Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Book Description from Amazon
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. 

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written 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 Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

I literally read this book in a day. I haven't wanted to see how a book ended this badly since reading the last Harry Potter. I can't say I liked the ending but I wasn't disappointed either. 

This book is not an easy read emotionally. A couple who take care of a lighthouse on an isolated island make an unusual discovery. They find a baby in a boat with a dead man. Isabel, who has suffered two miscarriages and a stillbirth, wants to keep the baby to raise as their own. Tom, her husband, doesn't feel right about it but goes along with his broken-hearted wife. 

Then 4 years later, their secret is discovered and nothing good comes of it. What kept me glued to the pages was how their secret comes to light. (Excuse the pun considering the story centers around a lighthouse.) 

There are parts of this book where I was bawling. It was heart wrenching at places. What also made the book so good is that the couple were good people who made a very bad decision. They were likable but their moral choices were questionable. What was also interesting about the book is that it makes you the reader wonder what you would do if you were in the same situation. I liked that this book made me examine my own conscience and what it I feel is right and wrong.

When I first heard about this book I thought it was something I would never be interested in reading. Why? The story takes place in Australia in 1926. I've never been one for historicals, much less historicals about completely different countries. After reading this book I'm more likely to give foreign historicals a chance.

Another thing that was interesting about the book is that the main character,Tom, experiences post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of course it wasn't called this back then, yet the descriptions of what he goes through is surprisingly modern. Part of the reason he chooses to be a lighthouse keeper on the isolated island is because he can't adjust to civilian life.

I saw on Amazon that some people gave this two even one star. I think some of them are confusing the difficult subject matter with bad writing. I agree the subject is not an easy one. Watching people do immoral things isn't something that is easy to read about. This book puts you through the ringer emotionally. But that's why it is so good!

My rating is a solid Photobucket! There are rumors that this book will be turned into a movie. I hope it is!

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