Keeper of the Light follows Dr Olivia Simon who was involved in treating ‘Saint’ Annie O’Neill at Christmas who was shot while serving at a local womens centre, Annie ultimately dies. However these two womens lives are already entwined as Annie has been having an affair with Paul, Olivia’s husband after they reconnected after attended Boston Uni together.
‘She was such a powerful person – such a charismatic person – that I went along with her whether I agreed with her or not. It was just…easier. I always found her endearing – her wackiness, her disorganization, the way she could never get anywhere on time. You are entirely her opposite, Olivia. There’s no way you could ever be like her, don’t you see that? I’ve appreciated all those things in you that are unlike her.’
In the months that follow everyone’s lives are effected by the impact of Annie’s actions and lies and the looming darkness left by her shadow. When seeking a way to deal with his grief Alec O’Neill, Annie’s husband pursues answers from Olivia, bringing her into his life as well as his childrens Lacey and Clay causing his eyes to be open to the true nature of Annie.
Kiss River is a sequel that it set more than a decade after the conclusion of Keeper of the Light. It features Lacey and Clay O’Neill who are living in the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage while it’s being restored. This is where Gina, a middle school teacher from Washington state comes as the Kiss River lighthouse could hold the key to accessing the money desperately needed for her critically ill daughter Rani, who is in an orphanage in India
‘Gina sat cross-legged on her bed in her robe, the Barbie doll in her hand. She’d opened both her windows wider, but still, the steamy heat of the night was barely broken by the ocean breeze. For oncce, she was not thinking about Rani or the lens. Out there on the lighthouse stairs, for just a moment, she had forgotten about her own pain and been caught up by Clay’s. He’d lost his wife, his child. His future. The anguish in his voice was still with her.’
Clay is an architect grieving for the loss of his wife Terri, whose death he feels responsible for as she travelled in his place. Lacey appears to be emulating their mother ‘Saint Annie’ which sooner or later turns out to be a bad thing. Diane Chamberlain does not diminish the pain or struggle that comes with life but beautifully shows that it’s easier to cope with together.
Her Mother’s Shadow is the final part of the trilogy and is centred around Lacey who becomes guardian to Jessica’s 11 year old daughter Mackenzie, after her childhood friend is tragically killed in a car crash. Lacey then wrestles with the dilemma of whether or not she should involved Bobby, Mackenzie’s father in her life, even though Jessica chose to keep her pregnancy secret from him and raise her daughter by herself as he was a drug user.
‘Each sob, each shiver that passed though Mackenzie’s body sent a fresh surge of emotion – something like love, but it couldn’t possibly be that – through Lacey’s heart, and she held her tighter. She could feel the protective shell she had built around herself, a shell she had not known existed, slip from her shoulders and fall to the floor. What had she been protecting herself from? Feeling this, she thought. Feeling this pain all over again.‘
The O’Neill family are also dealing with Annie’s killer potentially being released early on parole for good behaviour therefore causing them to debate if they should appeal the decision or forgive him as Annie would have done.