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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
2,4972392,434 (3.99)1 / 227
Member:Debodot
Title:The Light Between Oceans
Authors:M.L. Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Australia, post WWI, light house, family

Work details

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)

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    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
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    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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    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (aliklein)
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English (238)  Dutch (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
This is a book which will stay with you long after you've read the last page. The characters are beautifully formed and all are likable, which makes the dilemma they face so utterly heartbreaking. You quickly come to understand that there is no way for the central problem in the plot to be resolved without one or many of these characters suffering and you suffer with them. The fact that this is the work of a first time author also impressed me mightily. This is an exceptionally well-crafted story that you will remember and recommend to your friends. ( )
  LaineyMac | Oct 19, 2014 |
Nice to read a book about Western Australia. The book is a bit like watching Titanic you know something has to happen but you don't know where. A well written story, handling an unusual topic. Highly recommend. ( )
  Neale | Oct 19, 2014 |
Beautifully written, but about midway through the book, the story became dull and predictable. In contrast to other reviewers I've read, I found all of the characters, except for Tom, to be one-dimensional and not very appealing. ( )
1 vote SharronA | Oct 10, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was a fairly quick read, and you sensed things to come. The characters were very well written and developed and you felt their grief, shame, happiness and all the other emotions. This book really transported me to a different place and time. It was a very good story about life and the different turns it can take and the long term effect of our decisions, forgiveness...of others and ourselves. ( )
  NHNick | Oct 7, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (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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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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