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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
2,127None3,066 (4.01)1 / 209
Member:MissAda
Title:The Light Between Oceans
Authors:M.L. Stedman
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)

2012 (20) 2013 (45) Australia (177) Australian (14) Australian literature (13) baby (10) book club (26) ebook (22) family (33) fiction (219) historical (16) historical fiction (102) isolation (12) Kindle (21) lighthouse keepers (13) lighthouses (110) literary fiction (13) loss (13) love (22) marriage (45) novel (9) own (9) post-WWI (11) read (13) read in 2012 (20) read in 2013 (30) relationships (9) to-read (155) wishlist (9) WWI (26)
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Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
Thought-provoking, well written, but sad. ( )
  libq | Apr 9, 2014 |
I have been in a deep reading slump and "The Light Between Oceans” was so very refreshing for me. I could almost feel the sea spray and smell the sea air. The details about isolated living on the tiny island really grabbed my imagination. The story swept me up like an ocean wave and kept me tumbling until the end. You can see the train wreck coming but have no idea how or when it will happen and how the characters will deal with it, you can't look away. This is a wonderful story about the fragility of being human.

“Perhaps when it comes to it, no one is just the worst thing they ever did.”
― M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
This was a reread for a book club meeting and as such I read it with a more critical eye. I have to say I did really enjoy it the first time but this time I found it hard to believe that they ever thought that they would get away with keeping the baby. I thought that surely they must have realised that she had a mother somewhere most likely on the mainland. I believe that as it was written Tom did however have an impossible choice for Isobel at that point was almost at the stage of having a mental breakdown and if they had not kept the baby this would surely have happened. The consequences of their actions impacted in a disasterous way on Lucy, both of them, Lucy's real mother, and many other people. Still I thought she did end it in the best way she could have and that Isobel and Tom did develop and change a little by the end of the story. I had forgotten all the details of the story as I read it this time so it did keep me interested and engrossed as I could not remember how it all turned out. I thought Stedman created a wonderful picture of life on Janus Rock. I felt a lot of sympathy for Lucy and Hannah. I could understand how distraught Isobel would have been but she still made me angry at times. So all in all I would rate it a little lower that last time . ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Apr 3, 2014 |
A début novel! You're kidding me, right? Turns out the M.L. Stedman has become a novelist after a good deal of living. And it shows. Such confident and assured writing that brings characters and places to life and, unlike so many others who try, makes the two blend together to tell the story and advance the plot. Too often descriptions of the landscape or the surrounds read like padding. Every sentence here seems to serve a purpose. Hardly the work of a young writer.

The story centres on a central dillema--what a childless couple should do with a baby that washes up (literally) into their lives. Keep her, or look for her parents in case they are not as dead as they seem? The plot follows a more or less predictable path and that helps the reader to engage with the moral and ethical difficulties of the characters. You hope for a clever authorial intervention to get us out of these difficulties, and, if it comes at all, it's only in the last few pages that we get a resolution that is more happy than sad.

Stedman has an unusual habit of changing from past to present tense. It bothered me when I first encountered it. I had to check back to be sure what had happened. After the first three of four tense-switch moments, I realised how well it was working to bring me, as reader, right into the mind and experience of the moment. Hard to carry this off, but Stedman does it perfectly. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Mar 31, 2014 |
I read this for my February book club and found it a quick, sentimental read. After several miscarriages, young Isabel finds a boat with a dead man and a live baby washed up on the beach of tiny Janus Island. Her husband, Tom, is the lighthouse keeper, a veteran of World War I, and a very hard man to persuade to do something against his moral beliefs. Alternating between the isolation of Janus and the close knit community of Point Partageuse on the Australian mainland, the novel touches on issues of what it means to be a family, what is in the best interests of a child, and what it means to be loyal to those we love. Although I enjoyed the descriptions of a lighthouse keeper's life and the beautiful to be found in isolation, I found the novel too sentimental for my tastes and with a few too many unfortunate coincidences. ( )
  labfs39 | Mar 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (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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In memory of my parents
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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.
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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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