The Light Between Oceans – M. L. Stedman
Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M. L. Stedman
I started this novel over a year ago and have been steadily reading a little here and a little there. It is a quiet novel where not much happens, but what does happen changes peoples lives. One choice is made that devastates a town and two families.
I don’t read a lot of general fiction anymore, so it was a nice change of pace. A tale of familial love that does not recognize blood ties, but instead recognizes the needs of a child and the desires of two mothers.
It’s a sad tale, but a real one. For being Stedman’s first novel, it is spellbinding. An infant is claimed by the lighthouse keeper and his wife one night, but she belongs to another. There are no happy endings here, instead there is heartache, love and forgiveness that shreds every page of this story.
If you are looking for a tale that reflects reality and contains within it a treasure trove of emotion then this story will captivate you.
Synopsis: 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.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written debut 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.