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Amy M. (Brooklyn, NY)
The Vagaries of Love
The Light Between Oceans is a captivating and heartfelt story about the extent to which we’re willing to go for those we love. Tom’s a reliable, quiet lighthouse keeper, a lonely man until he meets sweet, flirty Isabel, a woman very different from himself. After their wedding she joins Tom on isolated Janus Rock, where, together, they happily prepare their home for a family. When life disappoints them, Tom takes an extreme risk, going against his nature, to make Isabel happy. Now, while Isabel awakens ecstatic each day, Tom is decidedly troubled and, for the first time in their marriage, there are silences and vital issues they can’t discuss.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)
The light between oceans
ML Stedman brings Tom and Isabel, two flawed, desperate but likable people, alive in the pages of her book, weaving a compelling and morally complex story that will keep readers mesmerized until the very last page.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It's literary fiction, taking place in Australia after WWI, with fully developed characters and poetic descriptions of physical and emotional aspects. It probes a moral question of whom a child belongs to--biological parents, or the parents who have mothered and fathered her since she was an infant. The use of location as metaphor is important--being isolated on an island to take care of a light house, and joining society by having a home leave every few years. Almost a read-at-one-sitting book.
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.
Carol P. (Mendham, NJ)
The consequences of our decisions
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.
What a wonderful debut novel. The setting is after WWI in Australia. Tom and Isabelle marry and move to Janus Island where Tom is the lighthouse keeper. They both would love a family however Isabelle suffers multiple miscarriages. One day however a boat reaches the island with a dead man and a crying baby on board. The decision Tom and Isabelle make about baby Lucy will impact friends, family and will devastate one family on the mainland.
G. Bridget Davis (Newburgh, NY)
The Light Between Oceans
The author brings you into the tragic decision created by Tom and Lucy and the compounding impact to so many characters. I wash brought to tears many times as Isabelle and Tom reach their own moving choices!
I think this is a great book club selection. Many great discussion topics on right and wrong and the moral dilemma created by what seemed to be an easy decision. I would also recommend this book for young adults.
I hope to read another book by this author who develops such wonderful characters.
This is a great book. I never before thought about lighthouses except in terms of their usefulness in days gone by. I never thought about the men who worked in them, the loneliness for them and their families and their absolute dedication to their responsibilities. But this book is more than history, it's a story of love, selflessness and selfishness. The characters were amazing and I found myself struggling over who I sided with the most and wondering, if I were in their places, would I make my choices with my heart or my conscience. I can't wait to discuss this with my book club.
Lisa M. (Fullerton, CA)
An Incredible Debut Novel
This story drew me in from the first page. Compelling and provocative, it raises many questions about right and wrong, and the human heart's capacity for love and forgiveness. Gorgeously written - the people and settings sprang to life from the pages - it's really an amazing first novel from this author. I hope to see more from her in the future.
Marjorie W. (Bonita Springs, FL)
The Light Between Oceans
Couldn't put it down! From the first chapter to the final words, this book held my attention. The moral dilemma that Tom faces mixed with his love for his wife and commitment to honesty and duty is devastating to him.
Philip K. (San Anselmo, Ca)
I think this would be an excellent book for discussion and will recommend it to my book club.
What a wonderful book. It takes place at the end if the land where two oceans meet in Western Australia.The key protagonists are to very wounded light house keepers, living in isolation 100 miles from land.Tom is a WW 1 veteran and Isabel has miscarried 3 children. Into their life comes a lifeboat with a dead man and a baby girl. They keep the child and do not mention the incident to anyone . In a small village a woman believes her husband and child have disappeared. The consequences from these actions affect all these protagonists through the years.at the end of the book I was in tears for all the characters.