The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans Book Cover The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman
Fiction
Simon and Schuster
July 31, 2012
345

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, 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, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and 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.

Image result for beach love gifLove May be the Light Between Oceans

I’m one of those people who enjoys comparing books to movies (yes, the book is always better), so to prepare for the up-coming movie, The Light Between Oceans, I decided to check out the book on which it is based. It starts out a little bit slow, but once the action starts, it is a roller coaster of emotions…with more lows than highs. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did…but this is by no means a feel good story!

The Light Between Oceans is a novel for your inner bibliophile, full of allusions and metaphors. For example, who is the light between the oceans? Is it Tom, or is it Lucy? It could be Tom’s love for his wife that drives him to do what he knows in wrong, to keep the violent sea of grief from sweeping Isabel away. Or it could be Lucy, who draws Isabel back from the edge, and whose loss later leads Isabel back to the arms of her husband. The light could stand for either, or both of those things, and for so many more similarly fascinating possibilities.

This is a book that will also force you to think about how you perceive right and wrong, and the nature of punishment. The only character in this book with truly clean hands is Lucy; the rest of them act in varying shades of gray, allowing you to understand their motives, even as you hate their actions. The conclusion left me feeling a strange mix of satisfaction and abject misery…and perhaps a little bit of anger at Stedman. All together though the book is beautifully written, and quite haunting. If you plan to see the movie, I would recommend reading the book first…it will be quite a feat for the movie to live up to my expectations, and I look forward to seeing it try!

Add Comment

Professional ReaderFollow Challenge Participant
Shares