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.
M.L. Stedman’s extraordinarily compelling characters, still trying to make sense of life in the wake of so much death in the war, are imperfect people seeking to find their north star in a world of incomprehensible complexity.
©2012 Grasshill Communications. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one. I couldn’t look away from the page and then I couldn’t see it, through tears. It’s a stunning debut.” (Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It)
Very good, but sad...
The dynamics between the couples.
Most of the middle to end
Tom Sherbourne is a medaled veteran of The Great War, a man of principle and character who dragged men to safety and always followed the rules. He’s grateful for a job manning the lighthouse on Janus Rock, a remote peninsula off Australia’s coast, where he can methodically work and live his days in order and sameness.
On a trip to the mainland, he meets the lovely, spirited Isabel, and returns to Janus Rock with her to carve a life. There she loves and cares for him, explores the small island, and longs for children. She miscarries twice and Tom would do anything to see her happy again. One day, mere weeks after delivering a stillborn child, a small boat washes onto shore. Inside is a dead man—and a live baby. Isabel views this as a sign from God.
Despite Tom’s insistence that they report the man and baby, Isabel protests. The mother is surely dead, the baby has no one but them. Tom loves her beyond measure and agrees to wait. The gravity of their decision weighs on him, but the problem is, he falls in love with the little Lucy, too. Two years later, when visiting the mainland, they learn someone has never stopped looking for the little one, whose name is not Lucy at all.
Rarely does a novel come along that is so perfectly crafted, so packed with flawed, believable characters. Every word, every scene, has a purpose. The plot twists and bends to unexpected places, thrusting the characters into situations as rough as the raging ocean. Ms. Stedman is a masterful storyteller, has a keen eye and knows how to portray raw emotion on the page.
The wonderful narrator, Noah Taylor, truly brought the characters to life.
What a stunning debut. Highly recommend!
I so enjoyed this book! I was caught up from the get-go! I recommended it in novel form to my book club and they loved it too!
I have not read the print version, but expect that it is better that the audio one due to the difficulties of understanding this narrator.
While the first half of the book is rather slow, the second half is difficult to tear yourself away from, with one memorable moment after another as Tom and Isabelle are forced to admit the truth about what they have done and confront the painful consequences that unfold. The emotional suffering experineced by all of the characters, particularly the little girl Lucy/Grace, will haunt me for a very long time.
This narrator is very difficult to understand, not only because of his accent, but because he often speaks so softly that you cannot hear what he is saying. Because of this I almost returned the book, but wasn't able to (I had returned another title earlier this month because I also didn't like the narrator, so I gues I had reached my return limit!) so decided to keep going and found that I loved the story. I do, however, think that I missed a lot of the finer nuances due to the poor narration.
A story of love, loss, and survival that you will never forget.
Read the print version if you can. However if you can't, and are able to tolerate the narration through the first half of the book, the second half is sure to draw you in.
It ranks among the highest.
This was just so damn depressing. Nothing ended well for anyone. It was a good story but man it was just plan sad.
Talked louder and clearer. I had the volume at blasting loud and I could barely understand him because he spoke so softly.
CRY CRY CRY!
I am sorry that life is so hard for people. It was a tragedy what happened to these poor people. Love is supposed to mend holes in people's lives and in this book it just ripped them apart.
This book had a unique plot and great characters. What appears to be a blessing soon turns into a night mare for those hiding their secret. I love books that keep me asking how I would have handled ethical dilemma's. In this book there seems to be no good answers to this small blessing.
I just can't for the life of me understand how this guy was picked above all others to narrate this story. He wishes he was as good as awful. He trails off at the end of each sentence, mumbles and, as a bonus for us listeners, has a speech impediment.
Heck no. Run screaming from anything he has ever recorded.
Yes, great story.
It is an intriguing story with good characters. The struggle is heart-wrenching.
This is a book that I really wanted to hear and the gentleman who read it sounds totally bored with it and reads in a monotone voice! Love the story but almost couldn't finish because of the poor narration.
Yes. Not only is The Light Between Oceans beautifully written, but Noah Taylor did an excellent job of bringing the story to life. The subtle changes in his voice as he becomes different characters is perfectly performed. I felt like I was watching/listening to a movie that I didn't want to end!
I can't decide between Tom and Isabel. They both become so real and are such complex characters.
Yes and no. Yes because the novel kept me in suspense, wanting to know what happens next but no because of how long it is.
This was my first audio book and I am sure it will not be my last!
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