Friday, August 3, 2012

The Light Between Oceans

Title:  The Light Between Oceans
Author:  M L Stedman
Publication Information:  Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2012. 345 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a hardcover edition.

Favorite Quote:  "You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things .... We always have a choice. All of us."

The Light Between Oceans is the story of one decision and its ramifications through so many lives. Tom is a soldier returning from the war. He brings with him all the memories and horrors of the war. Isabel is the young vivacious girl who manages to reach his heart.

Janus Rock is a small island off the coast of Australia. The only thing on the island is the lighthouse. The only people living there are the light keeper and his family. Their only contact with the outside world is a supply boat every six months and a shore leave every few years. This is the isolated life to which Tom brings his new bride. Their content life is marred, however, by the inability to have children. Their hopes are built up and then destroyed as they suffer through miscarriages and a stillbirth.

One day, a boat comes ashore with a dead man and a crying baby. Now comes the decision. Instead of reporting the incident, Tom and Isabel keep the baby as a gift from God. Now, their life really is content. However, when returning to the mainland, they discover the impact that decision has had on so many lives. What happens next....well, that would be a spoiler.

The book is beautifully written. The characters are well developed, and the writing makes you care. It is one of those stories that you wish could have a happy ending for everyone, but you know it really can't.  Without giving a spoiler, I can say that I loved the fact that the author did not wrap the story up in a neat package at the end. It was a much more realistic approach. Again, I wished for the happily ever after, but I think I really would have liked the book much less if it had gone that way.

A beautiful debut novel.


  1. Bravo - sometimes a realistic ending is just what is needed, even though I really would've accepted that "neat package at the end". Hard to believe this was a debut novel, as it was THAT good.

    1. I completely agree. I can't wait to see what the author comes out with next.

  2. I thought about this book for weeks after I finished it. It was like I was still stuck in the lighthouse, mentally. Stedman's debut definitely deserves 5 stars!