Amelia Smith's novella, Eddystone Light, begins with a conversation in which Jack's father implores him to “marry a land girl. A nice land-girl.” And thus the reader gains insight into Jack's life, his connections to the sea, and his desire for “respectability” above all else. But respectability doesn't come easily to Jack. Not quite part his Aunt Ermintrude's respectable land-society, Jack isn't entirely comfortable at the lighthouse with his father, either. Caught between two worlds, Jack must ultimately decide which one he wants to be part of, a decision that doesn't come lightly.
As the novel begins, Jack promises, if only to appease his father, to marry a “nice land-girl.” But he also discovers more about his mother, about whom he knows very little. From there, the reader follows Jack through a series of adventures (or perhaps misadventures) as he learns more about his mother and her people. Along the way, Jack begins to realize the true depth of his relationship with the sea.
Smith's novella provides an interesting perspective on and expansion of an early 20th century folk song. It is an enjoyable afternoon's read, complete with several interesting and somewhat quirky characters.