The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Published by: Scribner January 1st, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Source: kindly sent to me from Simon & Schuster Canada as part of a Read-A-Long
Synopsis: 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.
Review: I received this book from Simon and Schuster in order to participate in a read-along for the book before the movie came out. That was a fun experience answering questions about the book each week and seeing how other readers viewed the topics in the book. I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a book of choices and consequences of those choices.
The World: It takes places in Australia. Mostly on Janus Rock where only Isabel and Tom live alone as Tom is the light house keeper there. It also takes place in 1926. I love reading historical fiction and hearing how the author describes the places. Stedman did a good job with the writing. I could picture exactly what Janus Rock looked like, how the town looked like when they went in to town and how the characters dressed an interacted.
The Characters: I liked Tom because he was simple. After coming back from the war unscathed he just wanted to seclude himself on an island and man the lighthouse. All he had to do was follow a set of rules. Then he met Isabel and things got a little complicated for him. She made him bend his rules. He wanted to make her happy so he would let her do whatever she pleased. Isabel seemed very naive to me. She always got what she wanted and didn’t really take into account what Tom wanted.
The Plot: That was a roller coaster of emotions. It’s filled with bad decisions, tragedy and loss. The author has you going back and forth between the two “mothers” and who you believe should be the right one. In the end a choice is made and you see how that affects everyone involved. I personally think that the ending wrapped up a little odd/quickly but overall I really enjoyed this book.