Thursday, August 5, 2010
When it comes to magnificent structures, lighthouses have got it all...they are majestic, historic, mysterious, and romantic. Solitary protectors, beacons of hope. That is why I'm so enchanted with them, and what originally drew me to Pam Ripling (pen-named Anne Carter). Pam loves her lighthouses, and began weaving them into her writing projects with Point Surrender, a story of love, ghosts, and a lighthouse.
Rebecca Burke is a successful photojournalist with her sights set on featuring the crumbling and decaying Dragon Rock Lighthouse in an upcoming publication. It is surrounded with a colorful and mysterious past...it was the location of a 1940's romance thriller film called "Cape Seduction", which starred an promising actress named Darla Foster. Strangely, it was soon after the shooting of the film that Darla was last seen alive.
Matt Farralone is the handsome lawyer who represents the current owner of the lighthouse (and friends with Amy and Case from Point Surrender, who make a cameo appearance). Matt is charged with ensuring no one sets foot near the property, which inspires Rebecca to cook up a crazy scheme to bamboozle him. What she didn't count on was actually LIKING the guy (but let's face it, we the readers can see it coming a mile away!). She also didn't count on the paranormal-like visions of a beautiful, young, dark-haired woman who seems to be compelling her to get inside that lighthouse at all costs.
We are transported back and forth through time, from the current day with Rebecca and Matt, to 1948, when the movie Cape Seduction was being filmed. Darla's slightly kooky but childlike presence, her ambitious desire to become a star, and her fateful relationship with her dashing co-star Jordan Kent is slowly revealed to us. And all the while, there is an ominous undercurrent - we know things are going to go well for this misguided but charming young woman.
Reading a paranormal romance is a real departure from my typical fare, but it was pure enjoyment! The paranormal aspects are subtle - just enough to give you a little tingle. The romance isn't too sweet, but with lots of chemistry. I will warn you that the romantic plot is predictable and full of outlandish coincidences, worthy of an eye-roll and some out-loud commentary. This didn't deter me nearly as much as it should have though, because the characters were interesting and likable. The real star of the show here, and the reason why I continue to think about this novel long after I've finished, is the lighthouse.
The Dragon Rock Lighthouse was inspired by the real-life St. George Reef Lighthouse in Northern California. The lighthouse sits on a reef six miles from the coast, built in the late 1800's, and is only accessible by helicopter. (This is the only off-shore lighthouse in the world with public access. You can visit via helicopter for $195pp.) You can only imagine the misadventure that could occur in such a location, with its isolation and exposure to the crashing waves. The atmosphere doesn't get any more tangible and more memorable.
If I didn't know better, I'd think that the ghost of Darla was beckoning me to visit.
4 out of 5 stars