Book Review: "The Lightkeeper's Ball" by Colleen Coble

Summary from Olivia Stewart's family is one of the Four Hundred-the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt-and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they're forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement-she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.

I was rather disappointed with this story. Olivia's character is quite weak. I did not sympathize or feel anything for her at all. She didn't seem too distraught over her sister's death. Pretty much she came across as a rich girl to me. Harrison isn't too much better. His nickname for Olivia was rather annoying. He too came across as rIt really annoyed me at how fast the two "fall in love." Harrison doesn't even know Olivia's true first name, never mind her entire identity. They proclaim how much they love each other but they barely know each other. There's a lot of lies and deceit between the two of them that everything seemed so soap opera-ish with how they were acting. Their reconciliation comes too quickly and neither is as mad as they really should have been. The mystery didn't really keep my attention either. When the resolution finally happens, I wasn't really too concerned anymore.

I honestly do not get why there is a common thread running through all of these books where men end up having relationships with sisters. It's something that I immediately noticed as soon as I read the first book in the series. In the first book when it came up, I was a bit taken aback but shrugged it off. When it happened again in the 2nd book, I was like, this again? With this book, I was just waiting for it to happen and sure enough...BOOM. Call me weird, but I would not want to marry any guy who had a relationship with my sisters.

This makes me sad to say this because I normally love Coble's books. In fact the first book in the series was very enjoyable and I thought the mystery woven in the historical setting was done perfectly. However as the series went on, I felt that there were major things that did not go well with the stories and characters were lacking depth. After reading all the books, I hate to say this but I'm not sure if historical romances are the right fit for Coble. Her contemporary suspense stories are her forte and I hope she continues to write more in that genre.

That being said, I absolutely love the cover of this book. I'm a huge fan of dresses like this and I love seeing them on covers and this is one of the first Christian fiction covers to showcase a dress like this. I hope the industry pays more attention to the praise the cover is getting and puts out more like this!

The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble is published by Thomas Nelson (2011)

This review copy was provided by a publicist

Other books in the Mercy Falls series that I've reviewed:

The Lightkeeper's Bride
(Book 2)


  1. I couldn't agree with you more. I had high expectations for this series but it fell flat.


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