Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
After the passing of her mother, a young woman unexpectedly uncovers a dark secret in the suspenseful romance novel, The Thirteenth Lighthouse, by Jane O'Brien. Belle discovers her mother's body when she returns to the hotel they share, forever changing life as she knows it. Having lived a nomadic lifestyle with Karen, her energetic and artistic mother, Belle is left alone without friends to share her grief and help her cope. Making the arrangements for Karen's body, Belle finds a phone number for her delinquent father among her mother's personal belongings. Apprehensively, she calls her father to inform him of Karen's death. He is surprised at her call and reveals to Belle that, although he raised her as an infant, he isn't her father. He also discloses that the name she is using and the birth date she goes by are different and incorrect. Shocked and confused, Belle isn't sure what to do with these disturbing new discoveries.
With no one to guide her, Belle makes the decision to set aside the unsettling information for the moment. She chooses to continue on the path she and her mother traveled, moving across Michigan from one lighthouse to another. Belle is searching for the lighthouse where she can feel her mother's presence. Belle believes Karen's spirit will lead her to the place where she wishes Belle to spread her ashes. On her journey, Belle meets several people who have a significant bearing on her past and could ultimately affect her future. Each of them holds a small key to the mystery of Belle's unusual life. Who is she and where did she come from? Is it possible, after a lifetime of isolation, that Belle will find love and companionship?
The Thirteenth Lighthouse by Jane O'Brien is an inspiring and enchanting fiction novel. It is a heartwarming story that leads the reader from the ashes of death and deception to the restoration of life and love. I found the story surrounding Belle's mysterious origins enticing, rendering it impossible for me to put the book down. Belle's character is easy to identify with, and I found myself urging her towards new directions, as she struggled to understand the new concepts regarding her identity. The intriguing plot takes the reader on the journey with Belle, seeking answers to questions she never knew existed. This story affirms faith, the belief that miracles do happen, and that love shows up at the most unexpected times. This is an entrancing story, and I recommend it to those who love romance novels with a foundation based on faith. A marvelous story that is well-written and well-formatted. It is a five-star novel.