Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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Summary from Goodreads: 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 and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, 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, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. 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.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

My Thoughts: I liked this book, even though it is sad, it is touching. This book does a great job of showing that every person has their own battle to fight, whether it can be seen on the surface or not. I also liked the way this book ended, it is neither particularly sad or particularly happy, just simply the logical result of choices made by a collection of people, but it feels right. That is probably what I loved most about this book, that although it was fiction, it was still logical and in the realm of possibility. This is also the kind of historical fiction novel that I like, bringing decades and lifestyles to life and connecting them to our more recent history. I finished it with a great sense of awe as to how far medicine and technology has advanced since the 1920s.  Overall I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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