#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · historical fiction · romance

Book Review: Keeper of the Light by Leanne Lovegrove

Title: Keeper of the Light

Author: Leanne Lovegrove

Published: September 27th 2020

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Pages: 284

Genres:  Fiction, Historical Romance

Rating: 4.5 stars


In 1952, Luca Moretti flees war-ravaged Italy and shipwrecks against the shores of Bruny Island, Tasmania. Esther Anderson is the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Her life is simple growing up on the isolated island community, and then an exotic visitor opens up the outside world to her and ignites her passion for life, and for Luca. Abruptly, her dreams of love are quashed, and when tragedy strikes, she’s forced to forge a new life in Hobart. Survival becomes the focus of her life until she and Luca reunite. Their love is more precious now, and together they find the strength to forge a new life.


Forbidden love, sacrifice and drama defines the latest release from Australian author Leanne Lovegrove. Keeper of the Light is my favourite novel in the Leanne Lovegrove collection. I was enthralled by the lead’s life story and her difficult pathway to happiness. Keeper of the Light is a wonderful read that will appeal to historical fiction and romance fans.

Opening in the year 1952, we meet Luca, a young Italian man who finds himself washed up on the shores of Tasmania’s majestic Bruny Island. On Bruny, Luca is acquainted with Esther Anderson, the local lighthouse keeper’s daughter and soon an affair ensues. However, when Luca is sent away and a family tragedy occurs soon after, Esther finds her life has changed beyond measure. Esther must pack her bags and start a new life on Tasmania’s mainland. Despite the love that still remains in her heart for Luca, Esther must make a difficult choice to help her family. With new demands, responsibilities and expectations, this couple must lead separate lives, but will they find each other again?

Leanne Lovegrove’s name has been on my books for some time. I have read a number of the author’s previous contemporary fiction titles and I enjoyed them all very much. Keeper of the Light delivers something a little different, it is a modern historical fiction tale that presents a story filled with all-encompassing love, heartbreak, personal sacrifice and resilience. It is an emotive read that will move many readers.

Esther Anderson is the title character of Leanne Lovegrove’s latest release. Esther is a naïve young woman, but she is also loyal, loving and she has a fighting spirit. It alarmed me that Esther was treated so badly by her own family and then later on in the novel by her spouse. With such cruel and unrelenting abuse inflicted on this poor woman, I’m surprised she managed to survive. Lovegrove opens our eyes to the general way of life, social practices, moral opinions and expectations of Australia in the 1950s. I can’t say I would like to have been woman in Esther’s position during this time, it sure was a tough way of living. I admired Esther’s resolve in the face of such adversity. Esther is supported by a solid cast of good and bad secondary characters who all illuminate this story further. Esther’s love interest Luca was a great character construction. Luca’s role in the story allows Lovegrove to successfully examine racism in Australia during the 1950s, with particular attention to migrant workers. It angered me that such attitudes existed during this era, but Lovegrove’s depiction was spot on.

My love affair with Tasmania continues and Keeper of the Light allowed me to indulge in a spot of page-to-page travel. I raced through the chapters of this relatively short novel, it was so easy to get lost in the lives of Lovegrove’s characters. Lovegrove conjures up a very atmospheric read in terms of setting. I loved the sequences set on Bruny Island. Likewise, the Hobart scenes were filled with history, real life events and keynotes places such as Cascade Brewery and Queen’s Elizabeth’s coronation tour of Australia. It is clear that Leanne Lovegrove has undertaken a significant amount of research to inform this highly engaging narrative. With plenty of ups and downs I was fully invested in this title, as I was keen to see how it would all pan out for the lead characters.

Spending time with Esther and Luca in Tasmania was exactly what I needed this week. If you are looking for a tale to take you away from the routines of everyday life, turn to Keeper of the Light for some much-needed time out!

Keeper of the Light by Leanne Lovegrove was published on 27th September 2020. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Keeper of the Light, Leanne Lovegrove, visit here.

*With thanks to the author, Leanne Lovegrove, for providing me with a copy of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.

Keeper of the Light is book #27 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge 

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