The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

by M. L. Stedman
4.3 1600


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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

AFTER FOUR HARROWING YEARS ON THE WESTERN Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451681758
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 04/02/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 345
Sales rank: 8,340
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans is her first novel.

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The Light Between Oceans 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1600 reviews.
shayrp76 More than 1 year ago
Tom Sherbourne finds peace as a light house keeper on a secluded island after the brutality he witnessed in war. The routine and distance helps him sort out his emotions and brings him peace. He couldn’t imagine sharing his life with anyone until he marries Isabel and she makes their rock feel like home. Their secluded life has its share of happiness but heartbreak soon sets in after several miscarriages making the seclusion feel suffocating for Isabel. When a boat washes up in their little world carrying a dead man and a living baby, life seems to take a wonderful turn. Isabel has never been happier but Tom is plagued with unease and when a trip back to the mainland brings troubling facts to light he yearns to do what is just. An emotional rollercoaster doesn’t begin to describe what it felt like to read this. With each page I questioned what I had felt while reading the previous page. The characters are amazingly real with such humanity that I wanted to talk to them or yell at them. There are a couple of characters that I hated to love and one that I loved to hate so that made it very hard to decide where I stood with each individual story line. I have no complaints about this one. I am already recommending it and will continue to do so for a long time to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, beautifully written. In a time where Fifty Shades of Grey and other such rubbish get rave reviews it's nice to read a book worthy of the accolades it has received. I am looking forward to more books from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it...couldn't put it down. The story is heartbreakingly beautiful and while the ending acknowledges the pain, it also offers hope. This book is in my top 10 of all time. I'll be thinking about the story for quite a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never before felt the desire to rate or reccomend a book. This time however, it was different. I was trappped in this beautifully well written story from page one. Fell in love with the characters, suffered with them, wept for them. Read the book in three days and it definetly goes to my "top five" list.
CharlieKay More than 1 year ago
After the handful of e-mails I received promoting this book, I decided to pick it up. All I can say is: WOW! What a truly beautiful tale of tragic love. I couldn't put the book down. I found myself completely in love with the characters, their story, and felt my heart ache for them. I cried my way through the last chapter. I don't even want to pick up another book because I'm still so wrapped up in Tom and Isabel's lives. Definitely one of my Top 10 books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time putting it down. Characters were pretty well developed and the author does a decent job of taking you to a different place in time. I'd love to visit Janus for a month or so.... just the idea of it being just you and the wind and sea; like you are part of something, another world entirely. One can dream.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Read it in one day. The characters were well developed and very real. I had such mixed emotions about the two women in the story who loved the little girl. My heart went out to both of them. They were all very coureageous people, the women and the men. In the end, each of them lost something. A good book for book club. Lots of discussions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The word pictures are wonderful. The story line unforgettable A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most well crafted books I have read in a while. Rich language and a wonderful, emotiinal story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a novel I think I may have to read again--I can't quite get it out of my mind. Stedman is a lovely writer; for such a complex story and set of characters this is a rather slim book, for which I'm grateful. I'm sick of overblown novels that needed to be cut at least in half. "Oceans" is a grown up, beautifully written story with complex characters. It shows the too often painful consequences of getting what we so desperately want and choices made in the name of love. ***The language is lyrical, almost poetic at times. This is not a fast-paced tale for the first 120 pages or so; indeed, at times it tends to drag a bit. BUT when Lucy is discovered and her origins revealed--this becomes taunt and heartbreaking. ***While it's impossible not to feel for Tom, Isabel is a harder character to embrace and it wasn't until the last 100 pages that I really did--then the parallels bewteen Isabel and Hannah, their plights and precarious emotional states, converge beautifully. These are two women at odds yet constantly shifting places in the same heartbreaking dance. ***The only element, besides the momentary places of slowness is Lucy's eventual situation--[SPOILERISH]--her terror and refusal to accept Hannah is incredibly vivid, yet her final acceptance of Hannah seems to be wrapped up too vaguely and quickly after the more detailed prior events. That did not ring true or balanced for me. But this is a novel that if you stay with it--gives you lovely rewards, a story where the characters' ultimate motives can be discussed for a long time. i think it's worth the read and discussion afterward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This powerful, compelling, beautifull, well written story will capture your attention from the first page down to the last sentence of this book. The characters of Tom and Isabel are so strong, I became immersed in their lives. You will feel the unbelievable love and unbreakable bond between a mother and her child. The authors description of the island was so vivid that I almost felt the wind in my face and force of the ferocious storms that swept through the island. I felt myself standing inside the lighthouse, taking in the sights and smells, and looking out into the immense ocean. Life for Tom and Isabel on the island seemed idylic, when in reality, it was not. It was harsh and lonely, and they had only themselves to rely upon. So when the small boat washed ashore with the live infant and the dead body, to Isabel it was a sign from God. Afer suffering through three miscarriages, the moment that she held the baby in her arms, she was never going to let go. Even after Tom's refusal of accepting the baby and trying to make her understand the damage they might be inflicting upon themselves, Isabel refused to listen to reason. I think she might have been on the verge of a complete mental breakdown had it not been for the baby. It was too much for a woman to bear. Miscarriages, complete isolation for months at a time, and the obligations, and responsibilities, that Tom's job demanded all contributed to Isabel's state of mind. The life altering decision to keep their silence regarding the dead man and deciding to keep the baby and claim it as their own, had terrible consequences, one they never could have imagined, it almost destroyed them. But after reading through all that sorrow, there was a happy ending, with a pleasant surprise. I had time to reflect on who to place the blame for that fateful decision, was it Tom or Isabel. I would place it on a combination of things, but leaning towards Tom. Their isolation was a big factor, after all who would know and see what they did on that island. This is a great book, by a highly talented author, a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a definite must read. I loved the characters and the storyline. One of the best books I have read in a while!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one fantastic book. If I could give it more stars I would. For a debut novel, It makes you happy and sad all at the same time. I was completely shocked by the ending though. I only hope this author has more books in store for us. Read this one, you will surely love it as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a day, interesting and compelling story, fair character development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. I felt empathy for all the characters. They were very well developed. His writing is beautifully lyrical but not heavy at all. I will definitely read his next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great story!! Will archive to read it again. Will recommend to all my reading friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. I could see it being made into a great movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You won't find any easy answers in The Light Between Oceans, but you will find a beautifully written and sensitively told story about people who make mistakes and learn to live with the aftermath. I highly recommend this book. It's impossible to read this book and not become totally drawn in by the characters: the withdrawn and haunted Tom, the bold and laughing Isabel, and all the people who call Partageuse home. It was also impossible for me to read this book and not to choose sides. One of the major images of the book is this meeting of opposites. Janus Rock stands where the warm Indian and cold Antarctic Oceans meet. It's where the taciturn Tom and the ebullient Isabel live. It's where a brilliant light flashes continuously throughout the dark nights. It's where a bad decision is made for all the right reasons. The town of Partageuse continues the image. Tom Sherbourne has miraculously survived World War I and finds himself in a small town in western Australia seeking work as a lighthouse keeper. A winner of medals of honor, he is no stranger to violence and killing. As he gets his first temporary job, he also meets Isabel, who becomes the love of his life. They begin a romance, marry and move to the isolated lighthouse, Janus, where they hope to start a family.  This is a good old-fashioned novel: plot driven with plenty of twists, well-drawn characters, poetic descriptions and good use of symbolism. Although I have never visited Western Australia, I could envision the places and people depicted in the book.      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not get enough of this book! It is almost Dickensian in style and plot! M.L. Stedman has made a lifelong fan with this great debut novel!
simple344 More than 1 year ago
There are only few books with a great storyline. This was one of them. A great summer read.
KathyS More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this novel last night. M. L. Stedman has to be one of the most outstanding writers of this century! I've never been so captivated, by not just character and story, but the atmosphere surrounding this lighthouse. It was inescapable; a living thing, breathing life into all that it touched.... This will be in my review of The Light Between Oceans....once I stop crying long enough to write it! Fortunately, I have stopped crying, but it was not easy reading these last few pages. When I showered this morning, I am sure a pound of salt washed down the drain. The salt air, my skin absorbed from these eloquent lines of Stedman, and the tears I shed for every one of these characters. No, not just ONE character, but ALL of them. I even shed tears for the Lighthouse, and the island it was on, if you can believe that! The one word that jumps out at me from this reading is the word LOVE. This author didn’t miss a beat, in showing us all sides and ramifications of that word. She gave it to us in actions, deeds, requests, withdrawals; Matters of the heart, the mind, the soul; Matters of the individuals, of the families, as adults, as children - nothing was missed in the telling of this story, even the love given to this Lighthouse was shown in glistening clarity. Solitary confinement lurked around in this story – The distance one takes, to protect oneself.... We dove into this solitary ocean, like swimmers diving for treasures....we found love was being held captive by shy, yet turbulent creatures. The message was deep, so very deep Stedman made us dive, that it hurt at times just trying to find that love, but when you did, the brilliance shown like this solitary candle light, from this Lighthouse. Even though this Lighthouse never had a speaking part, it had a voice that spoke out like the light it gave...crystal clear, through storms, through calm, through uncharted territory, it spoke to the reader, as it spoke to the sea. I love stories where there is no accounting for characters. Predictable, or unpredictable, that is the question we all have while reading. I never knew until the end page, what I was to expect from this writer. The only thing I did know throughout this story was, it holds something that is so personal, only the individual reader can interpret for themselves. We all make a life in this world, and it’s up to us, as individuals, to interpret our own circumstances; making choices the best we know how, but not always knowing the outcome until it happens. The choices are ours; the responsibility is ours. These characters had many choices in their lives, they may not have been the ones you would make, or maybe they would, I can’t answer for you. I only know I was torn in so many directions, while reading these circumstances that these character’s faced, I didn’t know which line of thought my own mind wanted to follow. It was real, as real and true as life itself. I recommend reading this book, if you take life seriously. I recommend reading this book, if you find your own choices too hard to make....after reading this book, you will think twice, taking a double take on your own life. I recommend reading this book....
Cian More than 1 year ago
What an incredible story! I stayed up late and finished it, tears falling as I closed the book. It touched me deeply about all the feeling we humans harbor within.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have tears in my eyes as i finish this book . One reason is that it was so incredibly touching and the other is that the book could not be a few hundred more pages !! One of the best books i have read in years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read