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The Light Between Oceans (2012)

by M. L. Stedman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,4285111,248 (3.91)1 / 399
"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. 32
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (aliklein)
  3. 54
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (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. 10
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (dara85)
  6. 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.
  7. 00
    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (kqueue)
    kqueue: Both present thorny ethical dilemmas in a historic setting with sympathetic characters.
  8. 00
    The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (sturlington)

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 Orange January/July: The Light Between Oceans9 unread / 9Carrieida, September 2021

» See also 399 mentions

English (505)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (512)
Showing 1-5 of 505 (next | show all)
I saw the movie when it was released and because of that, I chose not to read the book at that time. Now that the memory of the movie has faded a little it seemed like a good time to start reading. It’s an ambitious work, has a good storyline, but it doesn’t work as well as it should. It reminded me that I thought the same of the movie. ( )
  VivienneR | Jul 7, 2024 |
That's all I can say. A writing style that it's just a little better than an ordinary blog. Unidimensional characters with no more personality or motivation than the issue in the story.
All the promising background: the lighthouse, Australia between wars... Is meaningless, undescribed and irrelevant in the novel. It could be changed for any other place and any other time with a massive “replace all" in a text editor. It felt like a school theatrical drama play with a fake background.
It is not bad enough to throw the book away, but neither to read again or lend it to friends... Just, mediocre. ( )
  cdagulleiro | Jul 3, 2024 |
4.5 stars. Torn between wanting to read slowly and appreciate the excellent writing and wanting to read fast to find out what happens next in the excellent plot. Lovely descriptions. ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
Tom, once a hero on the Western Front, elects to become a lighthouse guard on a small otherwise deserted Australian Island, and can't believe his luck when the sprightly delightful Isabel reveals that she'd like to share his life there. When a boat washes up with a dead man and a live baby, Tom must decide between taking a course of action dictated to him by his conscience, or the one that his beloved Isabel implores him to follow.
Very well written...the reader, Noah Taylor, however, uses volume as one of the tools to distinguish characters ....and in general often continues to read when he's out of air, which would probably be fine if I wasn't trying to hear it over the noise of the car on the road while driving. I was constantly adjusting the volume up and down to avoid missing words whispered, or uttered in an Australian accent beneath his breath, or blasted out after he took a breath and launched into a stronger character's dialog. It's a shame though because otherwise he has a great feel for the characters, tenor, and delivery in general. ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
I read this book for a book club I was in at the time…were it not for that, I wouldn’t have picked the book up, at all, regardless for the hype. The synopsis did nothing for me. That, should have been my first clue…

The decisions of the characters in the story were just so off-putting to me that it was a depressing and torturous read. I cannot and will not see how their decisions are “okay” or “understandable”.
I understand (from reading other reviews) that many readers felt a connection to Isabel and what she had gone through, and that because of that they could feel sympathy towards her and her decisions, however disastrous they may have been. I, on the other hand, was not one of those people.

It’s one star redemption was the writing. Great writing. In fact, let me know when Stedman writes something that doesn’t have appalling decisions made by the characters in her stories.

Full review: wanderinglectiophile.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/review-the-light-between-oceans-by-m-l-stedman/ ( )
  RochelleJones | Apr 5, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 505 (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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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.
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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