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REVIEW of KEEPER OF THE LIGHT in The San Francisco Chronicle

By Carolinearnoldtravel @CarolineSArnold
REVIEW of KEEPER OF THE LIGHT in The San Francisco Chronicle
I was pleased to discover this excellent review of my book, KEEPER OF THE LIGHT: Juliet Fish Nichols Fights the San Francisco Fog, in the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook (April 21, 2022.) Written by librarian Susan Faust, it is a double review of my book and another, THE GARDENER OF ALCATRAZ, where the story is set on another famous island in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz.  Alcatraz and its tall lighthouse was visible to Juliet Nichols from her lighthouse on Angel Island. The two books together provide an interesting contrast in personalities--Juliet, a single woman lighthouse keeper, and Elliott Michener, a prisoner on Alcatraz who developed a love of gardening.

Here's Susan Faust's review of KEEPER OF THE LIGHT:

What’s a widow to do? In 1902, with little money, Juliet Fish Nichols successfully applies to be lighthouse keeper at Point Knox on the southwest side of Angel Island, according to this fictionalized account of her time on the job. Based on “true events and historical documents,” journal entries allow Nichols to describe her isolated world: noisy sea lions and gulls; her few neighbors, infrequent city trips and well-tended garden; and the work station itself, a small house on stilts at water’s edge with an oil lamp and a 3,000-pound bell. Ethereal paintings capture the thickening fog two months after the 1906 earthquake. With lamplight unable to penetrate a foggy “foe,” the bell becomes critical. Thus, when its mechanism fails, Nichols must swing a heavy mallet every 15 seconds through a long night to prevent ships from going aground. They are loaded with rebuilding supplies. Nichols’ grit and determination are standouts in this rather staid tale of heroism. Oddly enough, Nichols is here remembered more as “keeper of the bell” than “keeper of the light,” as the title suggests. But no matter: She’s duty-bound to keep Angel Island waters safe by whatever means necessary.

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