21 July, 2012

The Light Between Oceans

Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L Stedman
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

FromGoodreads: In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore 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 dead man and the infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim the child as their own and name her Lucy, but a rift begins to grow between them. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world…and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby.

What I thought: Wow! What a wonderful book! Whether it was because I read it after a truly awful book or something else, I truly enjoyed this book. In fact, I found myself slowing down to read it because I didn’t want it over too quickly. The writing was gorgeous, flowing and so easy to lose yourself in. I could feel the salt spray, see the storm clouds, taste the sea air – totally stunning.
And I felt for all of Stedman’s characters, the woman desperate for a child of her own, the man torn between doing what he knows is right and keeping the woman he loves happy, the woman who wonders what happened to her baby, the grandparents who see the child as a way to mend past hurts and the innocent child who will lose, no matter what happens. Stedman treats all of them with the greatest respect, making sure that all of their stories are told with care and compassion. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I found myself not just with a tear running down my cheek at the end, but sobbing, needing tissues crying. This is a book I know I will revisit, reread and lose myself in again and again. I will be highly surprised if it doesn’t win awards of some kind.