The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (EPUB)
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.
The Light Between Oceans
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.
The Light Between Oceans is an inconceivably moving novel about what happens when great individuals settle on terrible choices. The story happens in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia amid the 1920s. The story begins when a lighthouse keeper and his wife find a lifeboat containing a live baby (and dead man) on the shore of their isolated island. Through a mixture of misplaced intentions and unsupported superstition they decide to raise the child as their own — deciding not to inform the authorities of the child’s existence.
Although the book was a quick read, I never once felt that it was forced or lacking in anyway. The plot is compact — never wavering from its central theme. I enjoy this kind of focused writing. Irrelevant or distracting side plots would have pulled me away from Tom and Isabel’s narrative and weakened my investment in their turmoil.