Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Light Between Oceans by R.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans
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. -goodreads

Would you do anything for the woman/man you love? And what would you do to get the one thing you want most in the world?

These are the two main questions presented in this book.

Tom is returning from war and doesn't want to be around anyone, so he enlists in a job to man a lighthouse on Janus Rock- which is off a little town in Australia.  He likes the routine and the meticulous nature of running it. On one of his breaks to the mainland, he meets Isabel. Eventually through letters, they are agree too marry. Then they move to the lighthouse. Here I have to give a standing ovation to Isabel. How hard would it be to move to a little lighthouse island, away from your friends and family all for your husbands work. I think after a few stints out there I would make my husband move back to socialization. Especially because she so desperately wants a baby.

However, that's not in her plans. Miscarriage after miscarriage, Isabel is devastated. And after a recent stillbirth, they happen upon a ship wreck, only to find a little baby girl. Isabel instantly switched to mother mood and started to nurse the infant and eventually claiming it as her own child. Tom being very honest, wasn't sure what to write in his ledgers, here his wife finally had what she wanted but it was wrong. But love prevailed and they 'adopted' the little girl.

Fast forward two years when they move back to the mainland. News of this shipwreck emerged and they realize this little girl who they took as their own, may have had another family looking,praying and grieving over her.   Enter guilt, resentment, love, hardship. What do you do know when the person you love the most risk losing the thing she loves?

This book, started slow. But it changed gears and instantly drew me in and I'm glad I stuck through to the end, as it is a very beautifully written novel. Those two questions I mentioned at the beginning prevailed throughout the entire book, and not only that the themes of forgiveness and learning from your mistakes and eventually accepting them runs through the book as well. I especially liked Tom's character. He faced such a moral dilemma and it was interesting to read and experience it.

All in all I rate this book 4 stars. It was written beautifully for a debut novel. The only downside was that it did start out slow.

“Perhaps when it comes to it, no one is just the worst thing they ever did.” 

(and now there is a movie adaptation of the book)

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