me to put down the book 🤣 Super excited to see what the author does next - I love when a book gives me someone new to follow! 😍 Special thanks to Netgalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for my honest review!

  14. 4 out of 5

    JaymeO

    “We form stories about our lives to create meaning out of them-without meaning, they feel shapeless and without purpose.” The Lighthouse Witches is a totally engrossing fast-paced thriller that explores the deeper meaning behind ancient folklore and history. This is not your typical witch tale, as it is multi-layered and transcends time and generations. The story is told in multiple timelines, ultimately catching up to the present day. 1998 - Liv Stay accepts a commission to paint a mural in an o “We form stories about our lives to create meaning out of them-without meaning, they feel shapeless and without purpose.” The Lighthouse Witches is a totally engrossing fast-paced thriller that explores the deeper meaning behind ancient folklore and history. This is not your typical witch tale, as it is multi-layered and transcends time and generations. The story is told in multiple timelines, ultimately catching up to the present day. 1998 - Liv Stay accepts a commission to paint a mural in an old lighthouse on the small Scottish island of Lon Haven. This is her opportunity to make a new life for herself and her three daughters, Sapphire, Luna, and Clover. 2021 - Luna Stay is pregnant with her first child and has been searching for her mother and two sisters for twenty-two years. When she receives a call that her younger sister Clover has finally been found, she is ecstatic. However, Clover is still seven years old! Why hasn’t she aged? Luna must return to the island in order to figure out what happened to her family all of those years ago. I have read Cooke’s two previous thrillers and loved I Know My Name, but found The Nesting somewhat clunky. The Lighthouse Witches attempts to follow a similar formula as The Nesting, but it is much more successful. While I felt that The Nesting was overwrought with folklore which bogged the story down at times, The Lighthouse Witches seamlessly weaves folklore into a fascinating original tale that immediately captivated my interest. The tension and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat and didn’t let up until the final page. I also learned a lot about the Scottish witch trials, which I hadn’t heard of before. However, I felt like a few elements wrapped up too conveniently in the end and I still had a few lingering questions. Overall, I truly enjoyed going on this journey into another land filled with myths, folklore, and superstition. C.J. Cooke has now won me over as a fan, as this book topped the scales! 4.5/5 stars rounded down

  15. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    If you're looking for a witchy, spooky October read, look no further! This book had all of the elements I love in my Halloween reads - a little haunted history, a little magic, a little supernatural, and a whole lot of creepy. Liv and her 3 daughters, Sapphire, Luna and Clover, move to a small island in Scotland where Liv has been commissioned to paint a mural in a deserted lighthouse. You know Liv seems to be running from something or someone, and thinks the island of Lon Haven is the perfect p If you're looking for a witchy, spooky October read, look no further! This book had all of the elements I love in my Halloween reads - a little haunted history, a little magic, a little supernatural, and a whole lot of creepy. Liv and her 3 daughters, Sapphire, Luna and Clover, move to a small island in Scotland where Liv has been commissioned to paint a mural in a deserted lighthouse. You know Liv seems to be running from something or someone, and thinks the island of Lon Haven is the perfect place to hide out. Things seems fine in the beginning, but they quickly learn of the local folklore related to the witches executed on the island centuries ago, who cursed the islanders on their death. After the curse, deaths of children were rampant, and wildlings were commonplace. Liv doesn't believe it until she experiences a wilding herself, and things start to go downhill in a hurry. More than 20 years later, Luna is the only remaining member of her family. Her mother and sisters are missing, and her memory is hazy as to how she made it off the island and they didn't. Then she gets a call that one of the missing sisters, Clover, is found, but she doesn't seem to have aged a day in twenty years. Luna is ecstatic to have her sister back, but as she tries to piece together what happened to the rest of her family and as odd events unfold, she begins to wonder if Clover is really who she appears to be. I liked the three POVs here and thought they worked beautifully to weave the plot together - Liv in 1998, Sapphire in 1998, and Luna in 2021. There were also brief snippets of a book Sapphire found in the lighthouse that was written during the time of the witch trials, The Grimoire of Patrick Roberts, and which I thought were the most compelling, creepy parts of the book. There were just enough twists and turns that I couldn’t quite figure out where the story was going and how things would tie together in the end. While things are wrapped up in a fairly satisfying way in the end, there were a few unanswered questions (especially related to Clover) that kept this from being a 5-star read for me. Obviously, you have to suspend belief in these types of reads, as there is no "real world" explanation, but unfortunately the execution just fell a bit short toward the end. Overall, I enjoyed this book way more than I expected. Magical realism, supernatural, etc., are not usually my thing, but this one had just the right amount of suspense, twists, Scottish folklore and history to keep me hooked! 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The Lighthouse Witches, set in a small island off the coast of Scotland accessible only by ferry, is about an island that feels in some ways untouched by time. But, there’s a long history here of witchcraft among the fog-shrouded forests, and of witches burned in a cave for leading a rebellion against a king. The townsfolk still, hundreds of years later, are still haunted by wildings, children returning from the cave’s embrace. No one wants to talk about the caves and the witches and the strange The Lighthouse Witches, set in a small island off the coast of Scotland accessible only by ferry, is about an island that feels in some ways untouched by time. But, there’s a long history here of witchcraft among the fog-shrouded forests, and of witches burned in a cave for leading a rebellion against a king. The townsfolk still, hundreds of years later, are still haunted by wildings, children returning from the cave’s embrace. No one wants to talk about the caves and the witches and the strange ones who appear. A Lighthouse has been built above the sealed-in cave and Liv has been contracted to paint a mural there. Having nowhere else to go Liv takes her three children with her to this strange place, where she isn’t welcomed with open arms, and where two of her children are destined to vanish, only perhaps to reappear decades later, unchanged. It’s a hauntingly beautiful novel that dabbles in the occult, although not particularly scary for a horror story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Family. Accusations. Mock trials. Abused. Blood. Fire. Curses. Love. If you love witches, witch trials, an atmospheric time period with a dueling timeline, and a hauntingly beautiful story, well this is the book for you. Told between 1998 and 2020 alternating people and timelines, this witch tale brings about the whole realization that the past, plus the present is all wrapped up in the future. That forgiveness is in itself time travel. From the opening chapter, I thought this was going to be a b Family. Accusations. Mock trials. Abused. Blood. Fire. Curses. Love. If you love witches, witch trials, an atmospheric time period with a dueling timeline, and a hauntingly beautiful story, well this is the book for you. Told between 1998 and 2020 alternating people and timelines, this witch tale brings about the whole realization that the past, plus the present is all wrapped up in the future. That forgiveness is in itself time travel. From the opening chapter, I thought this was going to be a bloody, brutal portraying of the witch trials that so needlessly happened around the world, but was pleasantly shocked and amazed to find it was also a love story - a ballad to family, both what we are given, as well as what we make, and a story that will leave you aching to return to this tale over and over. It’s one of those novels you are both thrilled you dived into, as well as one you just wish you hadn’t cracked the magic open so you could relive that feeling all over again. I’d definitely rate this a 4 to a 4.5 out of 5 star read for me. This is one I highly recommend you jump to pre-order, or snap up as quick as you can! Everyone needs a little magic in their life. Thank you so much to #NetGalley, #BerkleyPublishingGroup, #Berkley, and the hauntingly talented C. J. Cooke ( @CJessCooke) for the electronic ARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. This should definitely be on your radar for release day October 5, 2021!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is the second witchy book I've read recently based on a mention on another book podcast (this was on the October most anticipated books episode from Professional Book Nerds even though they had a witchy books episode two prior; I read Cackle after the mention on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.) The Lighthouse Witches takes place on an island off the west coast of Scotland (for some reason it's never called the Hebrides in this book.) A mother moves there to paint a mural inside a lighthouse and This is the second witchy book I've read recently based on a mention on another book podcast (this was on the October most anticipated books episode from Professional Book Nerds even though they had a witchy books episode two prior; I read Cackle after the mention on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.) The Lighthouse Witches takes place on an island off the west coast of Scotland (for some reason it's never called the Hebrides in this book.) A mother moves there to paint a mural inside a lighthouse and uproots her daughters to do so, but then they disappear. The island has a long sordid history including witchhunts and missing children, and the author has used a lot from Scottish folklore and history. Most people know I'm a sucker for a novel set on a cold weather island and what is better for spooktober than a witchy dreary read? This comes out Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

  19. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    What an unexpected surprise! The Lighthouse Witches is a gothic novel written in multiple points of view and timelines. It is a tale of Scottish folklore centering on the witch-hunt, curses and wildlings in an era when superstition and fear drove the town’s inhabitants to perform unspeakable acts upon the men, women, and children accused of witchcraft. It is the year 1998 and single mom Olivia (Liv) Stay and her three daughters, Sapphire, Clover, and Luna packed up their belongings to move into t What an unexpected surprise! The Lighthouse Witches is a gothic novel written in multiple points of view and timelines. It is a tale of Scottish folklore centering on the witch-hunt, curses and wildlings in an era when superstition and fear drove the town’s inhabitants to perform unspeakable acts upon the men, women, and children accused of witchcraft. It is the year 1998 and single mom Olivia (Liv) Stay and her three daughters, Sapphire, Clover, and Luna packed up their belongings to move into the town of Lón Haven, Scotland. There, Liv was commissioned to paint a mural inside the island’s 100 year-old lighthouse. A strange request and stranger still was that the mural would depict a conglomeration of strange symbols and triangles. Little did Liv know that the lighthouse was built upon an ancient holding pen that was used to imprison accused witches awaiting trial. It was those witches that cursed the townsfolk and the island by making a pact with the fairies to give them human form so they could take revenge on humankind. Shortly after the gruesome discovery about the lighthouse, Liv, Sapphire, and Clover go missing leaving just nine-year old Luna behind in a forest. Fast forward to 2021. Luna now a grown woman gets shocking news that Clover has been found. But more astonishing is that Clover is still the seven year old that went missing twenty-plus years ago. The Lighthouse Witches is a slow read. This is probably due to the world-building and character development. Traversing different timelines and developing characters for each timeline takes skill and author C. J. Cooke has done an excellent job at accomplishing both. The plot is slowly unveiled in snippets which compels the reader to want more and continue with the story. A cliffhanger is always around each corner. The Lighthouse Witches is not just about witchhunts and curses. It is more than that. Witches and curses provide the perfect backdrop for a startling ending worthy of five stars. I received a digital ARC from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions. This review is scheduled for a October 23rd book tour on my blog. It will cross post to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on that date.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    The Lighthouse Witches is a scintillating, inventive and thoroughly enthralling gothic thriller full of chills, twists and family drama and is a story steeped in a rich and unsettling atmosphere in which two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared, and it appears that the secrets of the witches have managed to reach across the centuries. When in 1998 single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural i The Lighthouse Witches is a scintillating, inventive and thoroughly enthralling gothic thriller full of chills, twists and family drama and is a story steeped in a rich and unsettling atmosphere in which two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found--but she's still the same age as when she disappeared, and it appears that the secrets of the witches have managed to reach across the centuries. When in 1998 single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a somewhat dilapidated 100-year-old lighthouse known as The Longing on the remote Scottish island of Lòn Haven, it's an opportunity to start over with her three daughters--Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. But when two of her daughters go missing, she's frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed. Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she's initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers--except she's still only seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling and has very few memories of her time on the island, but she'll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. However, she doesn't realise just how much the truth will change her. This is a riveting, absorbing and unputdownable thriller, teeming with originality and tinged with both occultism and the haunting traces of past lives that continue to come to the fore. The timeline is split into three distinct parts representing past and present - with one story strand set in the 17th century surrounding a grimoire book of spells and invocations, another from the perspective of the family in 1998 when drama abounds and the third and final, in present-day with Luna. An ideal read for the autumn days when the light nights are diminishing and the dark envelops us faster than ever, this is a tale rich in history, mystery, folklore, superstition, magic, myth and legends of old, made all the eerier by the isolated and deeply evocative setting which becomes a character in its own right and is brought to life as the pages turn through the vivid descriptions. Woven in a beautiful yet terrifying fashion, the narrative bursts at the seams with palpable tension, a seething menace and creepy, insidious and darkly ominous overtones making this an intense, compulsive and heart-thumping read from beginning to denouement. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ness

    4.25★ the lighthouse witches is an enchanting and thrilling tale, bristling with magic and inspired by nordic folklore and gothic tales, weaving together a web of compelling characters going through harrowing events that will leave you aghast. the story is told in multiple perspectives through 2 different timelines; it tells a story of a mother (olivia) and her 3 daughters (sapphire, luna and clover) so we follow liv and saffy in 1998 as well as luna in 2021. back in 1998, two of the daughters 4.25★ the lighthouse witches is an enchanting and thrilling tale, bristling with magic and inspired by nordic folklore and gothic tales, weaving together a web of compelling characters going through harrowing events that will leave you aghast. the story is told in multiple perspectives through 2 different timelines; it tells a story of a mother (olivia) and her 3 daughters (sapphire, luna and clover) so we follow liv and saffy in 1998 as well as luna in 2021. back in 1998, two of the daughters go missing, and years later in 2021, one of them is found frozen in time. and i absolutely devoured it! this was such a spellbinding read, easily hooked me from the beginning and kept me entertained (and creeped out) through exceptional storytelling. few books satisfy me with the alternating timelines, let alone that plus multiple perspectives. this one hit just right! it was intriguing and i was never bored. the writing is really good and fits this story fantastically. it took me a little bit to get used to it, but the pacing quickly felt right and carried the story along. the narration was fantastic as well, a great cast of eva feiler, lesley harcourt, jess nealing and joshua manning helped keep me entranced in the world of this book and i loved every second of it. an atmospheric gothic tale that was so much fun to read — highly recommend for halloween season for the creepy horror vibes and lovers of legends, myths, witches and curses! content warning: physical, mental, and sexual abuse. — thank you to harper collins + harper collins audio for providing me with an e-arc and audiobook through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Was questioning my enjoyment when the novel started at a slow pace, but it started to rack up! All I know is that C.J. Cooke is very talented at writing gothic settings and the atmosphere alone should be enough to get you to pick up this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Norma

    Loved it!! Atmospheric, mysterious, and absolutely unputdownable!! This book is exactly the reason why I love to read. It was beautiful, chilling, spooky, witchy and gripping!! THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES immediately grabbed my attention and held taut right to the very end. I loved the witchy supernatural thriller aspect to the storyline. It was perfect! The ending was so darn satisfying and brilliantly creative. I was thoroughly impressed with this one and give it high praises!! Thank you so much to N Loved it!! Atmospheric, mysterious, and absolutely unputdownable!! This book is exactly the reason why I love to read. It was beautiful, chilling, spooky, witchy and gripping!! THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES immediately grabbed my attention and held taut right to the very end. I loved the witchy supernatural thriller aspect to the storyline. It was perfect! The ending was so darn satisfying and brilliantly creative. I was thoroughly impressed with this one and give it high praises!! Thank you so much to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and C. J. Cooke. It was an absolute delight reading this book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Expanding on the same logic that posits that any technology sufficiently advanced will be undistinguishable from magic, any magic sufficiently advanced can be deemed black magic. And punished accordingly. Aha. And you thought it was just another witches story. I requested this book immediately upon finding it on Netgalley, because I really liked Cooke’s The Nesting. It was an excellent suspense thriller that flirted with the supernatural. With this book the flirtation is over. Cooke decided she l Expanding on the same logic that posits that any technology sufficiently advanced will be undistinguishable from magic, any magic sufficiently advanced can be deemed black magic. And punished accordingly. Aha. And you thought it was just another witches story. I requested this book immediately upon finding it on Netgalley, because I really liked Cooke’s The Nesting. It was an excellent suspense thriller that flirted with the supernatural. With this book the flirtation is over. Cooke decided she liked it and put a ring on it. Funny thing, though, because I was kind of expecting the same thing and because I’ve been reading so many thrillers, my brain was desperately to sort out the plot with pure logic of the real world…something the book contravened at every turn. There are some things you can rationalize, some things you can explain and that there’s finding your baby sister that’s been missing for 22 years and have her still be the same age as she was when she disappeared. Which is exactly how the novel begins, with the 31 year old Luna receiving the most welcome and yet strangest of news. Luna is just one of the three hippieishly named babies of Liv and once upon a time liv took all her babies to a small Scottish island under the guise of an art commission, but really as more of a desperate getaway from life. The island as it turns out has had a long storied past with witches and wildlings. The kind of past that has echoed throughout the years and well into the present. And Liv steps right in the middle of it. Madness ensues. The novel jumps timelines and narrators quite freely, but not too dizzyingly, to weave a fascinating sum total tapestry of superstition, magic and…one more thing that’s a surprise and won’t be revealed in this review. Suffice it to say there are plenty of books about witches and there are plenty of books about wildlings/changelings. I’ve read a bunch of them. None of them have the twist this book does. And for someone to produce something so wildly fresh and original in a fairly clichéd done to death genre is no small feat. So many kudos to the author. And it is precisely that originality that makes it easy to overlook some logistical snafus, like most things adult Luna does. From her inexplicable aversion to marrying her beloved baby daddy to her perfect acceptance of her unchanged baby sister. But then again, this is speculative fiction, so a certain suspense of disbelief is definitionally required. I just really loved the fact that it was impossible to figure out until it was explained, for the truth of this story is much, much stranger than fiction…as it were. Plus the writing’s excellent. Great characters and once again, much like in The Nesting, there’s a very potent place presence. There’s an unusual building (this time the old lighthouse) and there’s the unusual place, a Neolithic Scottish village that marches to the beat of its own weird drum and both are so well rendered, they in fact become characters themselves. All good, very good. Made for a very exciting, engaging read. The difficult to put down kind. A must read for fans of dark supernatural thrillers. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Set over two timelines and told from three perspectives – mother Liv and eldest daughter Sapphire in 1998 and middle daughter Luna in 2021, The Lighthouse Witches is a haunting and atmospheric story set on a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven. Liv is an artist and has been engaged by the reclusive current owner to paint a mural on the inside of the Island’s lighthouse ‘The Longing’ – she is also fleeing from something, at the time we don’t know what; a decision which has fractured her family. The Set over two timelines and told from three perspectives – mother Liv and eldest daughter Sapphire in 1998 and middle daughter Luna in 2021, The Lighthouse Witches is a haunting and atmospheric story set on a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven. Liv is an artist and has been engaged by the reclusive current owner to paint a mural on the inside of the Island’s lighthouse ‘The Longing’ – she is also fleeing from something, at the time we don’t know what; a decision which has fractured her family. The lighthouse is in a dilapidated condition and has a history of witch huntings attached to it, as too have other parts of the island. It’s clearly somewhere with a strange unwelcoming vibe. The author has seamlessly woven a story between the past and the present involving witch’s curses, wildlings, superstition and folklore that has kept the villagers living in fear since 1662. When an ancient book belonging to the descendant of an islander, a ‘Grimoire’ is discovered which details the witch hunts and the unjust treatment meted out to those suspected of witchcraft, the creep factor goes up even more as the actions of the accusers and retaliation of those accused will cast their shadows on the island for generations. The characters are well fleshed out with Liv having her own problems to cope with as well as trying to keep her family together. Despite some of the villagers appearing welcoming there is a sinister undercurrent and it certainly wouldn’t be anywhere I’d want to stay. Liv brushes off some of the rumours however she is no match for the ghosts of the past and Luna finds herself the only one of the family left. Her story in 2021 is one that will both shock and surprise as she returns to the place where she lost her entire family to try and find out what really happened. What is clear that even in these modern times, the old stories and rumours are still believed by some. Superbly constructed. Dark, chilling and thoroughly engrossing whether or not you believe in the fantastical. It would be a great read at any time but with Halloween coming up, this would be perfect. Definitely recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)

    What I loved: -The multiple POVs and timelines -The whole premise was unique and I loved the elements of witches and wildlings -Felt well researched -Patrick’s grimoire What I didn’t love: -The first chapter was a slog -I think more could have been done with the ending, it felt a little rushed and like an information dump -I loved the parts about the wildlings and would have loved more of them! Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I especially loved the elements of folklore, the mixed timelines, a What I loved: -The multiple POVs and timelines -The whole premise was unique and I loved the elements of witches and wildlings -Felt well researched -Patrick’s grimoire What I didn’t love: -The first chapter was a slog -I think more could have been done with the ending, it felt a little rushed and like an information dump -I loved the parts about the wildlings and would have loved more of them! Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I especially loved the elements of folklore, the mixed timelines, and the whole mystery of the island and the wildlings. There were parts where my attention wavered a bit, but I think the mix of narrators and timelines helped to refocus me. The whole tone of the novel was extremely well done and created such a sense of foreboding. I totally bought into the legend of the wildlings and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Stay family had me completely perplexed. I was drawn to Luna’s present day story and thought it was a great compliment to the 1998 storyline. If you enjoy modern stories laced with history and magic then I definitely recommend this one! Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a copy of this novel.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vikki Patis

    There was no doubt in my mind that I would love this book. Witches, an isolated Scottish Island, secrets which echo through the years. But I had no idea just how twisty and dark this story would become. Without giving too much away, it reminded me of the Netflix show Dark, with its complex plot and gothic themes. The beautifully described Lon Haven and The Longing come alive as characters in their own right, the legacy of the witches burned centuries before. The Lighthouse Witches is a dark, hau There was no doubt in my mind that I would love this book. Witches, an isolated Scottish Island, secrets which echo through the years. But I had no idea just how twisty and dark this story would become. Without giving too much away, it reminded me of the Netflix show Dark, with its complex plot and gothic themes. The beautifully described Lon Haven and The Longing come alive as characters in their own right, the legacy of the witches burned centuries before. The Lighthouse Witches is a dark, haunting tale which made my heart race and kept me up at night, desperately turning the pages. Alongside themes of feminism, motherhood and redemption, I definitely sensed an underlying theme of fear and how it can affect our lives. We often hear the term 'hysteria' with regard to witch trials, and you can feel the islanders' hysteria whenever they suspect a wildling has darkened their door. And behind hysteria is, often, fear. I won't speculate on the author's intentions, but we are living in an age where people can get whipped up into a frenzy and find themselves on certain paths, and the behaviour of the islanders is reflective of that. If we ever wonder how we could have burned women at the stake, we only need to look at how fear motivates us today and what we could do to make ourselves feel safe, even if there is nothing to be afraid of.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Renee Godding

    4.5/5 stars If you're still looking for your perfect October-witchy-read: look no further... You have found it. Witches, changelings, elements of Scottish folklore and a vividly spooky setting, all woven together seamlessly make Where The Lighthouse Witches my favourite Halloween release of 2021 so far. Scotland, 1998. Liv, single mother of three daughters is commissioned to paint a mural in an abandoned lighthouse on a remote isle just off shore. What begins as an opportunity for a fresh start 4.5/5 stars If you're still looking for your perfect October-witchy-read: look no further... You have found it. Witches, changelings, elements of Scottish folklore and a vividly spooky setting, all woven together seamlessly make Where The Lighthouse Witches my favourite Halloween release of 2021 so far. Scotland, 1998. Liv, single mother of three daughters is commissioned to paint a mural in an abandoned lighthouse on a remote isle just off shore. What begins as an opportunity for a fresh start for her and her family soon takes an ominous turn. The lighthouse, as well as the cave-network below it, are saturated with dark history and sinister folktales: witches, curses and wildlings have left their mark on the place for centuries now. Any doubts on their validity are shattered when first her two young daughters, and then Liv herself, vanish without a trace. Scottish shores, 2021. Luna has been looking for her sisters and mum for over twenty years. Then one day, she receives a call that her youngest sister has been found near the lighthouse where she disappeared. Only she hasn’t aged a day since she was last seen… Is this girl really her sister? Is she a changeling from the folktales Luna grew up with? In order to find out, she has to return to the lighthouse, to unearth the secrets that linger there once and for all. Where The Lighthouse Witches has all the ingredients to make for my perfect Halloween-read, and mixes them together in its cauldron to become even more than the sum of its parts. Told in three timelines (the witch-hunt of 1662 that started it all, the vanishings of 1998, and “return” of 2021), this story sucked me into its mystery, its atmospheric setting and its Gothic imagery from page one, and kept me on the edge of my seat with anticipating and suspense throughout. Although I already enjoyed Cookes previous novel The Nesting, I feel they’ve grown so much as an author since. Where The Lighthouse Witches matches its predecessor in creepy atmosphere, it has has tighter and sharper prose, pitch perfect pacing and a much more vivid and likable cast of characters. It also incorporates some elements of different subgenres to elevate it above your “typical horror novel”. Even though it’s still early in the month, this has to be my favourite Halloween release of the year so far, and I can’t recommend it enough. Where The Lighthouse Witches is available in print, as well as in audio-format, both of which I can highly recommend. For full immersion points, I suggest a dark room on a stormy night; letting the excellent narration and the Scottish accents carry you away to the foggy shores... Many thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Loved this. I'm going to call it Folklore Noir - a dark fairytale encompassing some beautifully drawn characters, a darkly intriguing plot and an absolutely gripping narrative. The writing is lovely, properly immersive, it draws you in from the very start and the story itself with its past present vibe and oddly empowering plot is intelligent and compelling. Really great. A terrific read. Loved this. I'm going to call it Folklore Noir - a dark fairytale encompassing some beautifully drawn characters, a darkly intriguing plot and an absolutely gripping narrative. The writing is lovely, properly immersive, it draws you in from the very start and the story itself with its past present vibe and oddly empowering plot is intelligent and compelling. Really great. A terrific read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    kayleigh ❁

    ⭑⭑⭑⭑.5 4.5 stars How to describe The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke... It's a mysterious gothic horror dripping in mythology and history and cannot be confined to one genre. The plot is complex and intriguing the entire way through. There were a few times where I muttered 'wow', 'wait, what?!' and 'nooo'. This book contains the history of the Scottish burning of the witches, which were the worst in Europe (I have now learnt thank you, author) and Cooke has gifted these wronged people stories that ⭑⭑⭑⭑.5 4.5 stars How to describe The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke... It's a mysterious gothic horror dripping in mythology and history and cannot be confined to one genre. The plot is complex and intriguing the entire way through. There were a few times where I muttered 'wow', 'wait, what?!' and 'nooo'. This book contains the history of the Scottish burning of the witches, which were the worst in Europe (I have now learnt thank you, author) and Cooke has gifted these wronged people stories that help them live forever. Cooke acknowledges the fact that the families of the accused were left with no body, no real burial site, and tarnished reputations by suspicious neighbours. This harsh dose of reality is coupled with myth and curses that plague the Scottish town the characters are staying in. The result is a dark, complex story guilty of swallowing readers whole and spitting them out hours into the future after completing the book. If you like witches, gothic settings, a tinge of horror, a bucket load of mystery, creepy lighthouses, and scary children; this is the book for you.

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