The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

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 hal...

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Title:The Light Between Oceans
Author:M.L. Stedman
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Light Between Oceans Reviews

  • Brenda

    What a wonderfully complex and morally riveting story! I literally could not put this down, and read for a solid 3 hours last night, until 1am, when I finished this book!

    When Tom Sherbourne returned from WWI, he was a shattered man. He needed a quiet place to gather his thoughts, to calm himself, as he didn’t believe he should have survived the war, when his mates did not. So he became a lighthouse keeper, and over the next few years, he did his job, and learned his trade, until he accepted the

    What a wonderfully complex and morally riveting story! I literally could not put this down, and read for a solid 3 hours last night, until 1am, when I finished this book!

    When Tom Sherbourne returned from WWI, he was a shattered man. He needed a quiet place to gather his thoughts, to calm himself, as he didn’t believe he should have survived the war, when his mates did not. So he became a lighthouse keeper, and over the next few years, he did his job, and learned his trade, until he accepted the job of lighthouse keeper on the small island of Janus Rock, an extremely remote location off the coast of Western Australia.

    The small township of Partageuse was where he spent a week or so, before heading out to the island for his first look at Janus Rock, with the help of Ralph and Bluey. They would come out in

    every three months with his supplies, any mail, anything that was needed. But in the time he spent in Partageuse, he met up with the lovely Isabel Graysmark, and over the next months, a quiet courtship occurred, with letters going back and forth on

    with Ralph and Bluey.

    On their marriage, in 1926, Isabel joined Tom on Janus Rock, and the two of them lived their lives happy, content, and isolated from the rest of the world. Their happiness was not complete however, as Isabel endured miscarriages and depression, with Tom struggling to comfort her.

    One April morning, with the wind blowing strongly, a boat was washed ashore, with a dead man, and a crying baby onboard. The consequences of the choices they made that fateful day would live with them forever.

    As the years unfolded, their decision would see many lives affected, with an extremely devastating result. The continuing heartbreaking story will tear you apart, as you grapple with the right and wrong of love and loyalty.

    This debut novel by Aussie author M.L. Stedman is gripping in its intensity. I highly recommend this book.

  • Gaby

    is an incredibly moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions. The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s. The story begins when a light house keeper and his wife find a life boat 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

    is an incredibly moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions. The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s. The story begins when a light house keeper and his wife find a life boat 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.

    The story is highly emotional. Stedman crafts a perfectly gray scenario that forces its readers to question their own moral standing. This truly is reader manipulation at its most powerful. Allowing the reader to sympathize with morally ambiguous characters is a difficult task, however, Stedman presents her narrative in such a way that the reader can't help feeling the same inner conflict as Tom and Isabel.

    Considering this is Stedman's first published novel, I am incredibly excited to see what she produces next. This was a masterpiece in storytelling.

  • Jeanette

    Remember when you were four years old, and your mother was just about your entire world? If you can remember that long-ago feeling of attachment to a parent, or if you have a child, or if you have longed for a child of your own, your heart will break for little Lucy. And it will break for all the grown-ups who loved her,

    Remember when you were four years old, and your mother was just about your entire world? If you can remember that long-ago feeling of attachment to a parent, or if you have a child, or if you have longed for a child of your own, your heart will break for little Lucy. And it will break for all the grown-ups who loved her, whether they had a right to or not.

    This story can feel so slow that you might be tempted to give up. It's gorgeously written, but slooooow. Much of it takes place on a lighthouse rock 100 miles off the tip of Western Australia. The setting accounts in part for the pokey pace, but it's also a big part of the novel's charm. Somewhere in the last third of the book you'll begin to appreciate the mastery in the careful build-up. The pace will pick up (a bit) and you'll be glad you stayed with it.

  • Matthew

    The book - 4 stars

    The audiobook - negative 1000 stars! (more on that later)

    This book was a soul crushing catch-22. The decisions the characters had to make and the options they are presented with range from totally awful to not all that great. It was interesting to read a book that felt the entire way through like there is no chance for a happy ending. Which bad option will be the outcome?

    The audiobook is terrible. So bad that I will never listen to another book by this reader (Noah Taylor). Hi

    The book - 4 stars

    The audiobook - negative 1000 stars! (more on that later)

    This book was a soul crushing catch-22. The decisions the characters had to make and the options they are presented with range from totally awful to not all that great. It was interesting to read a book that felt the entire way through like there is no chance for a happy ending. Which bad option will be the outcome?

    The audiobook is terrible. So bad that I will never listen to another book by this reader (Noah Taylor). His odd inflections, weird and frequent pauses, poor enunciation, and whispering made this painful to listen to. As much as I did enjoy the book, I was thankful when it was over.

  • Mischenko

    Please visit

    to see this review and others...

    by M.L. Stedman is a heart-wrenching story about a relationship between two people and the risks they're willing to take for each other.

    I'm going to say that for me, the story was heart-wrenching. You can feel the love that Tom and Isabel have for each other. Tom, who would do anything for Isabel, is a special character I fell in love with from the start. Is what they do right or wrong? The story i

    Please visit

    to see this review and others...

    by M.L. Stedman is a heart-wrenching story about a relationship between two people and the risks they're willing to take for each other.

    I'm going to say that for me, the story was heart-wrenching. You can feel the love that Tom and Isabel have for each other. Tom, who would do anything for Isabel, is a special character I fell in love with from the start. Is what they do right or wrong? The story is sure to test your moral judgement.

    I did find certain parts a little boring, but the last half of the book - I couldn't stop until the end. However, I do wish it would've ended differently. The conclusion I was looking for wasn't the one I received, but that's the way the author wrote it, and it's still good.

    It's worth reading and I'd recommend it to anyone. I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author and hope she writes more in the future...

    4****

  • Barbara Williams

    I am going to start with review with a disclaimer. This review is subjective, from my point of view etc. I thought this book was terrible, bad, no good. You don’t have to agree with me, and you could think that this was the most AMAZING book and your eyes almost exploded from all the awesomeness that traveled through them to reach your brain which leapt in your skull with every sentence you read, and that is fine. I do not think that you are inferior to me.

    Now on to my review. Stop here for spo

    I am going to start with review with a disclaimer. This review is subjective, from my point of view etc. I thought this book was terrible, bad, no good. You don’t have to agree with me, and you could think that this was the most AMAZING book and your eyes almost exploded from all the awesomeness that traveled through them to reach your brain which leapt in your skull with every sentence you read, and that is fine. I do not think that you are inferior to me.

    Now on to my review. Stop here for spoilers (although you might regret it! It’s an awesome review.)

    I am not one to judge books by their covers, although a good cover is always a bonus, and this book has a excellent one. Props to the graphic designer. Combined with being on the New York Times Best Seller list, and having an first rate premise, I thought this one was a winner. But I was wrong. DEAD WRONG (ok that is a little dramatic.) If I was describe my reading experience like the ocean tides, sometimes I would be fine, floating near the shore, but other times it would sweep me out to sea with its ridiculousness. The conclusion didn’t help the novel’s case. It left a distinctly bitter taste in my mouth.

    So basically the premise is that a couple, Tom and Isabel, living on a island in a lighthouse in Australia, find a dead man and baby ashore. Isabel, filled with grief from her last three miscarriages, begs her husband to kidnap the baby and bury the dead man in a ditch so she can be fulfilled as a woman and finally have a child. She assumes that the mother is dead, so I mean, is she really doing anything wrong? It’s like when you find a stray dog and it has a collar. What if the dog was being abused, so that’s why it ran away? It’s your duty to keep that cute dog and love it forever. Except…. This is a BABY. Now I have never had a miscarriage, nor have I ever had children, so I guess this is why I hated Isabel so much. I don’t understand her point of view AT ALL. I agreed with Tom, and was pretty mad when his sympathies got the better of him. I mean really, it’s a BABY people. It is a human life you're messing with!

    So Tom and Isabel visit the main land like every three years, and this time they bring the baby, who they have named Lucy, for her christening and to show off to everyone. Now here comes the twist: the mother is alive! Shocker I know. So Tom once again is like, “Hey, this is kidnapping now, and the mother is literally insane with grief. Maybe we should give back her baby.” And Isabel is all like, “No! I can’t have babies. And I am a selfish person who is pretending to be a good person by saying it is better for the baby if she stays with us. We can’t confuse Lucy!” For me, I have always thought love was doing what is best for the person you care for. Apparently, this is not what Isabel thinks love is, so this makes her the villain of the story in my perspective.

    So of course, Tom and Isabel are found out eventually, all by Tom’s doing, so he takes the blame for everything. This is the point where I want to give up on the book, and it’s not because I hate Isabel for letting Tom take the blame to make him suffer for taking Lucy away. The story is full of pointless dialog and characters (and not even Jane Austin style with enjoyable pointless dialog.) It is like Stedman’s publisher was like, “This novel has to be 300+ pages so, get on that and write me some more!” I think I would have enjoyed this story much more if it was a short story. I skimmed the last chapters, just so I could be done with it.

    Now there are some redeeming factors to this novel ( I mean it’s not like this is 50 Shades of Gray terrible, I gave it two stars) . Stedman is a great writer when it comes down to descriptions of the island of Janus and little antidotes about the 1920’s in Australia. I just didn’t like her characters, NOT one of them.

    So my conclusion is read this book for yourself and make up your own opinion. As for me, I still need to learn that “judging a book by its cover” is a phrase for a reason.

    ***EDIT***

    So I just found out that they are making this book into a movie. Because Hollywood.

  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    There's this married couple, their names are Tom and Isabel. For the purposes of this review,

    and

    but we'll shorten it to Batshit. It's 1

    There's this married couple, their names are Tom and Isabel. For the purposes of this review,

    and

    but we'll shorten it to Batshit. It's 1926 Australia, we're on a rock (it's actually called Janus Rock) in the ocean in the middle of nowhere, and considering we're in Australia, it's even middle-of-nowhere-er.

    Doormat is a lighthouse keeper. He records the motion of the ocean, the way of the waves, the bodies that wash ashore, and all of that. Well, not so much the bodies that wash ashore, because that happens just once, and apparently, once is one time too many because that didn't turn out well at all.

    The day when a man dies and is washed ashore is called

    Hoooooo-kay. Whatever you call it, Batshit.

    Ok, here's the situation. One day a dead body washes ashore. Along with it is a wee lil baby, a living baby. Batshit is a woman who desperately wants a child. She has suffered from multiple stillbirths and is grieving and is going slowly mad because of it. A long time ago, she was a woman who had a lot of joy and happiness in her. It was what attracted Doormat to Batshit in the first place.

    8 years later, we know what secret lies behind that "playful smile."

    Batshit wants a child. A baby washes ashore! Huzzah! It's a miracle! Only, the baby's not theirs to keep. Sure, it's 1926. And sure, it's Australia, the wild land populated by criminals and kangaroos and wombats (or maybe that's New Zealand?), and

    But in this lawless land, in this lawless time, there are still regulations and shit to be followed. That's why Tom's there, working as the lighthouse keeper. So

    Only he doesn't. Because his beloved Batshit insists on keeping the baby, for just a little bit longer, the way a 4-year old child says "Please, daddy, I'll go to bed in just 5 minutes!" It ain't gonna happen. It's never going to be just five fucking minutes, and Batshit isn't just planning to keep the poor half-dead baby just oooooooooone more day. Despite what Doormat tells her, against all fucking common sense to just, you know

    -_-

    Sure, the baby's mother isn't there. She must be dead. Somehow. Her body must be on the bottom of the ocean floor. The baby can't POSSIBLY have another relative on land.

    Makes perfect fucking sense. To someone who belongs in Bedlam asylum (not to be mistaken for Arkham asylum. This isn't

    ) Do they have a Bedlam franchise in Australia?

    Poor Doormat's got a crisis of conscience. He wants to do the right thing, but he's just so fucking in love with Batshit that he gives in. Totally whipped.

    Yeah, so they wait one day to turn the baby in. And the next thing you know

    Well, that escalated quickly!

    Uh, ok. So the baby can bottle feed, it's just more convenient to

    -____________-;

    And then next thing you know, the baby's got a name.

    Seriously, what the fuck? Now all thought of turning the baby in to the authorities is out the window, because how the fuck is poor Doormat going to explain the fact that

    Clearly, they're in some deep fucking doodoo.

    And Batshit is there in her little land of happiness, contented with the fact that she has her wewy own baby!

    Let's just throw out all reason out the window.

    What woman would let her baby out of her sight? Maybe a desperate one? Maybe one who gave her to a nanny while she was away? Guh!

    So there they live, in blissful happy ostrich-in-the-sand-land for several years. Until they realize that, well, shit

    And she ain't a bad person, or a despicable person.

    So as it turned out, the baby's mother is alive and breathing. And wealthy. And scared, and lost, and lonely, because she's lost her husband AND her child. Poor Hannah may be rich, but she's had to fight for her love. She fought to marry

    , and this was pretty bad, considering this is post-WWI. Her father disinherited her, she had to work menial labor, she had to suffer a lot to marry the love of her life. And now her husband may be dead somewhere, she doesn't know (

    ) and her daughter may be dead somewhere, she doesn't know (

    ).

    So Hannah is now searching for her husband and daughter. She is wealthy because her father has accepted her again. If Batshit and Doormat returned the baby (

    ) (who's more like a small child by now), Lucy will have a happy life with a loving mother, a loving aunt, and a doting grandfather, not to mention she'll be rich as fuck. Settled for life, yo. The natural thing, the good thing to do would be

    But of course, they're not called

    by me for nothing.

    So there's poor Hannah. In mourning. Desolate. Childless.

    And here's how Batshit reacts to that.

    :

    It is a love borne out of madness and obsession. It is a love that is full of mindless devotion on Doormat's part, with pure emotional manipulation on Batshit's part.

    Doormat's mad devotion to his wife will eventually be his own downfall, and as we will learn towards the climax of the book,

    Overall: This book didn't convince me of anything. There were morality issues that failed to send any sort of message besides that of "crazy woman is crazy," "life sucks," and "men need to grow some balls." I didn't like any of the main characters, I ended up being sympathetic to Hannah aka poor mom who lost the kid, which made it all the more frustrating when crazy woman is constantly shoved in our face.

    Maybe I'm not supposed to like the main characters, but why the hell should I bother to read a book if everything about it frustrates me?

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