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)
I saw a lot of comments about the narrator. I liked his voice very much, but driving in a car with road noise, it was hard to hear the ends of his sentences. His voice tended to drop at the end, but after turning up the volume up a little and getting used to his accent, he had a great voice to match the story.
I could hear the narrator's voice sound as if he were getting choked up during the final scenes. Understandable.
Ethan Frome is the first book that comes to mind for a tragic character loving under tragic circumstances. Any Ian McEwan.
My favorite scene is the reveal of Isabel's true nature toward the middle-end in a flashback to her passion (stormy nature) connecting her to Janus Island's weather and showing a contrast to Tom's steady, eternal sense of duty, connecting him to the island and the lighthouse's reliability. The perfect placement for that scene.
If I could have, I would have listened to this in one sitting. I did listen to six hours at a stretch, does that count?
Between the elemental imagery and the superbly crisp, sparse prose, there is nothing I can find at fault with this book. It should become a classic. The themes of 'following the rules' and weather are beautifully woven into the characters and all the supporting characters. A perfectly crafted novel.
Avid audiobook listener and reader. I work in the tech industry, but like to go outside my comfort zone with fiction and non-fiction.
I have not listened to any of Noah Taylor's other performances. As a non-Aussie, it was difficult at first to understand him clearly, due to his accent.
Not entirely. At times it was.
One of the main characters was likeable at first, but I grew to dislike them and their actions. Without giving away anything from the story, it's hard to describe, but it nearly ruined the story for me.
The book was well written with deep character development that made me appreciate the story to a point, but some things are impossible to get past.
Yes, narrator was great. Plot was fabulous. Some things I knew were coming but the ending was unexpected and so touching.
Very good. Not too overdramatic so I could put my own emotions in.
Many other reviewers have commented on the poor quality of this narration. What a shame because this story deserved better than that. I was fascinated by the uniqueness of this dilemma and couldn't wait to hear more. But that was contrasted with the frustration of not being able to understand what was being said. I am all for authenticity of accents, but that doesn't mean quality should be lost: poor enunciation and dropping volume at the end of the sentence being the most significant deficits.
But for all the richness and detail that went into character development and setting the stage for this drama, the author really blew it at the end. The climax that should have been never quite made it. I don't want to spoil it but there was a significant turnabout at the end that was told briefly with no significant detail or explanation. And then that end went on for two groaning segments that did not bring it together. What a disappointment. I want to scream "Let's have a do-over!"
Someone who has time to read the book versus listening to this narrator! The story line was ok, boring at times, but I think the book could have been bearable if the narrator was decent. I can't put myself through the whole thing. Stopped listening around chapter 17 (I tried).
A different narrator
Anger because it was hard to understand and hear
I can't honestly say whether the book is good, bad or indifferent. The narration was so bad I gave up listening. Sentences would start off well enough, then become faster and more unintelligible as the end of the sentence approached. I listened to some segments 2 or 3 times and still couldn't decipher what the narrator was saying. Admittedly, my ear is not well attuned to the Aussie tongue, but still it's a wonder to me how this audio book was published without some editor picking up on this.
I would try another book from ML Stedman but NEVER another book narrated by Noah Taylor. I had to buy the e-book in order to understand, because the narrator was the worst I have ever heard.
With a more clear and articulated voice throughout all the sentence. I seems he was whispering or praying.
The book was very good written. I really liked the story.
I did not read the book in print and am glad b/c I loved the accent of the narrator!
It was a great story as a whole and made you ask yourself lots of questions! "What would you do?"
Not to be missed. Cried a lot but LOVED this book!
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