June 1880 -- Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island -- Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?
Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.
Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III's wild living has gained him a reputation as the 'bad boy' among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.
Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they're married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel's mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.
The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she's ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, since he discovers he's not really her husband?
A resounding conclusion to the Beacon of Hope series. I love the way the author honoured female lighthouse keepers in these books. Such an unusual angle for a historical romance. And there's something so alluring about life in the old lighthouses!
Abbie and Nathaniel's story is fraught with sorrow and complications that seem insurmountable. Just when I felt a glimmer of hope it would be dashed as sure as the waves against Rose Island's rocky shoreline. And, oh my goodness, but Hedlund kept me on tenterhooks the entire read.
I admire Abbie's gumption when it comes to eking out a living while tending to her ailing grandfather. Her dedication is both commendable and alarming. And that's because it clouds her judgment and infringes on Nathaniel's rights. He washes up on shore, injured with no idea of who he is or how he got there. Yes, Abbie rescues him, but in a sense she holds him hostage by allowing him to believe he's her husband because it plays into a wild and desperate scheme to help her grandfather. I had such a hard time justifying her actions the longer the pretense went on and that made it hard for me to cheer on their blossoming romance. To be fair to Abbie, she tried to keep her distance but Nathaniel isn't easy to ignore. :-)
He has a vague disquiet about the kind of man he once was and grasps this opportunity for a second chance to be the kind of man Abbie can be proud of. He reconnects with his faith and there's a beautiful inspirational thread that celebrates the power of forgiveness and God's loving grace.
And then it all comes tumbling down as I knew it would and things get a whole lot worse before they get better and there were twists that truly gutted me so I'm a bit of an emotional wreck now that I've reached the end. An emotionally charged conclusion to an awesome series.
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