Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel—the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore 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 dead man and the infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim the child as their own and name her Lucy, but a rift begins to grow between them. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world…and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby.

My take: 4 looks
The summary pretty much tells the whole book. I hate that in a summary. If you simply read those few paragraphs, you may never read the book, which is such a great character study. The characters in the book are so real and excellently portrayed that each one brings both sympathy and anger. I completely understood the decisions made by each one. I didn't agree, but I also couldn't argue that I would have acted any differently. It is heart-wrenching and hopeful and devastating and satisfying. What more could you want in a book?

Highly recommended.

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