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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 (1582 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kath Danvers, MA, United States 02-12-13
    Kath Danvers, MA, United States 02-12-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story but reader's accent was difficult"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story itself was good and thought provoking. However, the reader had an Australian accent that made it difficult at times to understand. Once you get used to the accent, it becomes easier to listen to the book and I think the story is worth listening to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The conflict in the story really was thought provoking. What would you do in similar circumstances? Had you kept the child for a year, would you have returned the child to her birth mother? Was returning the girl the right thing to do? Were there long lasting affects to the characters because of the decisions made?


    What three words best describe Noah Taylor’s performance?

    Australian accent calm


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Williamstown, nj, United States 02-11-13
    Jennifer Williamstown, nj, United States 02-11-13
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    1
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    Story
    "LOVED!"
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    This story took you on an emotional journey. I felt their anguish and pain and joy!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tom - definitely!


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

    Tom - definitely!


    If you could take any character from The Light Between Oceans out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Tom - definitely!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 02-11-13
    Amy 02-11-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    Story
    "Really unique"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes it is a compelling and heartbreaking story right from the beginning


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

    Human, dark, riveting and compelling


    What does Noah Taylor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His tone is sweet and dark and loving.


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

    ?


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy Leasure Wellsburg, WV USA 02-11-13
    Joy Leasure Wellsburg, WV USA 02-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
    2
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    Story
    "Great Story"
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    No...I only listen to a book once. To many great stories to listen to. and want to hear as many as possible.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe I'm getting hard of hearing, but when the narrator dropped his voice, which he seemed to do a lot. I had trouble hearing him. I've not noticed this in my other audible books. Even with this I really enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandra weinhold ipswich, ma, US 02-04-13
    sandra weinhold ipswich, ma, US 02-04-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    2
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    Story
    "Narrator"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I am enjoying this book very much.however having an extremely difficult time listening to the reader. He is very difficult to understand with his accent.
    I wish I had another choice to listen to as I would never purchase another book by Noah Taylor.


    How could the performance have been better?

    If I could have understood the narrator.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    probably


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Fort Wayne 02-04-13
    Amazon Customer Fort Wayne 02-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touched My Heart."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book had slow points, but the reading was beautiful and the story was lovely.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The descriptions were vivid, and the heartbreak was real.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirsten WASILLA, AK, United States 01-30-13
    Kirsten WASILLA, AK, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Listen!"
    Where does The Light Between Oceans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of my top books thus far. Well done all the way around.


    What does Noah Taylor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Having the Australian dialect for the story had a great way of transporting me out of my own American residence and every day moment. It was great to be so drawn into a book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fairsari 01-21-13
    Fairsari 01-21-13 Member Since 2014
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    "A lovely story!"
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    Really enjoyed the story but disliked the narrator as found he mumbled a great deal and sometimes had to go back and listen again to parts of the book.


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

    It is a unique story somewhat improbable and yet believable..it could happen and it is a tragedy of of two people in conflict about doing "the right thing for the wrong reasons".


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

    Don't really know too many names of narrators although have listened to hundreds of books pay little attention who narrates them unless really dislike the voice. Unfortunately I noted Noah Taylor and ascertain that I never listen to a book that is narrated by him...that is how bad I thought he was!


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

    The dilemma of making the right choices in life!


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyed it because the characters were so well defined. It was interesting to feel the depth of the isolation of being on the island when Tom was alone and then to see the terrible decisions made because of their remoteness from civilization...could they have gotten away with keeping Lucy had the letter never been written, had the rattle not been discovered - you wonder and you feel so sad for them.

    That is why it is such a touching story because although you know what they did was wrong you can only feel sadness for Tom, Isabelle, Hannah and Lucy. As a reader you realize there is no possible solution to a tragic misjudgement all in the name of love and you can never judge them....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Hamden, CT, United States 01-17-13
    Emily Hamden, CT, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Quiet and sad narration for a quiet and sad story"

    If anyone is wanting to listen to this novel but is concerned at all of the poor narrator reviews (as I was), I would like to add my opinion having just finished this captivating, emotional and authentic book. Noah Taylor is Australian, and the natural cadence of his voice is at first quite difficult to relax into. He drops syllables and speaks quietly, as any true Australian speaker would do when reading to an audience. You may have to turn the volume up to hear him clearly, especially in the quieter moments of the novel. At first, I found that I struggled to understand him, but as I was drawn into the story, I couldn't imagine any other voice telling me this tale of loss, love, and the passage of time.

    I feel very strongly that Mr. Taylor was the right narrator for the book--though this does not mean that his narration was the easiest to listen to! Please, take a chance on this story and allow yourself to be absorbed in the lullaby-rhythm of Mr. Taylor's authentic narration. These characters will work their way into your heart and mind long after the story has finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 01-17-13
    Lanlady Woodbridge, VA USA 01-17-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a beautifully told, heart-breaking story"

    The Light Between Oceans is the story of how two good people can make a wrong decision, and the consequences of their error in judgment. The narrative is simple, uncomplicated, and gently flowing (somewhat in the tradition of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth), but underneath the surface it explores in forceful terms some basic flaws of the human condition: how easily we seek to rationalize what we know to be wrong; the temptations of selfishness; our overwhelming dependence on others for happiness; the fickleness of destiny. Tom, the light-keeper who survived WW1, confronts the core moral dilemma much differently from his wife Isabelle, a survivor of a string of still births and miscarriages, and the contrast between their mentalities is, in my view, extremely compelling. Due to an ipod fumble, I unwittingly skipped over 10 or 12 chapters in Part 2 and ended up listening to the last chapter of the book. If that had happened with most other audiobooks, I likely would have said, nah, I won't bother to listen to what I missed since now I know how it ends. In this case, however, I went back to listen to the skipped chapters, and enjoyed them none the less for knowing how it would all end -- which I think is a testament to M.L. Stedman's beautiful writing and a great story. A book, after all, shouldn't be just about getting to the denouement on the last page, but about enjoying an entire experience, page by page (or digital bit by bit). And Light Between Oceans more than measures up to that basic standard. The only reason I didn't give the audiobook 5 stars is that narrator Noah Taylor has a habit of whispering/mumbling the ends of his sentences, which hinders comprehension.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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