Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Light Between Oceans (2012)

by M. L. Stedman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,1824941,217 (3.91)1 / 395
"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)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

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

» See also 395 mentions

English (490)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (497)
Showing 1-5 of 490 (next | show all)
The Light Between Oceans is a bittersweet novel that will crush your soul (in a good way).

This is M.L. Stedman's first book, and it is one fantastic first novel (to be brutally honest). This book was beautifully written, it pulled at my heart strings and it demanded my attention. Typically fictional novels that are more focused on "drama" don't pull me like this book did! I was obsessed and had to finish reading it, I had to know what was going to happen to Tom, Isobel and Lucy.

The layers of love and affection in this story, mixed with the difficult decision making (and catch-22's, as most reviewers are saying) make this a really intriguing story. It really made me question myself and my own choices - if I was Isobel in that time period (or Tom for that matter) and went through what they had been through, would I keep the baby? Would I admit I kept the baby? What would I do?

It's a difficult decision, and you see one plot line of how this story can go. It's not like a crazy soap opera, it seems realistic (to me, anyways). It's a story all about bad decisions being made by good people, and the tension and fall outs that happen because of it. Were they really doing a bad thing, if their hearts were in the right place?

This book seems to be 50/50 for people - you either love it, or you don't. I enjoyed the slight romance, dramatic fiction, heart wrenching tale that it is....but...I also didn't read any reviews before and went in knowing I just wanted to read the book to see the movie. I had 0 expectations, and I came out loving it. In my opinion, some people seem to be reading way to far into the book. Are there themes? Yes. Is this a book that will be compared to Shakespeare (or even It...) in relation to it's themes? No. Does it identify how good people can make bad decisions? Yes. Do you have to agree with their decisions? No. Do the characters decisions have to be your decisions? No. It's simply a novel that is well written and shows one story of bad decision making.

Overall, this book is well written and is a fun read. All I can say now is, I can't wait to watch the movie!

Five out of five stars. ( )
  Briars_Reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two thirds of this book. It tells of a man, still reeling from the horror he witnessed during World War One, cut himself off from the world by taking a position as a lighthouse keeper, so remote he dosn't see another human for 6 months at time. On one of his leaves he meets a woman, falls in love, takes her as his bride, and returns with her to the island. The trials and tribulations they face are described in a manner that is poignant, compelling, and at times very touching. But during the third part of the book when they are forced to leave island and return to the mainland the tone of the book changes dramatically. In my opinion, it becomes overly melodramatic and almost even soap opera like. Just way over the top for my taste. ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
4.5 stars Ok so it was sad....really sad. It earned the high rating because I could not put it down and I cried, really cried and for more than one point of view. The setting was descriptive and I don't usually like books that are set back in history. 5 stars would have been if it had a little happy in the end, so I didn't go to bed depressed!! ( )
  Asauer72 | Jul 3, 2023 |
Loved this romance. Very sad but a wonderful story. ( )
  MauraWroblewski | Jun 24, 2023 |
When Tom Sherbourne returns to his native Australia, mentally scarred by his experiences in World War I, he takes up a position as lighthousekeeper on a remote island called Janus Point off South-West Australia. While back on the mainland for a short time, he falls in love with and marries Isabel Graysmark and she comes to live with him on the island, where they are the only two inhabitants.

Their happiness is all but destroyed by two miscarriages and a stillbirth, so when a boat lands on the island with a dead man and a healthy young baby onboard, Tom and Isabel make the decision to raise the child as their own. But while they live a life of solitude on the island, it becomes clear that back on the mainland, their decision has affected the lives of many others and there will be far reaching consequences for all involved.

There was a lot to like about this book. I think the author has a lovely turn of phrase and captured the remoteness of life on Janus Point very well. Tom was a very well drawn character, although I thought Isabel was less so (this may have been because I far preferred Tom; during the course of the story Isabel’s decisions put me off her). I wanted to read until the end and did so, but I felt the story took a long time to get going, and the final third of the book was strung out more than it had to be. Some of the characters also made strange choices, even taking into account the unusual circumstances that people were coping with.

That all said, it was difficult not to sympathise with everyone involved in such a sad story. I do feel the pace of the storyline plodded in places and a fair chunk could have been cut out of the last section of the book but nonetheless the slow unfolding of what happened somewhat matched the pace of life on Janus Point so maybe this was a deliberate move on the author’s part.

Overall a fairly enjoyable book and I would probably read more by M.L. Stedman. ( )
  Ruth72 | Apr 24, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 490 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

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"--

No library descriptions found.

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.
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

M. L. Stedman's book The Light Between Oceans: A Novel was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.91)
0.5 1
1 27
1.5 7
2 102
2.5 32
3 394
3.5 136
4 844
4.5 143
5 543

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 195,053,284 books! | Top bar: Always visible