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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans (2012)

by M. L. Stedman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,1284231,283 (3.94)1 / 368
  1. 10
    Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A infant washes ashore on a remote island and is adopted by the locals, although the child's origins remain a mystery. Although Latitudes of Melt is set in Canada, not Australia, both character-driven historical novels are lush, detailed, and descriptive.… (more)
  2. 32
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (aliklein)
  3. 10
    Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio (dara85)
    dara85: This takes place in the past (1930's), a child is taken and goes to live with another family, involves a crime
  4. 54
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (aliklein)
  5. 00
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (dara85)
  6. 00
    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (kqueue)
    kqueue: Both present thorny ethical dilemmas in a historic setting with sympathetic characters.
  7. 01
    Moloka'i by Alan Brennert (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books have exotic, isolated settings and characters who experience great love as well as great loss.

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English (434)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (438)
Showing 1-5 of 434 (next | show all)
I was disturbed by this book, I could not imagine this. But, of course, Isabel's state of mind needed to be considered as I reflected on this book. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
Crisply written tale of Tom, a lighthouse keeper haunted by memories of his WWI days, and his wife Isabel, who live on Janus, an isolated island off the coast of South West Australia, between the Indian and Southern Oceans. They rescue a baby, and Isabel decides to keep her. Problem is, the child Lucy already has a mother, Hannah, back on the mainland, who thinks her child has died. How the three navigate their fraught relationships, and the law, forms the core of the book. Most of the story is Tom's, but occasionally the POV changes to Isabel or Hannah or briefly, one of the secondary characters. The description of the island contrasts nicely with the description of Point Partageuse, the small town on the mainland--its inhabitants are well drawn. Particularly moving is her depiction of the anger and sadness of a young child suddenly sent to live with a mother she doesn't know. Occasionally the novel slips into a foreboding, greek-chorus-like narration, which just seems gimmicky. But--a pleasant read. ( )
  deckla | Jan 18, 2019 |
This is the story of Tom and Isabel Sherbourne who live in Australia. Tom returns from the war and meets Isabel. They fall in love and get married. Tom has decided to take a job as a lighthouse keeper on the island of Janus Rock, and Isabel agrees to go with him. They try desperately to have children but Isabel suffers two miscarriages and a stillbirth. One day, Isabel hears a baby crying on the shore of Janus Rock. She discovers a small infant in a boat with a dead man. Isabel is immediately drawn to the baby, since she just lost one of her own. Tom - her husband - wants to report the incident immediately to the authorities, but Isabel begs him to wait for awhile and let her care for the baby girl. Tom and Isabel fall in love with the little girl and name her Lucy. They never report her as a baby that was found in a boat, but claim her as her own, since Isabel was recently pregnant (and no one knew of the stillbirth).

When Lucy is two years old, Tom gets leave to return to the mainland. They take Lucy to meet Isabel's parents who are thrilled to finally have a grandchild. But they find out that their decision to keep the little girl has devestated someone from their small town, and now face the consequences of their decision.

This was a great book. I have had it on my shelf for a long time, but it took the movie coming out to remind me I had not read it. I can't imagine having a life on an island where it is just you, your family and the lighthouse. It would take special people to be so isolated for years at a time. The only visitors they ever received was a supply boat every 3 months. Isabel wanted a child so desperately, and when her heart is broken with a stillborn son, and this baby shows up on the shore alone and hungry, I can't imagine more people not making the decision she made. She was sure the baby was going to be put into an orphanage, and that she and Tom would not be eligible to adopt her because of their lifestyle. So it is hard to judge her for the decision she made.

I definitely recommend this book. It kept me captivated from beginning to end. Now I can't wait to see the movie. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Good story about love and loss and the extreme measures a person will go to when push comes to shove. I can't imagine a mother out there who couldn't understand Isabel's position, her thoughts and feelings, her need to love and nurture a baby.

I only gave this 4 stars because the whole first half (while it was necessary for the story) dragged for me. It picked up considerably around 55% but up until that point, I kept falling asleep when I would read it. ( )
  Sharn | Jan 3, 2019 |
Mijn volledige recensie is terug te vinden op:

Ik vind het een ontzettend emotioneel verhaal, met veel verdriet.
Het is een verhaal over keuzes, goed of slecht, en over de gevolgen daarvan.
Met een prachtig, redelijk onverwacht einde.
( )
  LindaKwakernaat | Nov 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 434 (next | show all)
Light" is a story you want to finish, despite some predictability problems. I cared about Tom and Isabel, and cheered for them even as they betrayed each other. And I was charmed by the supporting cast of characters (Bluey and Ralph in particular).

Stedman's grasp of the dialect of the region's inhabitants and dialogue fitting for the era are admirable. Her writing is sound, if sometimes uninspiring, but every so often she throws out a gorgeous line that you have to stop and read twice to appreciate, like this one: "A goblin thought jumps onto her shoulder: what's the point of tomorrow?" Or, "The rain is falling more heavily, and in the distance, thunder grumbles at being left behind by the lightning." Nice.

First-time novelist Stedman did what all good writers should do: She got her readers emotionally invested in her story.

As if you needed it, here's more proof that this novel is worth your time: The film rights have already been picked up.

The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction.......A polished, cleverly constructed and very precisely calculated first novel
As time passes, the harder the decision becomes to undo and the more towering is its impact. This is the story of its terrible consequences.

But it is also a description of the extraordinary, sustaining power of a marriage to bind two people together in love, through the most emotionally harrowing circumstances.

Light Between Oceans' is tough to shake off....And to the author's credit, Light's resolution is neither sensationalistic nor overly tidy. Everyone in this book has to make tough choices, including the little girl. By letting neither her readers nor her characters off the hook easily, Stedman creates a bond that makes her book tough to shake off.


» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
M. L. Stedmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Delaney, ColleenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, NoahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff's edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross.
There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way.
History is that which is agreed upon by mutual consent.
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Book description
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife, Isabel, live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world.
The one April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant - and the path of the couple's lives hits an unthinkable crossroads.
Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they made that day - as the baby's real story unfolds...
M.L.STEDMAN'S debut is the mesmerising novel of loyalty, love and unbearable choices.
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"A novel set on a remote Australian island, where a childless couple live quietly running a lighthouse, until a boat carrying a baby washes ashore"--

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