Today is a big day for Emma Stonex, whose haunting novel The Lamplighters about three lighthouse keepers that go missing off the coast of Cornwall in 1972 is published today in hardback by Picador.

Her manuscript was first sold to Picador in the UK at auction, and was scheduled for publication as a super-lead title. US & Canadian rights were also hugely sought after, with Penguin Random House / Viking snapping it up in the US after a multi-publisher auction, and Canadian rights going to HarperCollins Canada in a pre-empt. International rights have since sold into a further whopping 22 territories.

The highly anticipated debut has received an incredible amount of press with the Guardian noting it as ‘an elegant novel that is as interested in the notion of hope and acceptance as it is in murder and revenge’, the Sunday Times stating ‘Stonex’s story has the mesmerism of a churned winter sea‘, the Telegraph declaring it one of the ‘best novels of 2021 so far‘, with a glowing four star review, and the Sun featuring it as one of their books of the year, commenting ‘this spooky story is both beautifully written and a brilliant read’. The Lamplighters has also been featured in an impressive number of roundups, including the Huffington Post, Stylist, iNewsand Good Housekeeping. Across the pond in the US, The Lamplighters was selected by Apple as one of the Best Books of Marchhaving been reviewed as ‘one of the creepiest and most unshakeable mystery novels we’ve read in awhile‘.

Emma herself recently wrote a piece for Bookbrunch about her journey to writing The Lamplighters, fittingly entitled ‘The sea in my bones‘. In it, she recounts the first time she told her literary agent, Madeleine Milburn, about wanting to write about a lighthouse back in 2011. Nine books and several pseudonyms later, Emma has finally gone ahead and achieved what she first set out to do a whole ten years ago. We couldn’t be prouder of Emma for keeping that light burning brightly inside her. The wick is now lit, the lantern burning brightly. Just have a look at these blue and red sprayed edge Waterstones limited edition copies of The Lamplighters, the dazzling product of Emma’s talent:

Photo Credit: Pan Macmillan / Picador

Catch Emma discussing this stunning novel on these upcoming tour dates, starting with tonight’s publication event:


On top of all the press attention, Emma has also received a deluge of glowing reviews from authors and readers alike:

‘A mystery, a love story and a ghost story, all at once. I didn’t want it to end’ S J Watson

‘I loved The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex – lighthouse keepers, ghosts, warring widows. It’s a wonderfully smart and atmospheric story.’ Observer

‘Outstanding. Literary and insanely gripping’ India Knight

‘A remarkable book, through every page, every character, the writing resonates with the dark, powerful presence of the sea’ Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path

We can’t wait for readers to dive into this mesmerizing mystery.


They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.

They say the sea keeps its secrets…

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.


You don’t want to miss out on this highly anticipated book that has got everyone talking, so get your own signed exclusive edition of the book here. A huge congratulations on this exciting day, Emma!