Light Keeping: A novel

Adrienne Jansen



A novel about loss and light, about storytelling and the sea.
The year is 1977 and a shocking accident sees Robert and Jess suddenly orphaned. Finding refuge with their lighthouse keeper grandparents, they begin to navigate their loss and rebuild their lives. But how secure can this new home be, with the threat of lighthouse automation and closures looming?
As adults, Jess and Robert must deal with the fallout of the tragic events of their childhood, disconnected from each other and the home that once sheltered them. Buffeted by the storms of life, they find themselves inescapably drawn back towards the world of the sea.
Light Keeping is a subtle and immersive novel drawing on the richness of family stories and their role in defining and connecting us. Set in the late-seventies and contemporary New Zealand, the book follows parallel storylines, evoking fascinating details of lighthouse life and reflecting on the relentless social change brought by new technology.
Ultimately, this is a story of hope and reconnection – of finding, and keeping, light.

About the Author

Adrienne Jansen is a writer, editor, teacher and publisher. Her novel Light Keeping was written before and during the first lockdown.
Light Keeping was one of three novels shortlisted for the 2021 Michael Gifkins Prize.

Adrienne’s previous work has been shortlisted for the 2019 NZ Booklovers Awards, longlisted for the 2019 Ockham NZ Book Awards and included in NZ Herald’s Best Books of 2016.


ISBN: 978-1-99-110320-8

Pages: 220

Dimensions: 229mm x 152mm

Format: Paperback

Author: Adrienne Jansen

Published: October 2023

Look Inside

Click HERE to sample some pages.


“In her clear, understated way, Adrienne Jansen leads you up a coastal road and breaks your heart.”

– Sue MacCauley

“A quiet and tender novel, [Light Keeping] sidesteps melodrama, instead [leaning] into the natural world to explore human frailty and resilience.”

– Sue Orr

 It’s a rolling swell of a story where one loss leads to another. The inevitability of change – set against that regular, ten-second pulse of the lighthouse – kept me reading through the night. 

– Cristina Sanders 

Jansen’s work is poignant.”
– Jessie Neilson, Kete Books
Adrienne Jansen has clearly undertaken much research to make the lighthouse keeper’s life credible and interesting. She has a very vivid sense of place … I enjoyed Light Keeping as a thoughtful novel making best use of time and place and a strong sense of the dynamics of families.”
– Nicholas Reid, Reid’s Reader