The Lighthouse on Moonglow Bay: A Novel

Image of The Lighthouse on Moonglow Bay: A Novel (Moonglow Cove, 3)
Release Date: 
March 15, 2022
William Morrow Paperbacks
Reviewed by: 

“a riveting tale of suspenseful mystery, with a dash of romance, tossed together with a strong desire to create a loving family where there has never been one.”

Harper Campbell loves her job in advertising and marketing in New York City. An A-type personality, she worked her way up the ladder, proving to be a real asset to the company. Her work keeps her hopping, giving her barely any time for a social life. It also occupies her mind, keeping her from thinking about her estranged sister, Flannery, whom she hasn't been in contact with for years.

Always wanting to help, Harper hires an assistant named Kalinda, who is down on her luck. Giving her access to her computer, Harper finds the girl posts disparaging comments about a client on Twitter under Harper's account. Though Harper did not post this tweet, she is blamed. Harper is fired immediately, despite all the time and effort she put into her employment. And,there is no contesting the dismissal.

Believing the world is crashing around her, Harper wonders what is in store for her future. She receives a call from a Mr. Grayson Cooper, informing her of her grandmother's death—a grandmother she never knew existed. He tells her Harper and Flannery are recipients of a valuable inheritance, insisting she come to her grandmother's cottage and lighthouse in Moonglow Bay, Texas.

Confounded by this new information, Harper realizes nothing is keeping her in the city, so she throws things together and flies to Texas, anxious about reconnecting with Flannery. The sisters fought at their mother's funeral six years prior, blaming each other for her death. They hurled nasty comments back and forth with the incredibly hateful one: "I never want to see you again!"

Flannery, the youngest, always looked up to Harper. Raised in a dysfunctional home by an abusive mother who had many husbands, they were very close. Harper mourns the loss of Flannery, and that's what made her career was so vital, for it took her mind off her pain.

Flannery is overwhelmed upon hearing of an inheritance and feels this is her chance to leave Alan, her abusive husband. She is also nervous upon seeing Harper. Harper learns nothing about Flannery through the long separation—especially of her marriage or her precious five-year-old daughter named Willow, wheelchair-bound with spina bifida.

The two lock eyes upon meeting, both suffering pangs of regret as well as unease. Welcoming them is an older woman introduced as their aunt Jonnie—another unknown relative. Jonnie is toting a ceramic crock, and all Harper can wonder is if it's their grandmother's ashes.

Grayson reads the will: "'To my granddaughters, Harper Lee and Flannery O'Connor, I leave the Campbell family one-hundred-fifty-year-old mother dough,' Grayson read.

"Sourdough? Their inheritance was a sourdough starter? If it hadn't been so ludicrous, Flannery would have burst out laughing.

"Here, she thought this insane inheritance was going to be her salvation. Her key out of her crappy marriage. Instead, she inherited sourdough. She didn't even know how to bake. What was she going to do with sourdough? She had to share it with her sister."

When Harper pipes up with the question is this is all they inherited, he reads: "'As far as the keeper's cottage and the lighthouse go, my granddaughters will inherit only if they complete a series of challenges in the allotted time frame. Otherwise, the property passes to the Moonglow Cove Historical Society.'"

A codicil states the dough—referred to as "the mother dough"—must be kept alive at all costs and preserved the same way it was 150 years ago when their ancestor began the starter after the lighthouse was built. The sisters must enter the annual Fourth of July Bake-Off, competing against each other. There are more stipulations, but they must complete this challenge in six weeks. If any rules are violated, their legacy is forfeited. If they achieve the goal, whoever scores the highest inherits everything.

Both Harper and Flannery need to win, for they have nowhere else to go. Harper is unemployed, and her name is now blacklisted in the industry, so she doubts she can find gainful employment. Though Flannery lacks money or skills and needs to care for Willow, she refuses to return to Alan.

Now, six years later, the siblings are thrown together. Will they mend their relationship? After all, they are all they have, except Aunt Jonnie, who is a stranger to them. Though their baking abilities leave a lot to be desired, they are determined to make this work.

Both Harper and Flannery offer their particular point-of-view in separate chapters. Not only are they dealing with estrangement when family secrets are divulged, but they are also shocked and angry. Can they carry on after skeletons in the closet are revealed and remain at the Bay? Will they ever be close again?

The main focus of this novel is a riveting tale of suspenseful mystery, with a dash of romance, tossed together with a strong desire to create a loving family where there has never been one.