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The Light Between Oceans

A Novel

by Margot L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans
  • Critics' Opinion:

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

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There are currently 36 reader reviews for The Light Between Oceans
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Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN) (07/21/12)

Perfect novel--not to be missed!
This novel had it all--characters you felt you knew and cared about, beautiful writing, compelling story! Very satisfying read--highly recommended...
Barbara E. (rockville, MD) (07/17/12)

The Light Between Oceans
This is a wonderful debut novel. The book is a morally complex tale, filled with flawed characters whom you nevertheless end up routing for. From its opening pages to its final ones, I was enthralled. This is a wonderful exploration of life, love and responsibility. I would highly recommend this book.
Rebecca E. (Bala Cynwyd, PA) (07/16/12)

Love and Loss, Light and Dark
The Light Between Oceans is a promising debut from Australian author M. L. Stedman. As good historical fiction is supposed to do, this book introduced me to several new topics, namely, everything I ever wanted to know about lighthouses, and also the deeply felt impact of far-away World War I on the citizens of a small coastal Australian town.

At the heart of the well-drawn plot and characters is a terrible moral dilemma, and the ramifications and heartbreak of the solution to the problem. As a mother who knows the pain of pregnancy loss and miscarriage, Isabel and Tom’s story resonated with me and kept me up late at night reading until I had finished the novel. Stedman’s writing and use of metaphor is skillful, and the reader can feel the emptiness and solitude of life alone at the edge of the world, the profound darkness of the ocean relieved by the lighthouse, and the tremendous longing and loss that can only be relieved by hope eternal.

I look forward to Stedman’s next novel, and highly recommend The Light Between Oceans.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX) (07/15/12)

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) (07/13/12)

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.
Michelle N. (Hillsdale, NJ) (07/13/12)

Read this book!
I have just finished reading this book and it is way past the time that I usually stay up at night - I just could not put this book down! I was very fortunate to be able to obtain this book and write a review about it - it is excellent from start to finish. The story grabs you from the first page and keeps you enthralled until the very last. The characters come alive off the page and the story will have you picking up the book at every opportunity to see the choices that the characters make. This book is definitely about choices - what do you do when your conscience tells you to do the right thing, even when it will destroy those you love? A very difficult choice, some very wonderful characters, and a truly terrific book. Coming from someone who reads a ton of books, this is one of those stories that will stay with you. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book - no doubt you will love it!
Teresa H. (Mechanicsville, VA) (07/13/12)

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.
Shirin M. (Beverly Hills, CA) (07/12/12)

The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman
A good book transports you to a different time and place; better books stay with you long after you've turned the last page. "The Light Between Oceans," does both. Quiet controlled prose creates a sense of time and place inhabited by real people. There are no heroes or villains. Just regular folk who have to live with the consequences of their decisions in a world that is after all never fair. The reader's notion of right and wrong is challenged in circumstances where there are no easy answers. An engrossing read. While you want to know what happens to the main characters, you don't want the book to end. A stunning debut novel.

Beyond the Book:
  Lighthouse Keepers

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