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Overview 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 dayâ€™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 babyâ€™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.
Reviews What a wonderfully complex and morally riveting story! I literally could not put this down, and read for a solid 3 hours last night, until 1am, when I finished this book!
When Tom Sherbourne returned from WWI, he was a shattered man. He needed a quiet place to gather his thoughts, to calm himself, as he didn’t believe he should have survived the war, when his mates did not. So he became a lighthouse keeper, and over the next few years, he did his job, and learned his trade, until he accepted the job of lighthouse keeper on the small island of Janus Rock, an extremely remote location off the coast of Western Australia.
The small township of Partageuse was where he spent a week or so, before heading out to the island for his first look at Janus Rock, with the help of Ralph and Bluey. They would come out in The Windward Spirit every three months with his supplies, any mail, anything that was needed. But in the time he spent in Partageuse, he met up with the lovely Isabel Graysmark, and over the next months, a quiet courtship occurred, with letters going back and forth on The Windward Spirit with Ralph and Bluey.
On their marriage, in 1926, Isabel joined Tom on Janus Rock, and the two of them lived their lives happy, content, and isolated from the rest of the world. Their happiness was not complete however, as Isabel endured miscarriages and depression, with Tom struggling to comfort her.
One April morning, with the wind blowing strongly, a boat was washed ashore, with a dead man, and a crying baby onboard. The consequences of the choices they made that fateful day would live with them forever.
As the years unfolded, their decision would see many lives affected, with an extremely devastating result. The continuing heartbreaking story will tear you apart, as you grapple with the right and wrong of love and loyalty.
This debut novel by Aussie author M.L. Stedman is gripping in its intensity. I highly recommend this book. The Light Between Oceans was an incredible moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions. The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s. The story begins when a light house keeper (Tom) and his wife (Isabel) find a life boat with a dead man and live baby in it on the beach and have to make tough decisions regarding the baby's future.
This book was an incredible quick read, but never once did I feel it was forced or lacking in anyway. The story came together very quickly and doesn't waver from the central plot at anytime. I enjoy this kind of writing. I would rather read a shorter but more concise story, rather then a longer one that adds a whole lot of nothing just for the sake of making it a long book.
The story itself will touch you emotionally numerous times. Stedman creates some VERY difficult scenarios that make the reader question their own moral standing. The author does a great job of having the reader totally sympathetic to the main characters, despite us knowing that the actions taken by them were wrong. She forms a story so full of gray areas that as a reader you are directly feeling the same inner conflict as Tom and Isabel. It was truly an emotionally moving and worthwhile story.
Considering this is Stedman's first published novel, I am incredibly excited to see what she produces next. This was a masterpiece in storytelling. My very first book for 2013, and one I spent the latter half of last year just longing to get my hands on.
Well, I finished The Light Between Oceans in only two sittings, in one single day! And this novel - a heartbreaking exploration of right and wrong, and the lonely windswept grey island which lies between the two - has completely wrung me out on only Day One of a brand new reading year.
How I wept. I mean absolutely WEPT. No parent could bear such sorrow, on either side of the swirling misery that is conjured up and thrashed around here in Stedman's threnody to love and loss. A complex, haunting, disturbing moral dilemma rendered so powerfully, in such an exquisitely evocative setting.
No one here is truly able to judge the actions of two hearts so utterly broken in the wake of such trauma as the battlefields of World War One and the bitter, fruitless bed of perpetual miscarriage.
There is no clear position for me to take at the end of this novel on what was right and what was wrong. Instead, I am left to treasure an unforgettably poignant image of human resilience in the face of love lost. A shifting, beautiful glimpse of the light that pervades even the deepest reaches of the human psyche, and the darkest waters of human morality. The Light Between Oceans is a thought provoking read about how decisions made can have grave consequences in the future. The story goes of Tom Sherbourne who after 4 years fighting in Europe during WW1 returns to Australia a different man. After the horrors he seen he needs a complete break from reality and finds it as a lighthouse keeper on a remote Island of Western Australia Janus Rock. For a while it is just him and the lighthouse and that is just the way he likes it. but after being ashore on a few times and the only human contact being supply ships that come every six months Tom starts to ponder what it would be like to share his life with someone else. That someone will show herself in name of Isabel Graysmark.
Isabel is a fun loving and adventurous women and after a few chance encounters it's clear to all there is more than just friendship there between the two. What
concerns Tom though is how Isabel would adapt to living on Janus with the isolation and harsh weather but Isabel assures Tom things will be fine and they will be happy. Those thoughts are tested after two miscarriages and one stillbirth that rock Isabel to the core and leave Tom seemingly helpless on what to do. Just when the couple have resigned themselves to the thought of never being parents then a boat would be found washed up onshore. Inside is a dead man and a baby girl. Tom wants to inform the mainland of there finding but Isabel convinces Tom otherwise and the two will soon raise the child as there own a decision that will come back to haunt them later in life.
This was an amazing read that had me constantly questioning what was right and wrong and how in this case the line was alot finer than is normally the case. The two main characters were so likable and even with there choices i didn't begruge them wanting happiness after years of despair. Tom inparticular was great as a tortured soul who just wanted to make Izz happy and would sacrifice himself to ensure her wellbeing. While the other characters all played significant roles in the decisons that are made. The characters all had parts to play and made it feel like a community albeit one struggling to do the right thing. Janus was also memorable with Stedman's writing making me feel like i was there experiencing the isolation and how this was for Tom. The best thing about the book was it made me think what would i do faced with the situation Tom And Izz found themselves in? Yes putting yourself under the microscope might seem uncomfortable but it is also enlightening. This would be a perfect read for book clubs and one i would gladly recommend the everyone.
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