Last year I reviewed The Light Keeper by Cole Moreton when it was published in hardback. Today is paperback publication day so I’m resharing my review. If you are able to support an independent bookshop in these difficult times, please do order a copy from there. Or you will find buying links for Hive, which also supports local high streets, below. I should just mention (even though it is paperback publication day!) that if you prefer to read digitally, the book is on offer just now for only £2.89 .
The Light Keeper is Cole Moreton’s debut novel though he is no stranger to writing, being a broadcaster, journalist and author of several non-fiction books. It is an emotional book about several people driven literally to the edge by exceptionally difficult circumstances.
We meet Jack and Sarah who have been desperately trying for a baby but whose options seem to have run out. Sarah’s mental health has become precarious and she has now vanished, leaving Jack frantically looking for her convinced she is suicidal. Nearby in a disused lighthouse lives a man known locally as The Keeper. He has experienced immense loss and is struggling to come to terms with it. The setting is a clifftop renowned for suicides so we also meet The Guardians, specially trained to try to help the desperate people who feel that jumping is their only option.
This is the kind of book where you cannot help but feel for all of those in despair whether the main characters or more incidental ones. There are some dark themes covered including suicide, serious illness, grief, infertility and the effects all these have on relationships. And yet it is in no way a difficult book to read. Cole Moreton’s insightful writing makes you get right under the skin of the characters and experience all the emotions along with them.
The Light Keeper is wonderfully written with the wildness, beauty and danger of the area so vividly depicted and reflecting the experiences of his characters. It won’t be a book for everyone I would imagine, particularly if you have been affected by any of the situations covered in the book. Given the themes, I hesitate to use the word ‘enjoy’ in regards to this book but I did think it was excellent. It is a book which offers hope in dark times, a haunting story whose characters will stay in my mind.
The Light Keeper was now available in paperback and as an ebook by Marylebone House. It should be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer. You can order a physical copy from Hive here or a Kindle copy from Amazon here.
From the back of the book
Sarah stands on the brink, arms open wide as if to let the wind carry her away.
She s come to the high cliffs to be alone, to face the truth about her life, to work out what to do.
Her lover Jack is searching, desperate to find her before it is too late. But Sarah doesn t want to be found. Not yet. Not by him.
And someone else is seeking answers up here where the seabirds soar, a man known only as the Keeper, living in an old lighthouse right on the cusp of a four-hundred-foot drop. He is all too aware that sometimes love takes you to the edge . . .
About the author
Cole Moreton is a writer and broadcaster exploring who we are and what we believe in. His BBC Radio 4 series The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away won multiple awards including Best Documentary in the BBC Radio Awards, Best Writing at the World’s Best Radio Awards in New York and gold for Audio Moment of the Year at the Arias.
Cole writes for the Mail on Sunday and was named Interviewer of the Year at the Press Awards 2016, then shortlisted again in 2018. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times, and many other.