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)
Loved, loved the story.
The reader spoke too loudly at the beginning of each sentence and ended in a whisper. I could never get my sound adjusted to listen to the book. It absolutely drove me crazy!
Remake with a different narrator.
I will edit this review if I actually make it through the first few hours. It has been tedious straining to hear the narrator, who trials off at the end of his sentences.
I would probably buy another book by this author. From what I catch of the story, it seems good. I know the book got great reviews.
Get a new narrator. This readers voice is completely monotone and hard to listen to.
I read the other reviews about the narration but I don't usually notice other books that have bad "performance" reviews. This one is rough. I hope as I get more involved in the story, the poor narration is less noticeable.
I like the narration to match the book setting. In other words, a book set in England seems better when narrated by someone with an English accent. While Mr Taylor's Aussie accent was no doubt the real thing, his flat tone seems to drops at the end of every sentence, and I hit "rewind" countless times in order to understand what he was saying. The story is wonderful, but I recommend listening in a soundproof room, or else just buy the book. The narration nearly ruins it.
As my friend put it, this was the best worst book meaning the ethical dilemma (worst) tears your heart out but it is really well written (best). Without giving away the story, the light keeper on the island of Janus, 100 miles off the western shore of Australia, is struggling between doing what is best for his wife and what is ethical. The internal turmoil he is suffering is palpable. The book made me feel heavy with conflict - but I couldn't stop listening! My only complaint is that the recording is very soft and the narrator had quite a sonorous voice which combined often made it difficult to hear/understand.
A great read. I highly recommend.
Tom was my favorite character. His perseverance and overall sense of personal responsibility is remarkable. He is the kind of person that I have always strived to be. He makes very difficult choices because of his morality,and tries to protect those around him. Most people like to believe that they are like Tom, but few are able to make the tough choices. The author writes his characters carefully, but does not reveal information until needed.
The story is set in Australia and is read by an Australian. The tone of the reader is distinctive - never too rapid, nor did it drag.
The 3 main characters have lived through very difficult times and circumstances. When a dead man and an infant show up on the island where Tom, the light keeper, and his wife Izzy live, the couple rescue the child, and bury the man. Persuaded by Izzy to keep the baby and raise her as their own, Tom is conflicted by guilt. How each person lives, loves, and make choices is the real point of the story. I could not help but be touched.
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.
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.
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.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
I"m not sure. The narration is just so abominable, I couldn't get into the story and had to stop listening. The narrator had an intensely annoying voice that fell to almost inaudible tones at the end of most sentences. As such, you couldn't hear the end of many sentences. Poor choice of narrators.
Well, for starters, a strong narrator with a clear voice would have been an improvement.
I've outlined that above.
I didn't get far enough into the story to say.
Nothing, it's just not my kind of story.
He almost mumbled.
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.
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