The Light Keeper
Sometimes Love Takes You to the Edge
by Cole Moreton
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Pub Date 15 Oct 2019 | Archive Date 14 Aug 2019
Average rating from 62 members
TW: mental health, suicide, death, loss, grief, abusive relationship, domestic violence
Last year, after I first got this ARC, I opened it, excited to read it, then closed it not long after. And so began a month-long attempt at reading this book, finally ended with a close that lasted a year.
Last week, I came to it again. In the middle of a pandemic, having moved to a country which has no plans of controlling the virus, and having recently graduated from uni, I found myself looking for things to do again. And so I found myself revisiting this ARC, long after its date of publication (sorry Mr. Moreton and SPCK!), determined to finish it and finally write a review.
You see, the reason I couldn't get through much of this book the first time wasn't because of the story. It was a horrible formatting of the digital copy on Kindle that I got, filled with different-sized text and empty pages in the middle for no reason at all. It disturbed my reading experience so much I couldn't continue.
But as I pushed past it this last week, I am glad I decided to give this book another chance. It's a beautiful character study and a deep dive into grief and the different ways people deal with it. The setting Moreton chose was apt - a desolate but absolutely beautiful oceanic scene, filled with imagery of landscapes and rural life. Though the story was slow enough for me to consider if there was even a plot, Moreton consistently pulled out twists that kept it interesting.
That being said, despite all of the above, this book wasn't able to pull me in and immerse me into the story. Though I would marvel at the writing, I felt detached the whole time, as if I was watching over everything happening from a distance that prevented me from empathising with these characters. Even at the end, I felt like I had missed something, like there should have been a conclusion that the author seemed to stray away from. Moreton tackled large issues like loss and marriage and mental health but seemed to forget in the process what point he was trying to make.
As mentioned above, this book does have some pretty graphic trigger warnings, but if you like slow-moving stories that focus on character, gorgeous landscapes that are also characters, and an exploration of interpersonal relationships, try this one on for size.
(Thank you to Netgalley and SPCK for this ARC.)
The Light Keeper was not exactly what I expected. I believe it has the potential to be a great book.
Here is the synopsis: 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 . . .