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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans (original 2012; edition 2012)

by M.L. Stedman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,0212701,885 (3.97)1 / 266
Title:The Light Between Oceans
Authors:M.L. Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Australia, post WWI, light house, family

Work details

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

  1. 31
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (aliklein)
  2. 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
  3. 54
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (aliklein)
  4. 00
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (dara85)
  5. 00
    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)
  6. 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 (277)  Dutch (1)  All languages (278)
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
Wonderful, heart-wrenching, yes I cried; how can you not. ( )
  cay250 | Nov 15, 2015 |
Tom Sherbourne is the lighthouse keeper on an island off the Australian coast. He and his wife Isabelle are relatively happy there until Isabel has three miscarriages. Miraculously, a boat washes up on shore one day with a baby and a dead man, presumably the father. Isabel convinces Tom to let them keep the baby and not report it, assuming that the mother drowned. Later when they learn that the mother is alive and lives in the small town where Isabelle grew up, hard decisions need to be made or not.

This is a solidly written emotional story of a mother's love. Both Isabel and the real mother fiercely love and want the child. There are hard decisions that are made by everyone involved but were fair in the end. I was satisfied with the ending but there was a lot of sadness in this story so I'm not sure I'd want to read more like this. ( )
  gaylebutz | Nov 1, 2015 |
If there was an option I would give this 3 1/2 stars. Up until the last couple of chapters I thought this was a solidly constructed story which was woven in such a way that it seemed to unfold naturally. However, after the climax, the author spends a few pages wrapping it up very neatly. I don't like those kinds of endings---I think a neatly sewn up ending takes away from the reader's participation in the story. Other than that, I think was very much okay and worth the read. I read in another review that film rights had been picked up--I can see how this story would translate well into that medium. P.S.
I noticed that Gone Girl is recommended as a similar read. Whaaaaatttt??? ( )
  jamaicanmecrazy | Oct 27, 2015 |
I tried to listen to the audio book. The reader was so bad I couldn't even understand him. ( )
  Jodeneg | Oct 23, 2015 |
Oh, the anguish. This may be the saddest book I've ever read (trumping Les Miserables and The Book Thief). I had some control at the beginning of the novel and held back my tears by in the last chapter or so I was a complete mess. It was emotionally traumatic.

I was utterly enthralled by Stedman's writing style and I was captured by the character's stories. I literally couldn't put this book down. I was swept away into their anxieties and I wasn't let go till the very end.

This book has a whole heap of downs. Like things can't go right for these characters and you immediately feel for them. You begin to sympathise with every one of the characters and after awhile, sympathising with every character creates unwanted anxieities because it every character can't possibly be satisfied. Oh the anguish! I felt so deeply for all the characters and I didn't know how they would make it through all of this. I was completely consumed with anxiety throughout this novel and then brought to an emotional mess at the conclusion.

I love sad books, books that make me feel something, and boy did this book make me feel.

What a masterpiece of dramatic writing! ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 277 (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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(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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Average: (3.97)
0.5 1
1 10
1.5 6
2 43
2.5 21
3 173
3.5 88
4 468
4.5 100
5 302


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