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 enjoy a variety of books including mysteries, historical fiction as well as young adult and children's literature. Listening to books gives me the ability to "read" in the car as well as the evening as a nightcap before bed.
Although a bit slow at the start this novel definitely picks up the pace as it goes along. The difficult dilemma presented here is problematic to resolve. There are very few "bad" people only bad decisions. The choices made by the characters are very understandable as we all "make up" stories to fit our reality.. Throughout the book one is kept wondering how any resolution can be made that is realistic yet not totally depressing. The end is sad but realistic and so bitter sweet.
Wow, after listening/reading hundreds of books I have to say this one taught me a lesson. And that is that the expression "a lump in my throat" is not just an expression but a real thing! I really don't think any book has even done that to me, I don't know that anything has! The feelings protrayed in these writings are real, being a mother, you get the raw emotions. I would reccommend getting this book, but perhaps not if you have ever lost a child!
In the end, I dare you to pick a side. I like that the ups and downs have you battling with and then defending the main characters. There really is no right and wrong, no way to choose a side when you can see both of them. The write does an excellent job of portraying the joy and sadness through this long journey and getting you to see the "light" at the end.
I enjoyed the accent.
I feel like the title fits. It's as compelling as the story.
Someone who can understand the readers heavy accent
I could not understand him at all. After about 2 hours of listening, I gave up on trying to understand what he was saying. The accent was so heavy.
Very disappointed that this performer would be chosen to read this.
I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.
It's an interesting story of a crossroads in the lives of two people and the consequences of an action. I loved the story being set at a lighthouse, the isolation, the dynamic between the husband and wife. I didn't feel as strongly about the narration as many other reviewers. Listen to a sample and decide for yourself.
I probably wouldn't read/listen to the book again, but I might go to a movie--right director, right actors...
I enjoyed the description of the place and how the little island affected the family that lived there. Also the memories that people had throughout the story and how their past affected their decisions now.
How Lucy came to be found and discovered from both her adopted family and the biological one.
Perhaps especially towards the end I didn't want to stop listening. But I listen when doing other things so when those tasks are done so is my listening.
The story line is just so great. We think a lot about how much people are affected during a war not after. Or rather how the community is affected by so much loss and how that impacts their decisions. The light that this little girl brought into the extended family after having lost 2 sons in the war it was understood why her adopted mother didn't want to give her up. I thought it was an amazing inventive tale of love and how honesty can be blurred and affect the choices we make.
I'm an English teacher at a midwest high school. I'm a mother of four, a singer, and a string bass player.
I was struck how many adults commit atrocities in this book with the justification of "this is what's best for the child." To an outsider, it is clear that these women are acting in their own best interests, not Lucy/Grace's.
The Light Between Oceans is one of the most beautifully written stories I've read in a long time. I was immediately and completely drawn into Tom Sherbournes's world. It was a joy to read a modern novel of such outstanting literary quality. Characters were complex and well-drawn, including the lighthouse and island which were characters in and of themselves. I was struck by the wonderful metaphors and symbolism within the story and the challenging themes the novel tackled. Be prepared, however, this is not a light read.
The narrator's delightful Australian accent was enchanting and wonderful to listen to.
Conflict of emotions
Characters in the story were well-developed. I understood the conflict between the two main characters.
I enjoy listening to audio books while doing activities that I don't particularly enjoy. His pleasant voice gave the story authenticity.
The story created an emotional struggle within me as I pondered what I might do if I had experienced what the characters in the story experienced.
A good read.
Noah Taylor has an Australian accent and a lisp. I had to back up parts of the book several times to understand what he was saying
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