A novel by Todd A. Gipstein
Published by Dog Ear Publishing
322 pages paperback $19.95
Todd Gipstein’s first novel, Legacy of the Light, is a historical novel in which the author weaves ac-tual events (the shipwreck of the steamship City of Lawrence in 1907 and the 1938 Hurricane) with a tale of two genera-tions of lighthouse keepers at Race Rock Lighthouse, located off the western end of Fishers Island, NY and a few miles offshore from New London, CT.
Nathaniel Bowen is the keeper of the light at Race Rock, living on the man-made island with his wife and young son. De-spondent after she takes the boy away in search of a better life, he continues to maintain the light meticulously while adapting to a life of near-total isolation (punctuated by a night with an amorous visitor). One fateful stormy night, however, dereliction of his duty leads to tragedy. Seeking redemption for his father’s sins, Caleb Bowen returns to Race Rock many years later and becomes its keeper. On September 21, 1938, he and his fiancée find themselves trapped on the rock with a mysterious and very danger-ous stranger during the worst storm in the history of New England. Gipstein provides an account of the hur-ricane’s origin as a windshift over Africa, noticed only by a French weather observer assigned to a remote outpost in the Sahara Desert.
The author is president of the New London Ledge Light-house Foundation, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation dedicated to restoring Ledge Lighthouse. His description of the life of lighthouse keepers in the days, and how important keepers were to the safety of life at sea before lighthouses became automated, is fascinating and his writing provides a sense of being on Race Rock as events unfold. Equally interesting is the inclusion of New London landmarks past and present, including the Custom House, Lighthouse Inn, Gris-wold Hotel and Dutch Tavern. Todd Alan Gipstein has been a writer, photographer and media producer for 40 years, 20 of them for the National Geographic Society. He and his wife Marcia live in Groton, CT, within sight of the lighthouses and seascapes that inspired this book. He also painted the dramatic picture on the book’s cover and shot the photographs within. Legacy of the Light is thoroughly compelling and satisfying, and highly recommended. You can order this fine book (which is also available in ebook formats) at Gipstein.com or from your favorite bookseller.