10 Nov 2019

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The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

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.

Published:     31st July 2012
Publisher:  Scribner
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


In complete contrast to what I have just read (The Night Circus) I thought it would pick up another novel that has been on my shelf for ages, since 2012 when it first came out.  I am going to be honest and say that this novel made me nervous to pick up.  Not only was it that most reviews I have read and seen about this book were very highly rated but the movie was too.   I think I had such high expectations for this novel that I did not think it would live up to that.  Well, it did and then some more.

This story centres around Tom and Isabel.  Tom is a lighthouse keeper and he and his wife live on this tiny island, all by themselves.  One day a boat washes up on shore which has a dead man and a baby who is still alive.  For their own personal reasons, they decide not to report this but to raise the baby as their own.  What follows is seeing the consequences of the choices that they make and how they deal with that.

This story blew me away.  The start of the novel you have the introduction to the world and the main characters together with issues that they have and are facing.  Honestly, the middle part of this book was a bit slow and I did struggle a little bit to concentrate but it soon picked up again after they have 'settled' into their new lives.

A tragic but beautiful story that really focuses on moral obligations and personal obligations.