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)
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.
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.
This was one of the first Audible books I ever listened to, and after listening to dozens more,it remains one of my favorites. In anticipation of the film, I clicked on to the reviews to see if everyone loved it as much as I did. I was shocked to find so many negative comments about the narration! I normally prefer to have ANYTHING read to me by Juliet Stevenson, but in THIS case, I thought that having an Australian male voice made more sense. I though Noah Taylor did an excellent job of portraying the different characters. Don't miss this amazing story because of the iffy reviews. To each her own, but I thought the narration was spot on!
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.
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.
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.
Yes to perhaps catch the 10% that I lost with the unintelligible narrator
Tom. Always thinking of others well being.
A proven good narrator with a clear voice with no accent.
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.
Better read than listened to.
No. Well, perhaps from the author but not from the narrator!
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.
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
I love books!
First time author me, debut novel for the author. Set in Australia in the 1920's, the book centers around a couple that live on a small island 100 miles off the west coast of Australia. The husband is the lighthouse keeper. They live a fairly happy life except the wife really, really wants to have a baby, especially after three miscarriages. Then one day a boat washes up on the shore and inside is a baby wrapped in blankets and a dead man, no identification. The couple makes a decision to raise the child as their own. This decision has implications that take a while to unfold and ends up causing a lot of pain and sadness.The book is really well written and brings a tear or two towards the end.
In reading the reviews prior to diving in with the book I read where many of the reviewers had complaints about the narration. I don't understand what listeners want? The book is written by an Aussie author, set in Australia, and it should be no surprise to have an Aussie narrator with an Aussie accent. I, too, find sometimes when I start listening to a foreign accented narrator that it can be hard to understand. But, I also find that in the beginning I have to pay closer attention to the narration but that my ear eventually gets attuned to it. Scottish accents can be tough to get used as well. But I didn't find the narration detracting from the story, in fact, I enjoyed it.
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