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The Light Between Oceans (2012)

by M. L. Stedman, M.L. Stedman (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,7164621,253 (3.93)1 / 384
"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"--
Recently added byAlice_Wonder, Ygraine, private library, winni.fred, Zuzika, JenHeth, Jelgava, Arina40, justsayjoy, 0minous20
  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)
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    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (aliklein)
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    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
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    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (kqueue)
    kqueue: Both present thorny ethical dilemmas in a historic setting with sympathetic characters.
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    akblanchard: Both books have exotic, isolated settings and characters who experience great love as well as great loss.
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English (455)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (460)
Showing 1-5 of 455 (next | show all)
A pretty good book that could have been better. I loved the description of the setting, which is exotic to a New Yorker.
It was hard to like the main characters, especially the two "mothers". Any sympathy that I may have initially had for them was lost by the middle of the book. As the story progressed, I was thinking... "that doesn't seem like what this character would do".. and it was frustrating that the author wanted us to believe in the characters.
The ending was unsatisfying. What was Isabella's life like after she left Perth? We followed her development, then were suddenly left without any explanation or her point of view.

( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
There are many things I really enjoyed about this book and many things I didn't. I love the image of the lighthouse and the small island it inhabits. I thought the character development of the two protagonists were well done.

The story was interesting but a little convoluted. Was easy to read and could be the subject of right and wrong. Is it better to lie than to hurt someone? ( )
  Jolene.M | Jul 30, 2020 |
[b:The Light Between Oceans|13158800|The Light Between Oceans|M.L. Stedman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1336683021l/13158800._SY75_.jpg|18337340] focused on the relationship between a man and a woman and how becoming parents changed that relationship. I was uninterested in that relationship when it started and uninterested when it changed and - subsequently - the emotional core of the book failed to resonate with me at any level. Folks who have experienced the shift from being young adults to being young parents (or those who aspire to become a parent) might have a different reaction to the book. ( )
  atlastata | Jul 28, 2020 |
Good cottage/beach read ( )
  SBG1962 | Jul 13, 2020 |
4
Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia after surviving the horrors of WWI. He longs for solitude and joins the Lighthouse Service eventually taking a job as light-keeper on Janus Island, the separation point between the Indian Ocean and Southern Sea.

He meets Isabel Greymark while on leave in SW Australia. They fall in love, marry and begin their life together on Janus Rock. They are happy together except for their inability to have children. Isabel suffers two miscarriages and a stillbirth during the first few years of their marriage. Both Tom and Isabel are devastated.

One day a small boat washes up on the island carrying a dead man and a tiny living baby girl. Isabel desperately wants to keep the baby and even though Tom knows it's wrong, he can't bear to disappoint Isabel. They decide to pretend the baby is their own. They name the child Lucy and she changes their life. They are both happier than they could ever have imagined. When they return to the mainland for a one month leave and Lucy's christening they hear the story of Hannah Roennfelt. Her husband Frank escaped into a dinghy with their baby daughter after being hounded by local thugs and their bodies have never been found. They realize their decision to keep Lucy, a child they thought was orphaned, has serious repercussions for two families now.

The story explores the dilemma of right and wrong, love, loss and what we do to protect the people we love. The author made you experience the isolation of Janus Rock and why Tom, Isabel and Lucy were so attached to each other. I'm happy I finally read this book, even though I thought my heart would break for both Isabel and Hannah. I thought it was a powerful and emotional story. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 455 (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
Stedman, M.L.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Delaney, ColleenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, NoahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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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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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