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The Light Between Oceans (2012)

by M. L. Stedman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,3784801,260 (3.91)1 / 392
"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"--
  1. 20
    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)
  2. 10
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (dara85)
  3. 32
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (aliklein)
  4. 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
  5. 54
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (aliklein)
  6. 00
    The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (sturlington)
  7. 11
    Moloka'i by Alan Brennert (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books have exotic, isolated settings and characters who experience great love as well as great loss.
  8. 00
    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (kqueue)
    kqueue: Both present thorny ethical dilemmas in a historic setting with sympathetic characters.
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» See also 392 mentions

English (474)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (479)
Showing 1-5 of 474 (next | show all)
Loved this book. Kept my interest throughout. Everyone in my bookclub loved it as well. Can't wait to read more from this author. ( )
  LeahWiederspahn | Jun 2, 2022 |
Did this as an audiobooks. The narrator, Noah Taylor, did an excellent job. ( )
  kbreader | May 2, 2022 |
WW1 vet Tom wants peace after 4-years of war. He becomes a lighthouse keeper on an extremely remote island. Tom and Isabel want to start a family but tragedy strikes over and over. Then one day a small boat washes up with a dead man and a tiny baby inside.

This was a gorgeous book about love, loss, and how far someone will go to have their deepest desire. I loved it. It is a gut wrenching read and I advise you do NOT finish it in a public place. ( )
  bridgetannie | Mar 8, 2022 |
Wow, talk about writing that absolutely draws you in from the first chapter. Such beautiful descriptions of the loneliness and stark beauty of the sea in 1924 Australia as a lighthouse keeper and his wife discover a dead man and a lost baby. The novel reverts back to the history that brought the couple there, and it’s absolutely impossible to put down. The author has such a beautiful way with words.

The light keeper and his wife have lived a lovely life isolated 100 miles from shore for several years, but it hasn’t been without tragedy, as they have lost several pregnancies. So when a baby shows up, the dingy landing by chance on a piece of land with nothing surrounding it for 100 miles, wouldn’t it seem like fate? It is so hard not to sympathize with these characters and the choices they make. Of course, then the story gets more complex, you start to see things from the other side, and as they aren’t the only players involved any more, this happily ever after starts to feel a bit more tarnished. This was SO hard to put down. Absolutely captivating storytelling.

Trigger Warnings: attempted sexual assault, stillbirth, miscarriage

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
( )
  KatKinney | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 474 (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.

 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
M. L. Stedmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Delaney, ColleenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, NoahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
History is that which is agreed upon by mutual consent.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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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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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