Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: The Ghostlights by Grainne Murphy

Published: September 1st, 2021
Publisher: Legend Press
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this moving story. Thank you to Legend Press for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.



Can we ever truly escape our past?

The Ghostlights is the poignant story of a family of Irish women who are each looking for the real meaning of home. This is a novel about family, obligation, identity and small-town life, written with deftness and sensitivity by the author of Where the Edge Is.

When a stranger checks into a family B&B – in a small village in rural Ireland – no one takes too much notice… at least until his body is found in the lake four days later.

The identity of the unknown guest raises questions for polar opposite twin sisters Liv and Marianne and their mother Ethel, all of whom feel trapped by the choices they made earlier in life. They each find themselves forced to confront their past, their present and what they really want from their future.The new novel from Gráinne Murphy, whose short fiction has been longlisted for 2021 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award.



Can we choose to be forgotten? And just how do we want to be remembered when we’re gone? Those are the questions at the heart of this story.

Four days after checking into the B&B in Coolaroone, Fred Stille’s body is found in the lake.  The discovery and mystery surrounding him forces the family that runs the B&B to evaluate their own lives and legacy in this poignant tale.

This is a story about family, home and identity that explores love, guilt, resentment and forgiveness. Beautifully written, it tackles serious issues such as alcoholism and suicide in a way that is honest but sensitive, and adds a dash of humour to lighten the mood. 

Filled with very real characters who are easy to relate to, I felt like they could be any family on any street. The author explores familial relationships and the complexities surrounding them; the deep seated resentments and jealousies, the way they talk to and relate to each other and the bond they share that ultimately overcomes everything else. Narrated by Ethel, Liv and Marianne, we soon learn they are flawed women who are haunted by their personal demons. The death of a guest magnifies everything, forcing them to really look at how they can move forward instead of being held back by regret. 

Set in rural Ireland, it has a great sense of place, vividly portraying the sense of community and claustrophobia of small town life. I think that it was an ideal setting for this story as immersing the reader in a place where religion, folklore and superstition are at the core of village life, adds to the atmosphere of the story. When Fred’s body is found, it impacts the entire community. They claim him as one of their own and there is a genuine outpouring of grief for this stranger. It is a reminder that we are all part of the same community and that there is kindness to be found even in the darkest of moments. 

The Ghostlights is a very human story. One that I’m sure will resonate in some way with most of us. Warm, witty, compassionate and contemplative, this was an enjoyable read from a talented storyteller. I’ve enjoyed both of her books and am looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰



Gráinne’s debut novel Where the Edge Is will be published by Legend Press in September 2020, with The Ghostlights to follow in 2021.

Gráinne’s stories are about family and identity, about staring life down and choosing the kind of person you want to be. Earlier novels were shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award 2019, the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair 2019, the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2016 and the Virginia Prize for Fiction 2014.

In short fiction, her story Further West placed third in the Zoetrope All-Story Contest 2018, with other stories appearing in Nivalis 2015 (Full of Grace), Irish Literary Review Issue 5 (Frank & Alfie) and RiPPLE 2016 (The Agatha Christie Bookclub).

Gráinne’s several lives to date include stints in forensic research, human resources, training, volunteering and editing. No matter what she did, it always came back to words. After spending several years struggling to eavesdrop in Belgian cafes, she now lives and writes in a gloriously rainy corner of West Cork.



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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

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