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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 (1409 )
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4.1 (1218 )
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Story
3.7 (1238 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathleen SANDWICH, MA, United States 01-24-13
    Kathleen SANDWICH, MA, United States 01-24-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Horrible Narration, GET THE BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I listen to a lot of audio books and this is the worst narrator I have ever heard. On the long sentences his voice would either speed up and at the same time fade away. I was missing so much of what he said that I went to the library and checked out the book. It is such a shame because this is such a beautifully written story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The language. It is beautifully written


    How could the performance have been better?

    Slow down, and don't drop off your sentences. Some of the longer sentences were so quick and quiet they turn into a total mumble!


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Light Between Oceans?

    Don't cut anything. It's a well written story with beautiful language


    Any additional comments?

    Would like a refund, that's how bad the narration was. I couldn't even listen to it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia 09-08-12
    Marcia 09-08-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    10
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    "Heart-wrenching tale, PERFECTLY narrated."

    Gripping story of choice and consequence. Australian story written by an Australian born author, and narrated by an Australian born actor with an Australian accent. To forgo this novel due to negative reviews of the narrator would be missing out on a fabulous portrayal of human nature--it's shortcomings and strengths. At no point did I find the narrator difficult to understand. Noah Taylor's slow, somber voice expertly portrays the mood of the book. ML Stedman tells the story of unfortunate people working their way through great sadness, their memories and hopes of great joys, and the reality of their lives. It's a tale of kinship, understanding and misunderstanding, forgiveness and grief. Although rarely uplifting, it is a conceivable, thought-provoking, moving debut novel.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MEMcL Carlsbad, CA 02-03-13
    MEMcL Carlsbad, CA 02-03-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    199
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    50
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    "Hang in there!"

    Not only did I not like the narrator, he made me mad! I had to turn the volume way up to be able to decipher the mumbling, uninflected reading. I nearly gave up on it a number of times.

    But, I continued, and found it to be a sensitive, interesting portrayal of an impossible family situation. The characters were, for the most part, well-drawn and depicted. The ending is a tear-jerker, and I wept for all the losses and poignant dilemmas. The book did move me, and was well written.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly SOUTH BEND, IN, United States 01-29-13
    Kelly SOUTH BEND, IN, United States 01-29-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Good Story, not great audio"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No, the narrator was often hard to understand and the mannor in which he spoke made the sad book even more depressing.


    Any additional comments?

    The story pulls strongly on the heartstrings, especially if you are a mother. The emotional pain felt by many of the characters was easily felt by the listener. The book was a good one, but not very uplifting; very tragic and heartbreaking. As a side note, I think I may have enjoyed the book more had it been narrated by someone else or just read in book form.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juan 09-02-12
    Juan 09-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome story, horrible narrator"
    Would you listen to The Light Between Oceans again? Why?

    Yes to perhaps catch the 10% that I lost with the unintelligible narrator


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tom. Always thinking of others well being.


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

    A proven good narrator with a clear voice with no accent.


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

    Lucy


    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 11-18-13
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 11-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the best I've read in a while."

    I've just finished this excellent book this morning, and I'm still a bit lost in its spell. What a story! I cried more than once (and for more than one reason), laughed several times, actually felt sick a few times, and on more than one occasion felt myself completely taken up in it, which is the highest praise I can give a book.

    I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, compelling, and deeply moving story.

    The only complaint I have is that the narrator would often sort of trail off at the end of a sentence. In every other respect, he was a fine narrator. As I understand it, he's an Australian himself, so that helps lend the story some authenticity.

    A lot of reviewers here have really been hard on the narrator, some going so far as to say he ruined the book for them. I did not feel it was quite that bad. I simply turned the volume up a bit higher than normal, so that when he trailed off, he was still easily audible. It did make him a bit loud at times, but I was ok with that.

    The book and story are so utterly compelling, it's worth putting up with the narrator's imperfections.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-17-13
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-17-13 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story"

    The premise of this story is very creative and I was immediately engaged. These characters find themselves in a heck of a fix. My heart was broken for all of them.

    I wanted a different ending, but I don't know what it would have been. Perhaps there was no way to end it in an equitable manner. It is a tough problem that these people had to deal with.

    Although I liked the narrator, he was very hard to understand at times, especially when his voice went very soft. I know he was doing that for effect, but if you can't understand what he is saying, the effect is lost anyway.

    All in all, I would recommend this book. I enjoyed reading/listening to it very much.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica 02-27-13
    Monica 02-27-13
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    "Narration Terrible!"
    What did you like best about The Light Between Oceans? What did you like least?

    I can't finish because I can't hear half of what the narrator says! I have Australian friends and can certainly understand them, but not this guy when I'm driving in the car. What a disappointment. I'm returning asap.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 01-23-13
    Mary 01-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Difficult to start"
    What disappointed you about The Light Between Oceans?

    The narrator.


    What was most disappointing about M. L. Stedman’s story?

    I tried listening three times and could not get into the story.


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

    Someone who could be more enjoyable to listen to.


    What character would you cut from The Light Between Oceans?

    I didn't get that far to know unfortunately.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deidre 10-29-12
    Deidre 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Recommended if want to hear in authentic Aussie"
    What made the experience of listening to The Light Between Oceans the most enjoyable?

    Having an authentic Australian voice was great! I read reviews before buying and heard a sample. The reviews were not very positive, but I understood the sample well so I went ahead and purchased it.


    What about Noah Taylor’s performance did you like?

    It was an authentic accent. If the listener is not familiar with accents outside of the US, I can see the frustration. Best recommendation would be to have a hardcopy book on hand for any difficult areas. It's a pleasure hearing it in an voice similar to the setting and author's voice.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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