- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd (February 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780881169
* Author provided a copy of Middle Watch in exchange for a fair and honest review
Middle Watch is a time when a man alone on a lighthouse in those wee small hours feels he's the only person in the world. A man awake and alone in the darkness of the night has time to think, and sometimes those thoughts turn towards revenge and hate. Bridie O'Neill was taken in as a baby by Dad Joe, whom she adores as if he were her real father. Unfortunately, Joe is away at sea most of the time and Bridie has grown up under the thumb of his mean-spirited wife, Millie, and her two bullying sons. The only joy in her life comes from the beautiful coastline near their home and Joe's occasional visits. When things come to a head between Bridie and Millie, Joe realises he needs to take Bridie - and himself - away from his poisonous wife. He starts a job as a lighthouse keeper at Longships Light. Bridie's life is transformed by this new life close to the wild Cornish seas. There she meets the dark, brooding Ryan, son of the Principal Keeper. The two young people fall deeply in love with one another. But Joe's family are not ready to let Bridie go. She is haunted by the idea that Millie will come after her, and Joe's older son Jim is starting to look at Bridie with a most unbrotherly interest. Wanting to escape the emotional turmoil and prove herself, Bridie sets out on her own to find work in London - but her actions set forth a chain of events that will end in tragedy on a lonely lighthouse amongst the crashing waves of the sea...
My Thoughts'Whenever I saw the sea, I had to go close to it. It lured me with its sounds, the tumbling, rushing waves, the roar of its incessant motion. Frightening, majestic, terrible, it never stopped, it was never still, yet looking out over its vastness, I felt stillness in my soul.' Bridie O'Neill
Told from the first person perspective, narrator and heroine Bridie O'Neill is adopted as a baby after the death of her parents. Unfortunately, Bridie's new family is a dysfunctional and abusive one. Her one 'shining light' and beacon of hope rests in her adopted father, whom she lovingly calls 'Dad Joe'. Once settled on the Cornish coast, it is Cornwall that serves as Bridie's protector while Dad Joe works as a lighthouse keeper.
Before too long she meets and falls in love with Ryan and as her confidence and trust grows, she is haunted by the fear that Joe's wife Millie will come after her forcing her to return to her old abusive childhood. She escapes to London finding work and hoping to escape all her emotional problems. What she doesn't realize and the reader soon discovers is what she has set in motion...she may not be able to stop!
Loretta Proctor has beautifully written a heartwarming family saga where the reader roots for Bridie, Dad Joe and you actually have sympathy for jealous and angry Millie; instead of hating her. This is down to the clever storytelling of Loretta Proctor. What she has done is to write another psychological drama of tragedy and intrigue. Bridie's isolation symbolized in the metaphor of a lighthouse is juxtaposed against a rugged coastline and a plot complete with so much love and beauty that you cannot stop reading! I enjoyed every word of Middle Watch. The characters are interesting and lovable and the story is tragic yet haunting!
The pace picks up once Bridie O'Neill moves to London and Dad Joe works as a lighthouse keeper but I do not want to give everything away.
It is important for the reader to understand Bridie's childhood in order to appreciate the rest of her life's upheavals.
I highly recommend Middle Watch and look forward to Loretta Proctor's next novel.
Please feel free to leave any questions or comments,