Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Publisher: Ballantine
Date published: July 27, 2010
ISBN: 978-0345520548
Historical Fiction, paranormal
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by publisher

Daughter of Robert Stevenson, grandfather of famed Robert Louis Stevenson, Sara has a quick mind and a strong will. When she spies a bony young man, a man she refers to as "golden" and her Adonis, coming from her father's office her heart is lost. She soon finds herself with her father, the Lighthouse Board, and her golden man on a ship, visiting several notable locales. Bit by bit Sara comes to know Thomas Crichton as a man and her lover. When they return home to Edinborough Sara and Thomas consummate their relationship. Before they can wed, Thomas disappears and the truth of Sara's pregnancy becomes known to her parents. Her father wastes no time banishing her to far away Cape Wrath lighthouse along with her companion, Kate and Kate's husband. There they meet William Campbell who Sara initially finds surly and revolting. Bit by bit though, the foursome form a peculiar bond and the truth of what happened to Thomas is made plain to Sara. With the birth of Thomas' son she learns just how far Thomas has traveled to tell her he loves her one last time.

William finds himself torn between his own broken heart, his duty to the lighthouse and the task set upon him by Sara's father. Hidden activities take place in Cape Wrath and he must walk a fine line between what is right and what he must do.

I was drawn to Darci Hannah's THE EXILE OF SARA STEVENSON for several reasons. I am fascinated with lighthouses and with one featured in this story I couldn't resist. I enjoyed the movie The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. When I read the back cover blurb it seemed to be a similar plot line as that marvelous film. I'm also a fan of time travels and there were hints of one in the blurb for the book.

I set my expectations too high. Part of my problem is that I'm not a fan of first person writing. While it seems an easy point of view to write in, it is difficult to do well. Far too often first person point of view seems to deteriorate into a series of "I, I, I, I" and takes on the feeling of reading someone's none too interesting diary. That is how most of the book read to me. I didn't find Sara very interesting or likeable. I liked Kate even less although at the end we learn why she was so hard to warm up to. However, when I mentally changed all the "I's" to "she" or "Sara" I found the story a bit more interesting.

The ending was well done with a few more twists and turns than I expected. The final pages are told from Alexander Seawell's point of view in the third person and that portion of the book was wonderful. I felt drawn into his story and wished more had been told from his point of view.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a twist, a pinch of gothic romance, the flavor of a ghost story and first person writing THE EXILE OF SARA STEVENSON should take its place on your to be read pile.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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