Tag Archives: M.L. Stedman

Review: The Light Between Oceans

This book was lent to me and I wasn’t incredibly excited to read it.  But it is different from the types of books I normally read and since I am trying to broaden my horizons a bit, I thought I would give it a try.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is set in post WWI Australia.  The main character, Tom Sherbourne, has just returned from the war to his job as a lighthouse keeper.  He is posted to Janus, an extremely isolated lighthouse almost half a day’s boat ride from any town.  While on shore leave he marries Isabel and over the years at the lighthouse they suffer two miscarriages and a stillbirth.  After the final stillbirth a boat washes up on the island with a dead man and baby inside.  Tom wants to report the incident but Isabel convinces him to keep it between the two of them just for the night and report it the next day.  Well, the next day turns into years and Tom never reports it.  The couple pass the baby off as their own.  Several years later when they are on shore leave they discover that the mother of the baby is still alive and looking for her child.  The rest of the novel details the disagreements the couple have over the situation and the decisions they are forced to make.

I liked this book.  The characters were interesting and once the baby showed up on Janus the story was very compelling, especially towards the end.  Despite their flaws Tom and Isabel were my favorite characters.  I found the baby’s biological mother, Hannah, to be very unlikeable.  But then I felt guilty about not liking her because it seemed like we were supposed to be on her side.  The end of the book was very sad and this is one of the few times I have cried at a book (the last book I remember crying at was Marley and Me).  However, I found the ending to be pretty unsatisfactory.  The characters were in such an impossible and sad situation though, so there really was no way it could have ended that I would have been happy with.

Format: Paperback

Price: Free! (borrowed from a friend)

Genre: Historical fiction

Lost in that story? Yes!