Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review of The Girls of Lighthouse Lane #1: Katherine's Story

The Girls of Lighthouse Lane: Katherine's Story
Authors: Erika Tamar and Thomas Kinkade
Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)
Hardcover, 176 pages, $12.99
ISBN-10: 0060543418
ISBN-13: 9780060543419

In 1905 New England, thirteen-year old Katherine Williams loves life in the quaint village of Cape Light. Known to her friends as Kat, she dreams of one day being a famous artist living in a big city.

Kat's father is a lighthouse keeper and Kat helps with many of the lighthouse duties. Each night she takes the first watch from dusk until midnight. When the light fails during a storm, Kat is instrumental in helping a Boston couple avoid a shipwreck. The couple is so grateful for Kat's help that they arrange an invitation to a prestigious art school in Boston for the girl. Tuition is expensive, though, and Kat's parents cannot afford it. However, if Kat can come up with half of the tuition fee, her parents will pay the other half.

With the help of her friend Amanda and her cousin Lizabeth, Kat tries to earn her half of the money. After two failed entrepreneurial attempts, Kat has success selling hand-painted wrapping paper to several local shops. This allows her to earn her half of the tuition fee. When an unexpected expense leaves her father unable to pay the rest, Kat is furious at her parents. She makes a rash decision that could cost her something far more precious than just the chance to attend art school -- it could cost her her life.

Erika Tamar captures the ups and downs of teenage emotions very well, unfortunately this meant that Kat's character irritated me for most of the book. With each poor decision that she made, I found her more difficult to like. However, Cape Light is a very charming setting and the friendship between the three girls seems genuine. Inspired by the paintings of Thomas Kinkade, this entertaining and wholesome series will likely appeal to young girls.

Rating: 6/10.

Buy Catherine's Story:
Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon


  1. This is a very interesting selection of lighthouse themed books.

    I understand your sentiments when you said that Kat's poor decisions irritated you for most of the book. Some book are just like that....

    I guess realism can go a little too far.

  2. Thanks, Nathan. I'm helping compile an annotated bibliography of children's lighthouse books, so I'll have many lighthouse themed reviews in the next few weeks in addition to the ones already posted.

    I think my main issue with Kat was that I was "reading like an adult", something I try to avoid a bit with middle grade and YA books. At 27, I'm still young enough to vividly remember what it was like to be a teenager, but just old enough to look back at myself and think, "What was I thinking?!" I think if I were reading this at say, age 12 or 13, I probably would have sympathized and identified with Kat a lot more than I did at age 27.

  3. I read it at about Kat's age, so my emotions were certainly in the same line as hers, when she was furious, so was I. This is such an adorable little series, we get each of the girl's point of view. It needs a lot more attention. Any other books of the like? Cape Town is such a cute place. 10 stars for sure.