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The Light Between Oceans: A Novel [Light…

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel [Light Between Oceans] by ML Stedman (original 2012; edition 2012)

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Title:The Light Between Oceans: A Novel [Light Between Oceans] by ML Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Historical fiction, Australia, lighthouses, marriage, read in 2012

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The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
M. L. Stedmans’ debut work of fiction, "The Light Between Oceans" is another exhibit in the case against reading cover blurbs. This book had a note using the term “heartwarming,” which is not appropriate for this book, in my opinion. "Light Between Oceans" is a fine effort that deals with love, war-ravaged psyches, and the jealousy of the maternal instinct. It’s also a well-unified piece, using the bright spot of the little girl to encapsulate the shining light of opportunity and love between two opposed mothers. But I would hardly consider this novel’s events or conclusion “heartwarming.”

Ms. Stedman’s book contains the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife, a young couple who have suffered through several miscarried pregnancies. One day a miracle falls to them: a baby washes up on their remote island in a rowboat, the man in the boat with her (apparently her father) dead from cardiac arrest. The plot has interesting points, and is made quite believable by the author. But flaws creep in … I had a difficult time with how willing the young mother (Isabel) was to assume the duties of and give the love of a mother. My suspension of disbelief was further strained by Isabel’s apparent willingness later in the book to let people think the absolute worst of her incarcerated husband.

Nevertheless, this book’s descriptions of beautiful and captivating little Lucy-Grace are perfect – never off by even the tiniest bit. She embodies the shining hope and ideal object of love for two different women, and thus stands out as the light between two oceans. However, this book made me tense, as I kept expecting a certain outcome, but was disappointed in that expectation. And the very end didn’t quite seem necessary, and had a definite formulaic feel, which the rest of the book certainly did not.

A family saga, set in a unique place – off the southeastern coast of Australia – that deals difficult family, legal, and psychological issues, this is a flawed but interesting debut. This author shows promise, but I recommend waiting for subsequent efforts.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-light-between-oceans-by-ml-stedma... ( )
  LukeS | Sep 20, 2014 |
Two stars because at times this looked like it was going to be an exploration of survivor guilt, but only two because it turned into a soap-opera, neatly wrapping up all kinds of questions in a feel-good resolution that happens too suddenly to be plausible. ( )
1 vote nmele | Sep 15, 2014 |
Beautiful story that once started I could not put down.
  andreabrock | Sep 11, 2014 |
I had to hurry and finish this one so the next person in line at the library could have it. I am so glad I did finish it though. First of all wonderful descriptions of the lighthouse and life on it. (LOVE that type thing)

Tom Sherbourne-just gotta say I loved his character. Back from the war thinking he should have died instead of his fellow soldiers. This man has such a good heart. He knows the wrong part of keeping Lucy but love for his wife and the child overwhelms him. Then there is Hannah's character missing her husband and child. I just cannot imagine the pain she went through.

I can see both sides of this story and the author did a good job of introducing the characters and making you see them as people. I've lost a baby so I know that awful heart breaking pain--and then as a miracle a baby appears? Not really morally right to claim it as their own but I can see how they just wanted that baby so badly.

I love books that make you think and this one does that. ( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
There are places in this book, where you can’t put it down because you have to find out what happens in this story that proves you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Tom Sherbourne, on his return to Australia after WWI, is assigned lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Island. He and his young wife, Isabelle, are happy, but saddened when each of her pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. While struggling with the latest miscarriage a dead man and a baby wash up on the beach. Isabelle convinces her husband into not reporting the baby but keeping it and claiming the baby girl as their own. Tom reluctantly agrees as he falls in love with the baby, too, and relishes the change brought about in his wife. But there is a problem, the baby has a grieving mother back in the closest village on the mainland. This riveting story takes the reader from the happiest days to the darkest days in Tom and Isabelle’s life as the baby is returned to the birth mother. But how do you sever ties with a child you consider your own? How does a birth mother come to terms with a daughter who pines to see her other parents. ( )
1 vote brangwinn | Aug 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 234 (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.

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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.
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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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