Read advance reader review of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, page 4 of 5

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The Light Between Oceans

A Novel

by Margot L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by Margot L. Stedman X
The Light Between Oceans by Margot L. Stedman
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 384 pages

    Apr 2013, 384 pages


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Page 4 of 5
There are currently 30 member reviews
for The Light Between Oceans
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  • Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)
    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.
  • Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
    The Light Between Oceans
    The choices we make not only shape us, they affect those whose life we touch. This is a novel about choices and how there really can be times when wrong is right and right is wrong. The author's telling of this tale made it so that I could empathize with all of the three principal characters, thus giving me choices to make, also. This is a very good book.
  • Naomi B. (Tucson, AZ)
    The Light Between the Oceans: A Strong Debut
    From the first sentence, M.L. Stedman's The Light Between the Oceans draws the reader into the world of its memorable characters. With lyrical prose and a breathtaking setting, Stedman almost literally places the central conflict of the novel at our feet: a dingy with a dead man and a live baby. Isabel, who finds the child, considers the discovery a miracle from God, and in those first exquisitely wrought pages, we can see that this will set the stage for a story of both tragedy and love as Tom and Isabel, husband and wife, must deal with the consequences of their choices concerning this baby. The story is set on Janus, an isolated lighthouse on a beautiful but forlorn portion of the Australian coastline where Tom is the keeper of the light. Throughout the novel, Stedman returns to the image of the light, its beam illuminating a path of safety for sailors traversing the dark union of horizon and night. By extension, she casts this same light across her pages, offering her characters a ray of hope and guidance when they find themselves most lost, most tangled in the web their lives has cast around them. The intricacies of plot keeps us turning pages, the breathtaking descriptions keep us firmly inside place and story, and the complex and well-drawn characters keep us hoping for the best, even in the darkest moments. The only elements that drew me out of the story were tense switches, which I found jarring and unnecessary, and sections of point of view switches that I felt drew attention away from the central story and the central conflict rather than added to it. These were not fatal flaws, however. I found this to book to be engaging, well-wrought, and above all, a book of substance. It is a book I will remember.
  • Teresa H. (Mechanicsville, VA)
    Well written but left me emotionally drained
    I can not remember reading a book quite so heartbreaking. After World War 1 a physically intact yet war damaged Tom Sherbourne accepts a post as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an isolated island in Australia. He marries Isabel and returns to life keeping the lighthouse. After several miscarriages a distraught Isabel hears the cries of an infant. They find dead man and a baby in a small boat. This sets forth a series of events that take on a life of their own. At what point is it too late to correct a wrong or is it ever too late? About the time I felt comfortable with their decisions a whole new dimension is brought in that made me reconsider who the victims really were. From the power we let the past have over us to the urge to protect and comfort those we love this book shows just how judgements can be clouded. The writing captured the desperation and emotions of each character to the point that I found myself sobbing. I will be pondering this book for a while.
  • Amy H. (Benbrook, TX)
    Excellent Debut Novel
    I sincerely enjoyed this debut novel by M.L. Stedman. A childless couple living on a remote island find a crying infant in the arms of her dead father. The novel becomes a struggle not between good and evil, but something much harder to clarify and define - like two varying shades of gray that deepened as the story developed. I loved Tom and his staunch refusal to pretend that his actions (and Isabel's) did not have consequences - at least for someone. I enjoyed the imagery of Janus as well. This is one of the best debut novels I've read in a long time and appreciated how the novel forced me to reflect what my own actions would have been in similar circumstances.
  • Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)
    Great Book Club Selection
    The Light Between Oceans would be a great book club selection. The story is about a light house keeper and his wife living on an isolated island off the coast of Australia. A boat comes ashore with a dead man and a small baby crying that will change their lives forever. The choices that are made will lead to devastating events. This book will make for a great book club disscusion.
  • Stacey, Lititz Public Library, PA
    Beach read and possible book club choice set in Australia
    This was a novel heavy on domestic drama as well as detail from the world of lighthouse keeping in early twentieth century Australia. The core conflict in the story stems from protagonist and Janus Rock lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne's decision to choose his wife Isabel's happiness over what is right.

    I appreciated the descriptive passages celebrating western Australia and the art of lighthouse keeping. The tension of whether the Sherbourne's secret would be discovered was enough to keep me reading to the end. As a foster parent, I found the topic of a small child's home and family being determined by various biased parties to be accurately portrayed but sometimes a bit too close to home.

    The Light Between Oceans struck me as a likely female book club choice. It also qualifies as a slightly meaty beach read.

Beyond the Book:
  Lighthouse Keepers

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