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Letters from the Lighthouse

Emma Carroll

From the queen of historical fiction, Letters From the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll is a stunningly evocative wartime drama, and sure to keep you breathlessly reading to its very last page

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Date Published
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We weren’t supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren’t even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.

February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

Critic Reviews

An adventure of old-fashioned charm

Sunday Times, Book of the Week
Critic Reviews

If your middle grade kids (ages 8-12) haven’t discovered Emma Carroll yet, then they’re missing out.

Irish Times
Critic Reviews

A triumph: a finely crafted and deeply atmospheric mystery, with themes of prejudice, refugees and belonging which resonate poignantly with current world events.

The Bookseller
Critic Reviews

This is modern classic which should be read and loved by generations to come.

Alison Kerridge, Waterstones, Bury St Edmunds
Critic Reviews

Emma Carroll is brilliant. Everything she writes is brilliant. This is a fact. Yet, somehow, she has managed to top her previous works with the stunning Letters From The Lighthouse. There are some true heart-in-your-mouth moments and heavily moving parts that make it so difficult to put it down. You simply need this book if you’re a Year 5 or 6 teacher.

The Teaching Booth
Critic Reviews

There are echoes of Michael Morpurgo and Nina Bawden, but in a style of her own Carroll (The Girl Who Walked on Air, Strange Star) sews together accessible history with a cracking plot and a character to love in the strong, principled Olive. This gripping read for anyone aged 7 or over is a pertinent reminder of how the effort of a group of individuals can shine light on the darkest of nights.

The Times Children's Book of the Week
Faber Booktime: Emma Carroll, Letters from the Lighthouse

Emma Carroll tells us about and reads from her WW2 novel, Letters from the Lighthouse.

Teaching Resources

Download free KS2 teaching resources for Letters from the Lighthouse. Click here to access.


Once told by poet Ted Hughes her writing was ‘dangerous’, it took Emma Carroll twenty years of English teaching and a life-changing cancer diagnosis to feel brave enough to give her dream of being an author a try. Nowadays, she’s a bestselling author and the ‘Queen of Historical Fiction’ (BookTrust). She has been nominated for and the winner of numerous…

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