Guiding Lights

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Available on backorder

The Extraordinary Lives of Lighthouse Women

Women have a long history of keeping the lights burning, from tending ancient altar flames or bonfires to modern-day lighthouse keeping. Yet most of their stories are little known. Guiding Lights includes stories from around the world spanning two millennia, as we discover the physical and mental risks of isolation, the heroism of the female keepers, how they came to be hired (especially in the 19th century), and the mysteries and legends that are inextricably part of lighthouse history.

Specifications: 9781925820621 | Cased & Jacket | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6in | 256 pages

Shona Riddell has a long-held fascination with lighthouses. A writer for 20 years (including her subantarctic history book Trial of Strength with Exisle Publishing), Shona lives with her husband and two daughters in Wellington, New Zealand. She enjoys cold, windy weather and stories about remote locations.

Access Magazine (published by the Australian School Library Association)– double page feature and review.
“profiles various women who have lived in harsh physical environments and faced personal and emotional challenges. Female lighthouse keepers have to learn how to overcome isolation, loneliness and brutal weather conditions, not to mention adapting to the lack of medical support for childbirth or child rearing. It is a fascinating read.”


The Scots News –
“While history books are full of tales about male lighthouse keepers, Guiding Lights by New Zealand author Shona Riddell, shares the stories of lighthouse women (whether keepers, or wives and daughters of keepers) from around the world… These are stories of isolation, dedication, care and heroism.”


The West Australian – Travel Section
“Guiding Lights is more of a social history, which begins in ancient times and ends in our own, introducing us not just to brave women such as Ida Lewis and Grace Darling “who risked their lives to save others”, but to crucial broader subjects and themes such as lighthouses in literature, lighthouses as symbols, haunted lighthouses and isolation.”


Travel Writers Radio
“a terrific book … about extraordinary women”. Click here to listen


The Senior reviewed
“Shona Riddell has a long-held fascination with lighthouses and her new book Guiding Lights The extraordinary lives of lighthouse women is a tribute to these amazing women from around the world and throughout the centuries.” Click here to read


The Australian – Travel Section  
“This past week I’ve been obsessed with reading Guiding Lights: The Extraordinary Lives of Lighthouse Women by Shona Riddell. Many of these doughty women did it tough, not just as helper to their lighthouse keeper spouse, but often running the show.”


Brisbane Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph Recommended in their Angela Loves column
“I am loving reading Shona Riddell’s Guiding Lights, a new book documenting the stories of women who have worked or lived in lighthouses”

Starfish – Interview

Guiding Lights: The Lighthouse Mystique

What is it about lighthouses that lure and intrigue us? Is it the romantic idea of occupying one, alone with just the wind and the waves? Author Shona Riddell has dived into this topic and emerged with a beautiful book, Guiding Lights, the extraordinary lives of lighthouse women.


Afloat – Feature Book Review

Book Review: Guiding Lights

Women’s Work By Shona Riddell RRP: $39.99 Available from the Exisle Publishing exislepublishing.com/product/guiding-lights/ or wherever good books are sold. Stories of female lighthouse keepers are not new. In the United States, for example, there have been female keepers in sole charge of lighthouses since at least the late 1700s.


U.S. Society Lighthouse News – Podcast

Light Hearted ep 82 – Shona Riddell, author of “Guiding Lights”

Light Hearted ep 82 – Shona Riddell, author of “Guiding Lights”

Shona Riddell, who lives in New Zealand, has been writing for as long as she can remember. Both of her parents were writers, and Shona’s first article was published in 2000 in the New Zealand Herald. She was hooked, and in 2002 she completed a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Auckland University of Technology.


Travel Writers Radio

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