Book reviews

M.L. Stedman’s debut novel The Light Between Oceans became a New York Times bestseller and was loved by readers all over the world.

After World War One, war hero Tom Sherbourne became a lighthouse-keeper, eventually working his way up to a posting on isolated Janus Island where he managed the (fictional) lighthouse station. On a trip ashore to the south-west corner of Western Australia Tom met Isabel Graysmark, the two fell in love and eventually married, despite Tom’s misgivings about how Isabel would adapt to life on the island.

At first, Isabel thrived but after she suffered multiple miscarriages over a period of several years it seemed unlikely that she and Tom would ever have a child of their own. When a boat washed ashore carrying a baby sheltered beneath a dead man, presumably the baby’s father, Isabel convinced Tom not to report the event so they could keep the baby for their own. Almost against his will Tom agreed, buried the man and set the boat adrift again.

Although Tom’s conscience bothered him, Isabel was convinced the baby they had named Lucy was an orphan.

During a trip ashore for Lucy’s christening, Tom and Isabel learned that the baby’s heartbroken mother lived nearby.

Isabel somehow convinced Tom that Lucy was better off with them than with her mother and they returned to the island. Lucy grew up to be a happy and inquisitive child but Tom, who knew they had done the wrong thing, eventually contacted Lucy’s real mother anonymously to let her know her child was safe and well.

Eventually their secret came out, leaving everyone’s lives upended again.

While I found the plot to be slightly predictable, I loved reading about the main character’s lives on the island, the town on the mainland and the characters who lived there. I especially enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of how lighthouses work, which obviously led me to daydreaming about living on a deserted island, with or without a lighthouse.

The Light Between Oceans wasn’t really for me, but I can see why so many people loved it.

Comments on: "The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman" (10)

  1. I enjoyed this one 😊 Disappointed in the film though. So often the case.

  2. Films and books are so different to each other that they are almost like comparing apples and oranges.
    I enjoyed the feeling of escape from the book and am still wishing I lived on a small, remote island, with or without a lighthouse πŸ™‚

  3. I haven’t seen the film but all the bad reviews put me off reading it too. I like your take on it of escape and learning about lighthouses!

  4. I read this a few years back while pregnant and mostly remember crying a lot over it!

  5. I’m a sucker for a lighthouse/desert island escape!

  6. I can imagine readers howling through this! Being pregnant must not have helped.
    I don’t often cry while reading but I love I when a book makes me feel that much. Books that make us laugh are even better πŸ˜ƒ

  7. I’m not generally one who cries over books either but pregnancy had me weeping over a lot of things!

  8. Pregnancy certainly plays havoc with the emotions! I hope some of your tears were for joy, as well πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, yes, lots of “this is so beautiful” tears too!

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