Excerpt from The Light Between Oceans by Margot L. Stedman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Light Between Oceans

A Novel

by Margot L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 384 pages
    Apr 2013, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"I reckon we can climb up the side and in through her window," he announced. "Who's with me?"

The danger of the enterprise didn't surprise Tom. He'd heard dozens of such tales since he got back. Men who'd taken to risking their lives on a whim - treating the boom gates at level crossings as a gallop jump; swimming into rips to see if they could get out. So many men who had dodged death over there now seemed addicted to its lure. Still, this lot were free agents now. Probably just full of talk.

The following night, when the nightmares were worse than usual, Tom decided to escape them by walking the decks. It was two a.m. He was free to wander wherever he wanted at that hour, so he paced methodically, watching the moonlight leave its wake on the water. He climbed to the upper deck, gripping the stair rail to counter the gentle rolling, and stood a moment at the top, taking in the freshness of the breeze and the steadiness of the stars that showered the night.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glimmer come on in one of the cabins. Even first-class passengers had trouble sleeping sometimes, he mused. Then, some sixth sense awoke in him - that familiar, indefinable instinct for trouble. He moved silently toward the cabin, and looked in through the window.

In the dim light, he saw a woman flat against the wall, pinned there even though the man before her wasn't touching her. He was an inch away from her face, with a leer Tom had seen too often. He recognized the man from belowdecks, and remembered the prize. Bloody idiots. He tried the door, and it opened.

"Leave her alone," he said as he stepped into the cabin. He spoke calmly, but left no room for debate.

The man spun around to see who it was, and grinned when he recognized Tom. "Christ! Thought you were a steward! You can give me a hand, I was just - "

"I said leave her alone! Clear out. Now."

"But I haven't finished. I was just going to make her day." He reeked of drink and stale tobacco.

Tom put a hand on his shoulder, with a grip so hard that the man cried out. He was a good six inches shorter than Tom, but tried to take a swing at him all the same. Tom seized his wrist and twisted it. "Name and rank!"

"McKenzie. Private. 3277." The unrequested serial number followed like a reflex.

"Private, you'll apologize to this young lady and you'll get back to your bunk and you won't show your face on deck until we berth, you understand me?"

"Yes, sir!" He turned to the woman. "Beg your pardon, Miss. Didn't mean any harm."

Still terrified, the woman gave the slightest nod.

"Now, out!" Tom said, and the man, deflated by sudden sobriety, shuffled from the cabin.

"You all right?" Tom asked the woman.

"I - I think so."

"Did he hurt you?"

"He didn't..." - she was saying it to herself as much as to him - "he didn't actually touch me."

He took in the woman's face - her gray eyes seemed calmer now. Her dark hair was loose, in waves down to her arms, and her fists still gathered her nightgown to her neck. Tom reached for her dressing gown from a hook on the wall and draped it over her shoulders.

"Thank you," she said.

"Must have got an awful fright. I'm afraid some of us aren't used to civilized company these days."

She didn't speak.

"You won't get any more trouble from him." He righted a chair that had been overturned in the encounter. "Up to you whether you report him, Miss. I'd say he's not the full quid now."

Her eyes asked a question.

"Being over there changes a man. Right and wrong don't look so different any more to some." He turned to go, but put his head back through the doorway. "You've got every right to have him up on charges if you want. But I reckon he's probably got enough troubles. Like I said - up to you," and he disappeared through the door.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from The Light Between Oceans by Margot L Stedman. Copyright © 2012 by Margot L Stedman. Excerpted by permission of Scribner. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Lighthouse Keepers

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.