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The Light Between Oceans: A Novel | [M. L. Stedman]

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Grasshill Communications. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1917 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca 10-22-14
    Rebecca 10-22-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    9
    3
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    0
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    Story
    "Excellent Story"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chuck Regan Wycombe, PA 10-15-14
    Chuck Regan Wycombe, PA 10-15-14

    Geekspeek

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Remarkable and Heartfelt"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Light Between Oceans to be better than the print version?

    I could hear the narrator's voice sound as if he were getting choked up during the final scenes. Understandable.


    What other book might you compare The Light Between Oceans to and why?

    Ethan Frome is the first book that comes to mind for a tragic character loving under tragic circumstances. Any Ian McEwan.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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?


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Hodgson Philadelphia, Pa 10-04-14
    T. Hodgson Philadelphia, Pa 10-04-14 Member Since 2012

    Avid audiobook listener and reader. I work in the tech industry, but like to go outside my comfort zone with fiction and non-fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    65
    10
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    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Is it possible to despise a character?"
    Have you listened to any of Noah Taylor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not entirely. At times it was.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne 10-01-14
    suzanne 10-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    6
    4
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    0
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    "Could not turn this book off"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, narrator was great. Plot was fabulous. Some things I knew were coming but the ending was unexpected and so touching.


    What about Noah Taylor’s performance did you like?

    Very good. Not too overdramatic so I could put my own emotions in.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 09-21-14
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 09-21-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    522
    299
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    57
    0
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    Story
    "It's Already Been Said"

    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!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JB 09-14-14
    JB 09-14-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cannot finish this book"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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).


    Would you be willing to try another book from M. L. Stedman? Why or why not?

    Probably not


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger because it was hard to understand and hear


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mojo Joe 09-10-14
    Mojo Joe 09-10-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst narrator I've ever heard"
    Would you try another book from M. L. Stedman and/or Noah Taylor?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by M. L. Stedman again?

    No sure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandrina Malacara V Mexico city 08-30-14
    Alejandrina Malacara V Mexico city 08-30-14 Member Since 2013

    alemala

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    150
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible Narrator!!!"
    Would you try another book from M. L. Stedman and/or Noah Taylor?

    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.


    How could the performance have been better?

    With a more clear and articulated voice throughout all the sentence. I seems he was whispering or praying.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book was very good written. I really liked the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodi M. Popen 08-29-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    5
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book to listen to! Loved the accent!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Light Between Oceans to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the book in print and am glad b/c I loved the accent of the narrator!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Light Between Oceans?

    It was a great story as a whole and made you ask yourself lots of questions! "What would you do?"


    Which character – as performed by Noah Taylor – was your favorite?

    The husband


    Who was the most memorable character of The Light Between Oceans and why?

    The wife


    Any additional comments?

    Not to be missed. Cried a lot but LOVED this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn 08-24-14
    Kathryn 08-24-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    43
    9
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    0
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    Story
    "Well written, well read"

    This is a great story, a love story with many facets and many turns, suspenseful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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