A Stunning Debut
This novel has all the elements of a great read. The poetic language carried me to a lonely lighthouse miles from land where I could almost feel the wind and hear the waves crashing. "The wind pounced on him like a predator..." and "The water sloshed like white paint, milky-thick..." Light vs. darkness was used throughout the novel as a metaphor for choices made and their consequences. The characters were so richly drawn that I became emotionally involved with them, caring deeply for what they were going through. But most of all, this is just such a good story. It pulled me in and kept me guessing until the very end.
I will be recommending this novel to my book club, to all my friends, and to anyone who enjoys getting lost in a good book.
Rated of 5
by Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL)
A Heartrending Tale
Notwithstanding the innocuous dialogue between husband and wife during the early years of their marriage, which takes place very early on, thankfully this book unravels into an absorbing, stirring and emotional story about how a seemingly benevolent split-second decision carries with it consequences that resonate throughout a lifetime. While the characters are rather undeveloped, the story is well written and the reader’s desire to see the story through gives the characters the lifeline they need.
Rated of 5
by Deborah M. (Chambersburug, PA)
A Moving and Elegant Debut Novel
Tom Sherbourne, a decorated hero of World War I, is a haunted man: he's haunted by the men he killed, by the comrades who died alongside him; and by an unhappy childhood--none of which he is willing to talk about. In an effort to find peace, Tom takes a position as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Island, 100 miles out from the coastal city of Partageuse. No one is more surprised than Tom when he finds love with Isabel Graysmarks, a beautiful and spirited local girl who is willing to marry him and move to the isolated island. Both of them grow to love the spare landscape and the magical light itself. But if there is one thing that blights their happiness, it is Isabel's inability to bear a child. She has suffered two miscarriages and, just two weeks earlier, a stillbirth, when a boat washes ashore, inside it a dead man, a woman's cardigan--and a live infant. As always, Tom feels obligated to do the right thing ... but just what is the right thing?
Stedman has written a compelling novel, one that captivates the reader and moves him/her through a myriad of emotions, from sorrow to joy, from peacefulness to suspense, from anger to acceptance. Her characters are individual and believable (although I found the child Lucy just a bit too precious) and always deserving of empathy. Stedman's descriptions of the island and of the beloved lighthouse are so vivid that you can smell the salt sea, the polish, and the vapor. Overall, a fine novel--and an amazing debut. I look forward to her next endeavor.
Rated of 5
by Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)
The Light Between Oceans
This is a spellbinding story that I could not put down. I was pulled into the story and brought to tears on several occasions. I think the author did a masterful job of portraying the circumstances in such a way that I could sympathize with and almost support the decisions the Sherbournes make, almost making me believe that they have done the right thing. It is only when I distanced myself from the spell of the place and the characters that I could awake to the reality of what was done. It is a story that really left me wondering what I would have done in their place.
Rated of 5
by Corinne S. (Fernandina Beach, FL)
A Life Changing Decision
The opening line to this soul-searching first novel by M.L. Stedman begins, “On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff’s edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross. Questions come to mind immediately, why is Isabel tending the small, new driftwood cross? Why was the cross there? What could the miracle possibly be? Stedman, who was born in Australia, pulls you into the lives of Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, who have chosen to live a solitary life on the tiny island of Janus Rock, off the coast of Australia, where Tom tends the lighthouse.
The story of each person unfolds around a very difficult moral question. You, the reader, must decide what would you do, and do you agree with Tom and Isabel’s decision? How will their decisions affect other people around them? Are they ready for the consequences of the decisions they made in life? Stedman gives you enough background information about the main characters that allows you to build an understanding of who they are, and what experiences they have lived through that formed the choices they made.
I loved how the story created strong feelings of dread, fear, shame, anger, anxiety, sympathy, sadness, relief as you moved forward in time. I was rooting for Isabel even when I knew I would not do that in real life. The conclusion allows you to see how the choices each person made changed their lives forever. There is so many outstanding topics for the people in your book group to discuss that you will find the meeting will run late.
Rated of 5
by Mary M. (Lexington, KY)
This is a very haunting and well written book. The author does a wonderful job of describing the locations and the characters, both of which are essential to the story. The story is about how one bad choice made by good people can change many lives. I will remember the characters and the moral dilemmas they faced for a long time. After finishing the book I wanted to share it with a friend. It is the kind of book you want to discuss with others, making it a good choice for Book Clubs.
Rated of 5
by Kate S. (arvada, CO)
A Lovely Read!
It is always a pleasure to read not only a good story, but one that is so well written. The author has a gift with words and I was sad to see the novel come to an end. The book was filled with wonderful descriptive writing, symbolism, and an element of not ever quite knowing what would turn up next. Put all that together, and you have a great read. The book has many topics that would make a great discussion for a book club. Great first novel!
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...