Paperback Perils: The Light Between Oceans


Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L. Stedman
Publication Date: 2012
Publishing House: Scribner

I picked this book up on a random stroll through Recycled Books, I will admit that it was the cover that caught my attention.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take 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 debut 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. 

This book is beautiful, the solitary job of being a lighthouse keeper, the unending oceans, trying to escape from the horrors of war. This book is filled with pain, mostly that pain brought on by lost children.

Stedman does a good job of blending love and loss and attempting to do the right thing. She explores relationships: mothers and children, husbands and wives, community and those that they perceived have wronged them. I finished reading this book late one night and the ending just made me want to hug my husband. Stedman does a good job in evoking feelings.

I suggest this book to fans of fiction who want love without too much romance, to those that enjoy lighthouses, and those that want an escape. Happy reading.

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