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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

3.9 (1505 )
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3.7 (1323 )
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1 star
 (135)
Performance
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  •  
    Danielle Davis, CA, United States 12-31-13
    Danielle Davis, CA, United States 12-31-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Good, but sad..."
    If you could sum up The Light Between Oceans in three words, what would they be?

    Very good, but sad...


    What did you like best about this story?

    The dynamics between the couples.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    many


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Most of the middle to end


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Mora 12-28-13
    Joan Mora 12-28-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect novel"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Henderson, NC, United States 12-21-13
    Lisa Henderson, NC, United States 12-21-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    48
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    "Great story!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-14-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty good book."
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    No. But it was very good. I enjoyed it. The story moved well and characters were likable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Priscilla ROSLINDALE, MA, United States 11-27-13
    Priscilla ROSLINDALE, MA, United States 11-27-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    25
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Story
    "Almost Returned it - But Glad That I Didn't!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Light Between Oceans to be better than the print version?

    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.


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

    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.


    What didn’t you like about Noah Taylor’s performance?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A story of love, loss, and survival that you will never forget.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Manti, UT, United States 11-12-13
    Ellen Manti, UT, United States 11-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
    2
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    0
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    "Very Sad!"
    Where does The Light Between Oceans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It ranks among the highest.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This was just so damn depressing. Nothing ended well for anyone. It was a good story but man it was just plan sad.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Talked louder and clearer. I had the volume at blasting loud and I could barely understand him because he spoke so softly.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    CRY CRY CRY!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet 10-31-13
    Janet 10-31-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    87
    48
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    0
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    "Miracle turns Tragic"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cazzy 09-30-13
    Cazzy 09-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    5
    1
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    0
    2
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    "Could they have found a worse narrator?"
    Where does The Light Between Oceans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Noah Taylor’s performances?

    Heck no. Run screaming from anything he has ever recorded.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tanis 09-26-13
    tanis 09-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    7
    6
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    0
    0
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    "Great story, poorly read"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, great story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is an intriguing story with good characters. The struggle is heart-wrenching.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Noah Taylor?

    ANYBODY!!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rozonl8 New York, NY 09-26-13
    rozonl8 New York, NY 09-26-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "I highly recommend"
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    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!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I can't decide between Tom and Isabel. They both become so real and are such complex characters.


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

    Lucy


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    This was my first audio book and I am sure it will not be my last!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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