Adele Clagett’s The Legend of the Seahawk comprises the elements of fiction and a narrative style that makes it an ideal story for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. While few seafaring ghost stories have the substance to hold my interest very long – because they all seem to focus on the same elements of the genre – characters feeling cold whenever visited by a ghost- or spirit-like energy, Clagett’s narrative is different from many others that I have read. Skillfully combining facts about lighthouses, the life of lighthouse keepers and their families, and the story of the Seahawk with its paranormal aspects – psychic readings, residual haunting, non-intelligent ghost entities - Clagett has created a seafaring ghost story that is interesting, compelling, and illuminating.
As I delved into the text, I was reminded of the other ships that had been lost in the 1950’s – My Lady in 1952, and The Echo III in 1955 – and the movie The Perfect Storm. Like The Perfect Storm, Clagett gives the reader a basic seafaring tale: On August 1, 1956, while trawling for fish, a storm unexpectedly shifts its direction and catches the Seahawk out at sea before it can return to port at Stuart Cove, a small New England town situated on the coastline of Connecticut. Captain Scott Spear and his crew of five are lost to the sea. His wife, Helen, his daughter, Cynthia, his brother-in-law and lighthouse keeper, Danny Pierce, and the townsfolk were deeply affected by the incident.
I thoroughly enjoyed Clagett’s milieu of Stuart Cove, which included Saint Margaret’s Church, the fishermen’s memorial - a small circular area, consisting of a flower garden, a few benches, a granite tablet etched with the names of those from Stuart Cove lost at sea - the Fishhook Pub, the Stone Ridge Lighthouse, and Main Street. I particularly enjoyed Father Kealy’s prayer and the blessing of the fleet, the description of the waterfront, the feast, the floats, and Saint Andrew’s statue – the patron saint of fishermen. Here, everyone knows everyone else’s business – there are no secrets in Stuart Cove - creating a sense of closeness, friendliness and intimacy.
Hence, it isn’t very long after David Parker, an investigative reporter who works for a newspaper in New York City and who returns to Stuart Cove to sell a house on Kings Creek he had inherited from his Aunt Gina and Uncle Walter, that you’ll come to realize that, aside from a seafaring ghost story, Clagett has fashioned a delightful tale of romance that springs up between David and Claire Reid, a young woman who lives in Stuart Cove, attends college, and works at the Stone Ridge Lighthouse.
The scene at the Fishhook Pub, where David and Danny Piece share a few beers, is hauntingly mysterious. Later, at the fishermen’s memorial, Danny approaches David, as he is reading the memorial, and proclaims, “That don’t tell the whole story.” David agrees to meet Danny at the lighthouse the next day, at which time, Danny reveals a portion of the truth of what happened on the night the Seahawk was lost. Intrigued by the old fisherman and his legend, David believes he might write a story about the Seahawk for his newspaper.
Realizing that he would have to conduct his own investigation, David solicits Claire’s help and together they work to uncover the truth behind the paranormal occurrences surrounding the Seahawk.
To help him solve this paranormal mystery, David solicits the assistance of Owen Skinner, a paranormal investigator who lives in New York City, and Emerson Hathaway, an expert in lighthouse restorations.
The anticipation of what was to follow is electrifying, and as I read the narrative, I felt goose bumps running up and down my arm, and the excitement David and Claire must’ve felt as they approached the shoreline the day after the storm. I shan’t reveal the ending, but you will certainly enjoy and appreciate Clagett’s resolution and the closure it brings for Helen, Cynthia, and the townsfolk of Stuart Cove.
Overall, I highly recommend Adele Clagett’s book, The Legend of the Seahawk, to all readers, and I’m sure that, after you read this story, you will feel as strongly as I do, that this story is a wonderful tale – one that might easily lend itself to a wonderful Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)