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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
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The Light Between Oceans (original 2012; edition 2012)

by M.L. Stedman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,7292452,160 (3.99)1 / 247
Member:coker74
Title:The Light Between Oceans
Authors:M.L. Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2012

Work details

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)

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English (250)  Dutch (1)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 250 (next | show all)
Entertaining, quick read ( )
  JenBurge | Mar 20, 2015 |
(6.5) I am a bit stunned at the rave reviews for this book ( but then I have just read another Australian book which won the ManBooker and deservedly so), this is in another category altogether.
I enjoyed the setting for this book but I can't quite put my finger on what was missing. I would consider this light fiction and probably somewhat predictable.
Tom has returned from World War 1 and takes up a position as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island. While on shore leave he meets Isabel and six months later they marry. She joins him in isolation and initially thrives. However following three miscarriages cracks start to appear in the relationship. Then a baby is discovered in a dinghy with a deceased male. Isabel pleads with Tom to keep the baby and pass it off as their own child. Against all his principles he goes along with her plan to save his marriage and restore her sanity. Of course, a few years later they learn that the mother is still alive and desperately seeking information about her missing husband and child. The consequences of their decision to keep the child has a devastating impact on all. ( )
1 vote HelenBaker | Mar 11, 2015 |
This is a beautifully poignant book about hope and loss, good and bad decisions, and how people's choices affect people they don't know. ( )
  krin5292 | Mar 1, 2015 |
Absolutely a fantastic book. This would make a great book club read! A great kick-off the "what would you do?" ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
I have to admit, this book isn't in a genre I typically enjoy. I got it as a gift for Christmas and, as I'm constantly working on trying to make myself grow outside the lines I've drawn for myself, gave the book a go.

As I read, I wasn't especially moved. I found the writing style to be somewhat bland. I'd be in the middle of reading a heart wrenching moment, a scene that should have moved me to tears, and realize that I was just simply reading. I didn't relate to the characters on an emotional level at all. I could see what was happening -- the author wrote well enough to create the 'mind-movie' for me -- I just didn't feel what the characters were feeling. And actually, that's a good thing. These characters went through some terrible stuff. I'm not really sure I would have WANTED to feel what the characters were feeling.

I carry enough sadness around inside me. I don't like to read books that center on sadness and loss because, well, life already has a habit of doing that. I much prefer books to entertain me, to take me on a wild ride so that I can step out of life.

I spent the majority of the book thinking I was going to give it a three star rating. But when I got to the end, and it was the right end -- not too depressing, not too sappy, just the best end these poor characters could manage -- I opted to give it four stars.

If I really used the Goodreads star rating system as they've set it up (2 stars being 'it was ok' and 4 stars being 'really liked it') I'd opt for a two star rating. Why then did I go with four stars? As I said, I knew going in that this book wasn't my thing and that's not the book's fault. ( )
  RMWebb | Feb 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 250 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of my parents
First words
On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff's edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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