PETER AHEARN HAS RETURNED. He disappeared more than thirty-five years ago from his post as lighthouse keeper on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. But his mind has been ravaged by dementia, and no one knows what happened to him or why until his nephew, Mark Valente, discovers a journal Peter kept during the 1970s. Just when Renata Raposo is beginning to get her life back on track, Mark shows up with Peter’s journal. It chronicles the troubled light keeper’s life of struggle and isolation, his passionate love affair with the beautiful yet tormented young Renata…and an astonishing confession. But Mark is stunned when Renata denies an affair ever took place, and he is left to question whether anything his uncle wrote is true. Now he must connect past to present, and piece together a picture of what really happened decades before. …And he must grapple with his own burgeoning infatuation with the now middle-aged, enigmatic beauty
Ebook given to me by the author in exchange for a review.
The first part of the book covers several stories from Maeme coming to the US to get married, through Peter going off to Vietnam and finally Mark becoming aware of his now elderly uncle Peter reappearing after 35 years, sick and suffering with dementia. These threads start coming together in the second act as Mark reads the log book from Peter’s time at the lighthouse, as he recovers from the fallout from the war. He tracks down Maeme’s daughter Renata, who challenges Mark’s newly formed perceptions of what went on. (To say any more would require a spoiler alert!).
This is a bitter sweet story, with each person facing disappointments and having to deal with them in order to get on with their lives. Things dont always work out like people hoped (or how other people think it should). The three different threads are handled well, and come together effectively. The log book tells of a person suffering the after effects of a war he ultimately regretted fighting, and that his country never really recovered from fighting, and the story details some of the lasting effects of what that suffering does to someone. Ultimately, patience and friendship (and love) win through during Peter’s recovery.
This is a difficult review to write without giving too much away of the story line. Am I glad I read it? Yes, certainly. Who would I recommend it to? Someone looking for a gentle romance, with more than a little hope thrown in.