The Lighthouse Back Home by Jodi L. Auborn

The Lighthouse Back Home by Jodi L. Auborn
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It’s been a year since 11-year-old Dylan and his family moved to the lighthouse his father had inherited in Maine. After finding a human skeleton in the woods one day, Dylan and his friend, Alex, are astonished when a mysterious artifact sends them back in time to the year 1893.

Stranded in the past, with Dylan’s sailboat as their only way home and Alex posing as a boy, Dylan seeks help from his old friend Matthias, the town lighthouse keeper. Despite Matthias’s reluctance, they settle into his seaside cottage where they make a new friend, face a deadly storm, and try to blend into their confusing new world. But when a sinister local family discovers their secret, they find themselves held captive by a cruel and remorseless old sailor with secrets of his own. Can Dylan and Alex find their way home and uncover the facts about an unsolved crime involving murder and stolen treasure?

Time travel is a wild ride.

The mystery was slow to unfold but satisfying once Dylan and Alex began to figure out possible reasons why they’d been thrown back in time. I had no problem waiting patiently for them to begin piecing the clues together. Honestly, I liked the fact that the author allowed more pressing matters to be resolved like where the kids were going to sleep at night and how they’d find food before they turned their attention to figuring out why they were in the late 1800s to begin with. That was definitely the most sensible thing to do, and it gave this reader plenty of opportunities to come up with my own theories along the way.

I struggled with the slow pacing at times. As much as I appreciated having extra time with the characters, I think this tale would have been stronger if it had been closer to the length of “Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point” which was about 100 pages shorter. There were multiple scenes that, while interesting to read, slowed down the plot and character developments enough that I couldn’t justify giving this a higher rating even though I was initially thrilled to have another chance to see what Dylan had been up to.

With that being said, I did enjoy the many comparisons the characters made between life in 2014 and 1893. Imagine explaining a cell phone, a Spider-Man t-shirt, or an airplane to someone who has never seen anything like that stuff and who has no cultural context for what they mean! Ms. Auborn did a great job of highlighting the social difficulties of adjusting to life in another century and explaining just how much the world can change in roughly 120 years.

This is the second book in a series that does not have to be read in order. If you like this one, though, do be sure to check out Dylan’s first adventure as well.

The Lighthouse Back Home was an adventurous read.

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