Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review #799 - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds. 

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. 

My Rating: 5/5

This book has been on my radar ever since the film adaptation was created but I didn't think it was my kind of book as I only read Young Adult exclusively back then.

It wasn't until recently when I learnt that the book was set in my home state of Western Australia that I saw it as a book that I wanted to read.

I loved the setting. It was very Australian and the fact that I have visited the lighthouse (pictured above) that was the inspiration for the one in the book made the setting so rich and vivid in my mind.

I absolutely loved the genuine Aussie feel the book from settings to characters. I found it very immersive and hard to believe it is the author's first book she has written.

The characters all felt so real and set against the backdrop of post World War I it was all very page turning.

The book was told in three parts. The third and final part was by far my least favourite as I didn't like leaving the setting of Janus Island (much like Lucy) but I was so deeply invested in the story at this stage that it wasn't that much of a problem.

Having read this book straight after The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo I had high expectations for another 5 star read and amazingly those expectations were met.

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