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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)

by MLs

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2,6842392,210 (3.99)1 / 244
Title:The Light Between Oceans: A Novel [Light Between Oceans] by ML Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
This was February's book club pick. Wow what a book! Probably my favorite so far this year! The story takes place on an island where a lighthouse keeper and his wife find a shipwrecked boat with a baby inside. What ensues are lies and betrayals. Such a moving and emotional book and it raises a lot of ethical questions.

For the rest of the book review, visit my blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/85726.html ( )
  booklover3258 | Feb 19, 2015 |
Great story centered on a lighthouse operator in Australia.
  daleaz | Feb 17, 2015 |
This book challenged my moral compass. I think I know what I would have done. All through the book I was like do the right thing, and then when they did it I wondered if it was the right thing. I really loved the book. It kept me reading. I loved Tom's character. Izzy's challenged me a bit.

Favorite quotes: "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." And "Right or wrong can be like bloody snakes; so tangled up that you can't tell which is which until you've shot'em both, and then it's to late." ( )
  bwhitner | Feb 9, 2015 |
Ay ay yiiii, this is the first book club selection of the year and I am obliged to read it.

What to say. I am completely unmoved by this book. It is what it is. Why it has been handpicked by the local librarian as a book club selection, I am yet to learn. This is the archetypal book club book as chosen by said librarian with certain particular tastes that don't line up with mine. Here's what I mean by the Archetypal Book Club Book, and I'm speaking specifically of our own little regional NSW library system:

1. A Book Club Book probably opens with an exciting action scene. Who says prologues are dead? Here we have a baby washed up to a remote lighthouse in Western Australia. Chapter two will be backstory. Chapter three may even include some backstory on the backstory. We’ll need to read for ages before we get back to the action scene.

2. There will be a romance. If there’s not a romantic main plot there will be a romantic subplot. The romance requires marriage.

3. The setting is highly likely to be either WW1, WW2, or the years between those two.

4. The author’s way of explaining things will touch on nostalgia for older readers and seem to explicitly lecture younger readers. Here we have mini lessons on terms that were used during the war, the sorts of injuries men came home with…

5. After a paragraph showing the reader how a character feels, the character’s feelings will be summed up in a sentence which tells us anyway, in case the reader is too slow on the uptake: [Three paragraphs of handwringing about finances with impending baby arrival] ‘The idea that he was going to be a father made him nervous and excited and worried.’

6. If the book is Australian, the dialogue will at times sound self-consciously so. “I reckon” the book will include a man with red hair who goes by the name of ‘Bluie’. (In case we forgot we were in Australia.)

7. An instance of bad weather will offer a chance for pathetic fallacy: Here, a storm accompanies a miscarriage. After the marriage, clouds foreshadow trouble to come.

8. Scenes can be imagined quite easily as stock photos: A girl smiling manically while throwing crusts of bread to seagulls (who does that except for the insane, or perhaps the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl?) We have a courting couple lying on a rock surrounded by crashing waves; newlyweds in the Kate and Leo Titanic pose…

9. Since the story will be set in a time when women were obliged to perform feminine roles, the heroine of this story (for modern audiences) will have ’tomboyish’ tendencies: “Cricket’s no good for a girl,” says the gran to young Izzy. Yet despite the odd small rebellion, our heroine will conform to every other feminine ideal, in this case the wish to become a loving mother. Our heroine is so good with children because she is childlike herself: ‘Isabel always looked like a child when she was angry.’ When the new baby drifts ashore, ‘Isabel’s belly quickened at the very sight of the baby — her arms knew instinctively how to hold the child and calm her, soothe her.’

10. Juxtaposition in dialogue is a foreign concept. People say exactly as you might expect them to say, if you’ve watched enough Made For TV dramas: “It’s my fault, Tom,” says Izzy after losing her baby. “That’s just not true, Izz.”

11. There will be supernatural shit happening even though it’s not a supernatural book: ‘Looking into those eyes was like looking at the face of God. … That this intricate creature, this exquisite crafting of blood and bones and skin, could have found its way to her, was humbling. … It was impossible to see it as mere chance.’ So no, coincidence in the plot is totally kosher as long as our heroine is surprised by it.

12. ‘…If a wife lost a husband, there was a whole new word to describe who she was: she was now a widow. A husband became a widower. But if a parent lost a child, there was no special label for their grief. They were still just a mother or a father, even if they no longer had a son or a daughter.’ Who came up with this first? It’s basically a line out of Six Feet Under.

This book has some heavy handed Christian messages and themes, which don't sit easily with this atheist reader. Let's face it; I was never going to enjoy this book, but at least I won't get kicked out of book club for failing to get through it. Amen. ( )
  LynleyS | Jan 29, 2015 |
Loved this powerful, sad story - such a simple dilemma, told through the eyes of characters who are highly engaging.
I wasn't totally thrilled by the ending, more because of where in the tale the author chose to end things, than what actually happened. And I listened to this as an audio book and found the narrator less than clear in places.
But these were my only gripes: Strongly recommend this one. ( )
  paulinewiles | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (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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