09 October 2018

The Light Between Oceans

Literary Fiction
A 2018 Top Rated Read

By M. L. Stedman

Paperback 464 pages
Publisher Black Swan (9th May 2013)
ISBN-13 978-0552778473

"A love story that is both persuasive and tender" The Sunday Times

📕My Review

Janus Island lighthouse keeper Tom and his wife Izzy are desperate for a child. After three miscarriages and the onset of an early menopause, the couple are distraught. But when a baby girl is washed ashore in a boat with a dead man, Tom and Izzy make the misguided decision to bury the man and raise the baby as their own. The ramifications of their actions devastate not only their own lives but also that of the broken woman who awaits the return of her missing child. 

The Light Between Oceans was an incredibly emotional book. I laughed and cried as I read; one moment desperately sad and the next overjoyed with happiness. It was a stunning read and will stay with me for a very long time.

The writing was beautiful and intelligent; it evoked everything I imagine 1920's Australia to be. The ruggedness of Janus Island and the solitude of life upon it was skillfully depicted and brought to life. 

What can I say about Tom and Izzy? They were good people who made one devastating decision. Over the years Tom wrestled with his conscience until he couldn't live with what they'd done. But by trying to make amends, so many lives were shattered.

In my opinion this novel is an accomplished piece of work. For it to be the author's debut is, quite frankly, extraordinary.    

Barnsey's Books Rating 

📗The Blurb

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds. 

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.

📘The Author

M.L. STEDMAN was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans is her first novel. An award-winning international bestseller, the book has already sold over 3 million copies in the English language alone, and is published in 45 countries. In 2016 it was made into a Dreamworks film starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, produced by Heyday Films.

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