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The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter: The Remarkable True Story of American Heroine Ida Lewis

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The amazing story of a heroic woman—the keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island.


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The amazing story of a heroic woman—the keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island.

30 review for The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter: The Remarkable True Story of American Heroine Ida Lewis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Ida Lewis became famous for her maritime rescues off the Rhode Island coast in the later half of the 19th century. The best thing about this book is that it is very short, less than 150 pages. Even at such brevity, it repeated the same details numerous times. It was filled with irrelevant information that appeared to have no purpose other than to pad the word count. Elements of the story were blatantly contradictory; one page we were told that Ida lived in obscurity and a few pages later we were Ida Lewis became famous for her maritime rescues off the Rhode Island coast in the later half of the 19th century. The best thing about this book is that it is very short, less than 150 pages. Even at such brevity, it repeated the same details numerous times. It was filled with irrelevant information that appeared to have no purpose other than to pad the word count. Elements of the story were blatantly contradictory; one page we were told that Ida lived in obscurity and a few pages later we were told that she was so famous that people came from all over just to be able to shak`e her hand. We were told that Ida Lewis was unique only in her fame. Other female lighthouse keepers rescued more sailors, performed rescues at a more advanced age, kept far more lights burning simultaneously under more treacherous conditions. But we were never told why this particular woman was chosen for the subject of this book; we can only presume that it was because she was the easiest to research. My local book group picked this as our November title because the author is local. 1.5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Twofrontteethstillcrooked

    Ida Lewis was a motherfucking badass. What an awesome lady.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I can't say enough positives about this book! Based on the true story of Ida Lewis, a teenage, Newport, RI girl who became the unofficial keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, RI after her father's health turn, this is a lively, engaging and informative read. As Newport, RI is only an hour drive from me and my guy commutes there daily to work on the Navy Base, Newport itself holds some fascination. For most it's the land of wealthy tourists who flock there in Summers for shopping and eats o I can't say enough positives about this book! Based on the true story of Ida Lewis, a teenage, Newport, RI girl who became the unofficial keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, RI after her father's health turn, this is a lively, engaging and informative read. As Newport, RI is only an hour drive from me and my guy commutes there daily to work on the Navy Base, Newport itself holds some fascination. For most it's the land of wealthy tourists who flock there in Summers for shopping and eats or to tour the mansions that were once owned by the Vanderbilts and Astors. For me, it's always been just a neat historical city, too big for its britches. This is why it was so spectacular to discover Ida Lewis who lived at a transitional time for Newport, back in the day when there were probably still a few farms left there. Ida Lewis must have had a hard existence. Her father became the keeper of the light when she was a teenager, but within a few months his health declined so badly, it fell to Ida's shoulders to race out to the waves in a row boat to collect those who ended up stranded or submerged in the Harbor. Her mother wasn't the most healthy of women either by the sounds, and her living siblings were all younger than her as well. Not only would she keep the light burning and people alive, she also had to row her siblings to school on the mainland and back each day and tend to the housework as well. She worked a lot harder as a teen in the late 1800s then most adults work now in the 2000s! Ida did marry and moved to Bridgeport, CT which never felt like home to her. It's easy to relate to for me as I grew up on a dirt road in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. Cities always feel like non-homes to me. While Ida never divorced her husband, she did return to Lime Rock Light without him and remained there until her death, as it should have been. The story of Ida is a story of the lighthouse and not anywhere else. She belonged there. Skomal does a great job of showing how Newport itself basically exploited Ida Lewis to draw more tourists and business to the city. What was a naturally private person and family, suddenly saw hundreds of people arriving by boat on their doorstep every Summer day, all waiting for a glimpse of the woman who saved soldier's, socialites and even sheep's lives. You really get the sense of how burdened Ida felt in her later years by all the attention. To her she was just doing her job. Once the government officially made her the legal keeper of the light, as opposed to just someone filling in, even then there was the threat that the lighthouse would be discontinued. Fame doesn't come with automatic security and happiness and Ida exemplifies that all too well. In fact, if it hadn't have been from an out of pocket donation from Andrew Carnegie, Ida would have never even gotten a pension for her 40 years of hard work. Ida is the story of how "the other half" of Newport lived and it's a story well worth reading whether you're local or not.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Imagine for a moment, rowing across stormy waves to rescue capsized mariners, at the age of 15. Add a Victorian dress to that image; a regular day-in-the-life of Ida Lewis. Lewis' father was assigned the duties of lighthouse keeper at the Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport RI in 1853; soon after he suffered a stroke and the light keeping duties were assumed by his wife and children. Ida's rescues were quite newsworthy, partly due to the events of that era and partly due to her being a woman. She be Imagine for a moment, rowing across stormy waves to rescue capsized mariners, at the age of 15. Add a Victorian dress to that image; a regular day-in-the-life of Ida Lewis. Lewis' father was assigned the duties of lighthouse keeper at the Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport RI in 1853; soon after he suffered a stroke and the light keeping duties were assumed by his wife and children. Ida's rescues were quite newsworthy, partly due to the events of that era and partly due to her being a woman. She became a woman that people traveled many miles to meet, from families to the President of the United States. Tangible awards and gifts were granted her for these rescues but the award that she most coveted was mired in government protocol but with patience she received her recognition and became an icon for women during a time of great change. The author mixes in developments in technology and the lighthouse bureau that marked significant changes in Ida's life. A must read for those interested in women's studies, lighthouse keeping at the turn of the century, and heroes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    An interesting bio of Ida Lewis and her times as she rescued many people during her keeper days near Newport, RI. The book was well-researched and documented, and told in an interesting style. Ida received a large amount of publicity during her lifetime as well as several awards for her rescues but remained humble and of service to others. An interesting woman and an interesting time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Enjoyable if you are into lighthouses or keeper-culture of New England. Quick read fluidly written w/ references for more in depth review on the subject. The author also penned the title Women Who Kept the Lights. Recommended for a rainy-beachside day!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cathy McLennan

    An inspirational story. And a good read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette

    An account of the American Heroine Ida Lewis and the amazing rescues while tending Lime Rock Lighthouse.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I loved this book. It was so easy to fall in love with Ida and her heroic deeds.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Becky H.

    When I read the historical fiction book "The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" by Hazel Gaynor this book was listed as one of her resources that she used when writing the book. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed learning more about Ida Lewis and the remarkable person she was. When I read the historical fiction book "The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" by Hazel Gaynor this book was listed as one of her resources that she used when writing the book. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed learning more about Ida Lewis and the remarkable person she was.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Brodhead

    Excellent book. I love Lighthouses and I love history. This book contained both. It’s fascinating to read the stories of Lighthouses and their Keepers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Curran

    Really interesting story of the heroism of Ida Lewis, and the price of fame in the 19th century. A snapshot of the often changing times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amygoepfert

    I let too much time lapse between reading the historical fiction book (The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter) and reading this non fiction book. I let too much time lapse between reading the historical fiction book (The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter) and reading this non fiction book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Excellent historical fiction--loved the generational family stories (1838-1938) and the characters! Excellent writing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annie M.

    I liked this book and the information it gave about Ida Lewis. I wish a little more information could have been given about her life, especially her involvement in the suffrage movement, but the book did focus more on her life at the lighthouse and the fame she received after various rescues she made. I must say, Ida is phenomenal and I am amazed by her strength and humility. An excellent read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kati

    This was a very interesting book about a real lighthouse keeper in Newport, Rhode Island in the 1800's. There were times when the book felt redundant, and times when it felt like it went off on a tangent unrelated to Ida Lewis, but overall, still interesting. This was a very interesting book about a real lighthouse keeper in Newport, Rhode Island in the 1800's. There were times when the book felt redundant, and times when it felt like it went off on a tangent unrelated to Ida Lewis, but overall, still interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lee A

    2.5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Brooks

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Carlson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  22. 5 out of 5

    LoveVickyHolt LoveVickyHolt

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ali

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bunny Harwell

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jayme Spitzer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Launa Staffen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tara Krauss

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