Reviewed by me for Reader’s Favorite.
Although horror is not my genre, the plot of Beneath the Lighthouse by Julieanne Lynch intrigued me enough to read it. I am delighted to report that this is more than a horror story. Beneath the Lighthouse has many ingredients of a fascinating read. I was hooked from the beginning to the end and I couldn’t get enough. The story revolves around Jamie McGuiness, a teenage boy, and his family – his mom (Sonya), his dad (Jack), and his siblings. Jamie is fed up with his father getting drunk and beating his ma (Sonya) all the time. He is frustrated with himself for not being able to stand up to his dad and with his mother for keeping up with Jack’s spiteful violence. Jamie’s family was not always this messed up. Jack was a good dad to the kids and he used to respect and love Sonya. Something snapped inside of him when his daughter, Emer, was found dead. The case was marked as an accident; however, Jamie never believed it to be an accident. Anyway, since that day, Jack’s behavior changed completely towards his family. He became a violent drunk. Jamie became even more introvert than ever. He began questioning everything, feeling guilty for not being able to take care of his sister, and sulking about his family’s current situation. While he was struggling with his negative thought, the only place that soothed him a tad — the lighthouse where Emer’s dead body was found — became the source of an even bigger problem for him. A trapped soul, Ileana, noticed him and decided to make him her savior. Becoming her savior might bring some answers to Jamie but, what he doesn’t know is, the cost of these answers might not be an easy one.
Beneath the Lighthouse has several layers and that’s what makes it an exciting book to read. When a woman surrenders herself to an abusive partner, she, unwillingly, puts her whole family at risk. Her abusive partner may or may not be physically tormenting all her kids, but just witnessing their mother getting the beating of her life triggers something inside of her kids. Jamie and his siblings became first-hand witnesses to their mom’s swollen eyes and bruised face and that only terrified them but also changed them — esp. Jamie. Although he was not the one hurting his mother, he felt responsible for not being able to save her from his dad. This is not how a kid should feel. Fortunately, Jamie has a best friend to share his problems with. BY introducing this friend, the author has very cleverly inserted one more layer into the story — the importance of a good friend.
The horror part of Beneath the Lighthouse is spread evenly throughout the story. Since the moment Ileana entered, she brought a feeling of dread, unpredictability, anger, and — unexpectedly enough — hope with her. I could not decide whether she would help Jamie finally take a stand against his father or would become another problem for Jamie. The author is definitely an expert in writing paranormal fiction and that was evident in the way she chose words and wrote goosebumps producing horror scenes. The paranormal lovers would definitely enjoy Beneath the Lighthouse and they would remain at the edge of their seats because of all the twists and intrigue of the plot.