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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
4,2393771,171 (3.95)1 / 348
  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: A Novel 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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Showing 1-5 of 387 (next | show all)
Quite a page turner, but also moving and thought provoking ( )
  SarahStenhouse | Jul 20, 2017 |
Sad, magnificent, unforgettable. ( )
  Tybeemiller | Jul 17, 2017 |
Tom Sherbourne is a WWI vet who is assigned to maintaining the lighthouse at Janus Island 100 miles off the coast of SW Australia. While on leave in Partageuse he meets Isabel Graysmark. They correspond for a few months, marry and settle into an idyllic life on Janus. Tom loves the routine of caring for the instruments and the record keeping which keeps his memories of the war at bay. Isabel loves the daily housekeeping, gardening, chickens and goatS. This is a very isolated posting with the supply boat arriving only every 3 months with supplies and mail.
Isabel miscarries twice and then has a stillborn son at seven months. The couple is distraught and Isabel is beyond consoling. A small boat washes up on shore carrying a drowned man and a surviving three month old baby. Tom wants to record the event and inform the authorities of the dead man. Isabel convinces him to keep the baby as their own. They name her Lucy and she brings them tremendous, love comfort, joy. Because of their isolation from the mainland, they are able to maintain the charade as parents for several years
Of course, this idyllic situation doesn't last and while on shore leave they discover that Lucy is really Grace Roenfeldt and is the daughter of a local woman, Hannah whose husband was the drowned man washed ashore.
This book is very well written and I really enjoyed it. The descriptions of the lighthouse, the island, the characters and storyline are very well done.
I imagine that the movie version is a tear jerker. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Jul 3, 2017 |
I liked it, but honestly thought it would be better. Started off very slow but did pick up once Lucy's birth mom entered the story. Overall, a very sad story. Not recommended if you are wanting a book to cheer you up. ( )
  Crystal423 | Jul 2, 2017 |
"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No, we always have a choice. All of us.”

There is so much to recommend about this title that a review could become a novel itself. A young woman, the loving and lively young wife and sole companion of a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the southwest shores of Australia in the early 1900s, has a couple of miscarriages and a stillbirth. Her husband, a decent and by-the-book sort deeply affected by WWI, allows her to convince him to bend--and later shatter--any number of written and unwritten lighthouse and life rules when a baby and a dead man wash up on the shores of their remote home. In the aftermath, many lives are affected by the ripple effects of one poor decision made out of desperation and love, and the repercussions continue for years. I sympathized with the characters, and especially with the husband's torn loyalties that simply couldn't be reconciled once the initial decision was made. I silently plead with the couple to not make their poor decisions, and to not pile on more poor decisions as things begin to unravel. But, of course, they didn't listen to me. And I knew soon enough that "happily ever after" was not going to be in the cards for any of the principals here.

My only beef with this one involved the ending--or epilogue, perhaps--which I thought ratcheted up the melodrama a bit too much after a novel that was already full of it. At the same time, however, it did a good job of providing closure that might not have been possible had the author ended things differently. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 387 (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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