The Lighthouse Witches Synopsis CJ Cooke

About the Lighthouse Witches

cj cooke lighthouse witches

The Lighthouse Witches ★ C.J Cooke

The Lighthouse Witches by CJ Cooke

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.


A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.


Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.


Coincidence? Or curse?


Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.


Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .



But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago? 

Paperback 432 Pages Published October 2021 HarperCollins

REVIEW The Lighthouse Witches CJCooke

★ Review ★

Minor Spoilers

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J Cooke was legitimately everything the cover said it would be.

“Fascinating & Enthralling”

“Vivid & Compelling”

“A gothic treat”

The Lighthouse Witches takes place in Scotland, on a remote island called Lon Haven.

Bouncing between the years 1998 & 2021, Cooke tells the story of Olivia Stay and her three children, Sapphire, Luna & Clover. Olivia has taken on a new commission in Lon Haven, painting a mural at a lighthouse called The Longing. This particular lighthouse has had many horrible acts happen inside & around its property; the locals believe it to be cursed.

The Longing was the location of witch burnings.

The witches cursed the land as they had been burnt alive in the 1600s.

“I curse you, sons of Duncan, and your sons’ sons, and all the people who stand before me now. I curse you that Lon Haven will atone for our blood, and that there will never be peace on this island until our innocence is spread throughout the whole of Scotland!”

It hadn’t occurred to me that in the original witch-burning timeline, the inhabitants would have spoken Gaelic until Cooke explicitly mentioned it. At that moment, I realized I had a whole new and different appreciation for The Lighthouse Witches. After a quick search to find out exactly where Lon Haven is, I learned that my ancestors were a hop skip and a jump away from the Black Isle over in the Isle of Mann. The name Duncan can even be found throughout my family tree.

Burning Witches 1600s

You may be wondering why I just used the word “timeline”; in the 1600s, Magic and Witchcraft were Science in disguise. Science that was not understood was automatically the devil’s work. The only difference between SCI-FI & Real Life is time. The Lighthouse Witches is a shocking tale of mystery found in the twist of elements disguised as impossible.

During Olivia’s time on Lon Haven, she learns the local lore. For centuries children have been disappearing without a trace. Those that return are wildlings. Identical to the child, they appear in every way, except for digits burnt into their skin. Those that live in Lon Haven know what must be done with the Wildlings; kill them before they kill your whole family. They are the witches’ curse, evidence of their deal with the fae to end bloodlines.

“You have to kill a wildling in a certain way. You have to cut out its heart and burn the rest of it. And the parent has to do it.”

Lore in The Lighthouse Witches

When two of Olivia’s children go missing, and a Wildling shows up at her door, how could she deny the townspeople’s claims? Decades later, no one knows what happened in the woods when the Wildling showed up at Olivia’s door. The only member of Family Stay to leave the island of Lon Haven was Luna. Her mother and two sisters had disappeared without a trace, and Luna has no recollection of the nights’ events either.

This isn’t a tale with deep, multi-layered characters with growth and conflict. There is no need to get into the inner workings of characters’ thoughts and feelings. No real moral dilemmas are happening in The Lighthouse Witches. It’s not that kind of story. That’s not to downplay Cooke’s characters; they were lovely. Instead, this is a story fueled by fear and imagination conjured up through the setting of Scotland in a time when science was witchcraft.

cj cooke lighthouse witches

★ Rating ★

Quotes CJCooke Light House Witches

★ Quotes ★

The lighthouse itself was built upon an ancient Scottish broch that was built upon a Neolithic fort which in turn was built upon late Jurassic rock, like an architectual babushka doll.

Most people’s pasts can be viewed like cleaved water left in the wake of a boat. Hers? It’s a tangled weave of spider webs and nightmares, never to make sense.

He doesn’t get that truth and memory can be too complex, too tentacled, to boil down to a linear narrative. That sometimes, silence is a form of survival.

Memories, like stones, have their own gravity.

Missing someone you love for an extended period of time can and will lead to madness, every bit as much as a wound that is not cleaned will lead to a festering sore, and thence an illness that spreads throughout the body.

A wild place with a Viking soul, Lon Haven’s violent and tragic history had clearly infected the minds of its inhabitants, creating beliefs rooted deeply in fear. And they were prepared to slaughter innocent children in order to protect their community.

Darkness stretches across the sky, swift as a blind being drawn. Silver tendrils of lightning whip across the ocean, a low groan of thunder. In the distance, rain is racing towards them in sweeping chains.

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★ Links ★

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C.J Cooke : webpage goodreads instagram twitter

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