The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans - by M.L. Stedman 343 pages
Book Blurb:
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.

My Review: 5 stars
I can’t believe this is a debut book. What a treasure. A success. A story to remember. For me, this book seriously hit on a mother’s heartstrings, but more importantly it focused mostly on lies and that even “a good lie” can be dangerous. The love story is genuine, the dialogue perfect and watching Tom come into his own skin was incredibly realistic. A total page turner however there were times I was scared to turn the page, worried that the author would slight us by not giving us a good plot. Kudo’s to her for keeping it honest with a believable conclusion. This book would lead to excellent discussion, most importantly, what would you do for your own child, or for that matter, someone else’s child. This book had an overwhelming feeling of desperation, yet it was countered with the sereneness of nature, the isolation of the lighthouse and the calm depths of the ocean.
Quotes I liked:
- “It occurs to him that there different versions of himself to farewell- the abandoned eight-year-old, the delusional soldier who hovered somewhere in hell; the lightkeeper who dared to leave his heart undefended. Like Russian dolls, these dolls nested within him.”

- “Tom can go for months and not hear his own voice. He knows some keepers who make a point of singing, just like turning over an engine to make sure it still works. But Tom finds a different freedom in the silence. He listens to the wind. He observes the fine details of life on the island.”

- “Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only gave to forgive once . To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No, we always have a choice. All of us.”
Tags: Historical Fiction, 2012

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