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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 (1855 )
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4.1 (1600 )
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Story
3.8 (1622 )
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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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  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-17-13
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-17-13 Member Since 2015

    tired teacher

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1265
    ratings
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    373
    221
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    287
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    Story
    "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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda CA, United States 11-12-12
    Linda CA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Linda

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    7
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    Story
    "Unending Sadness"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing, it's just not my kind of story.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He almost mumbled.


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

    Unbearable sadness.


    Any additional comments?

    Not my cup of tea! Before anyone starts sending hate mail, please understand, the book is well written, I (meaning ME, my opinion) just hated the story. In regard to the characters, I'm not sure who the protagonist or the antagonists are but I hated Tom! and Hannah! Truth be told I don't like reading any book that is so overwrought with sadness as to make ripping my own heart out and shredding it with my fingernails seem preferable, but I digress. I have five kids, so yea... I'm a Mom. I thought Hannah was selfish to demand the return of Lucy/Grace without thought for what it was putting the child through. I also thought Tom was selfish for agreeing and then, in order to quell his own guilty conscience, destroying just about everybody's lives. Something akin to confessing an affair for no other purpose than making yourself feel better. Isabel was the easiest for me to forgive, losing 3 babies and then having one appear almost magically. It would be real easy to convince yourself it was a gift from God and surely meant to be.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deidre 10-29-12
    Deidre 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    1
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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.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Boston, MA, United States 01-16-14
    JoAnn Boston, MA, United States 01-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    36
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    "Amazing!"

    This book was terrific. A great story, beautifully written, and the narration.. oh the narration. Hearing a book based in Australia narrated by an Australian REALLY brought the book alive. Thanks to Mr. Taylor, I could sense the townspeople whispering, I could feel the waves crashing, and I could see a little girl standing before me.

    This is a book about choices, doing the right thing, loss, regret, and above all else, love. There are no villains... just imperfect people dealing with imperfect situations. Mr. Stedman writes in a way that constantly has you questioning, guessing, second guessing, and, at times, on the edge of your seat. I smiled, cried, ached, laughed, and at the end of the story was left feeling (to my surprise!) supremely satisfied.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt 06-15-13
    Kurt 06-15-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    7
    6
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    "Intriguing moral dilemnas; moving narration."

    I was captivated by the constant questioning of moral choices. The story and the narration made me envision the events as they inexorably played out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Millie United States 02-05-13
    Millie United States 02-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    Story
    "Poor narration."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    The narration left much to be desired. He dropped his voice at the end of each sentence and it came out garbled. I missed a lot of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Better read than listened to.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juan 09-02-12
    Juan 09-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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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 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie 02-04-13
    Connie 02-04-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "bad performance"

    Did not like the reader. Had a very difficult time engaging in the story at the beginning. Couldn't understand the reader much of the time. Gave up on it .. Read the book

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Prospect, KY, United States 02-03-13
    Jodie Prospect, KY, United States 02-03-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    16
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    1
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    "The narrator is annoying me to death!!!"
    Would you try another book from M. L. Stedman and/or Noah Taylor?

    No. Well, perhaps from the author but not from the narrator!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I'm half-way through this book, having to read it for Book Club. The story is fine... it's the narrator. He starts EVERY sentence up - meaning you can hear it - and ends EACH sentence speaking so low and mumbly you can't hear/understand what he's saying. I would quit listening to it right now if it weren't for book club. I don't have time to "read" it.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Harris 04-08-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
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    "Could Never Get Into Story Because of Narrator"
    What disappointed you about The Light Between Oceans?

    The narration was AWFUL unless you like a monotone mumbler that has a slight lisp.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis


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

    NO!


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

    Could not go beyond Chapter 10. The narration was unbearable. It was like Chinese water torture.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so sorry that I didn't read reviews before purchasing. This was my Book Club's selection for the month, so I just purchased. Never in a million years would I have gotten it if I had read the reviews.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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