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Light Between Oceans

by

Light Between Oceans Cover

ISBN13: 9781451681758
ISBN10: 1451681755
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes 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, 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, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and 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.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel is both heartbreaking and transcendent, “told with the authoritative simplicity of a fable…Stedman’s intricate descriptions of the craggy Australian coastline and her easy mastery of an old-time provincial vernacular are engrossing. As the couple at the lighthouse are drawn into an increasingly tragic set of consequences, these remote, strange lives are rendered immediate and familiar” (The New Yorker).

Review:

“An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.” Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

Review:

“M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one. I couldn’t look away from the page and then I couldn’t see it, through tears. It’s a stunning debut.” Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

Review:

“M.L. Stedman, a spectacularly sure storyteller, swept me to a remote island nearly a century ago, where a lighthouse keeper and his wife make a choice that shatters many lives, including their own. This is a novel in which justice for one character means another’s tragic loss, and we care desperately for both. Reading The Light Between Oceans is a total-immersion experience, extraordinarily moving.” Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Untold Story

Review:

"Irresistible...seductive...a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page." O, the Oprah magazine

Review:

“Haunting...Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut.” Booklist, starred review

Review:

“[Stedman sets] the stage beautifully to allow for a heart-wrenching moral dilemma to play out....Most impressive is the subtle yet profound maturation of Isabel and Tom as characters.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

Review:

“The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction. Moral dilemmas don’t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Review:

“This heartbreaking debut from M L Stedman is a gem of a book that you'll have trouble putting down” Good Housekeeping

Review:

“This fine, suspenseful debut explores desperation, morality, and loss, and considers the damaging ways in which we store our private sorrows, and the consequences of such terrible secrets.” Martha Stewart Whole Living

Review:

“As time passes the harder the decision becomes to undo and the more towering is its impact. This is the story of its terrible consequences. But it is also a description of the extraordinary, sustaining power of a marriage to bind two people together in love, through the most emotionally harrowing circumstances.” The Daily Mail

Synopsis:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a days journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, 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, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and 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.

About the Author

M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 13 comments:

kim_shealy, March 19, 2015 (view all comments by kim_shealy)
It is April 1926 and Isabel is at the cliff's edge tending the small cross and the newly planted rosemary bush. For just a brief moment she thinks she hears her child's cry.
"Things turned up in their own time, in their own way.
The light station sat solidly in the middle of the island,
the keeper's cottage and outbuildings hunkered down beside the lighthouse,
cowed from decades of lashing winds."

Janus Rock the home of the light station built in 1889. It becomes the home for Tom an honored veteran from the Western Front. A man of honor, a keeper of the light and lives of those he loves. A man indebted to the voices and memories of the men who did not return from the front. A quiet and gentle man who is destined to keep the light for any and all who are traveling pass West Australia.

"Gradually, lives wove together once again into a practical sort of fabric
in which every thread crossed and recrossed the others
through school and work and marriage,
embroidering connections invisible to those not from the town."

On a sunny winter's afternoon, Tom sat on a bench near the jetty at Point Partageuse. A young woman was feeding bread to seagulls, and for Tom her animated joy and laughter would be the unexpected "gift" that will nurture love, a sense of home, hope, and sorrow.

"She's still a beauty, still after all these years...
The white stone light tower rested against the slate sky like a stick of chalk.
It stood a hundred and thirty feet high,
near the cliff at the island's apex..."

Not only was that young woman a surprise when Tom had been at the jetty, she proves to be the "unexpected" letter that will warm is heart and the long winter season. As a light keeper, there isn't much to do other than maintaining the light. Many have been known to knit or carve scrimshaw... for Tom it will be the correspondence from Isabel that will fill his days with light. With a two week break from Janus, Tom and Isabel will spend endless days together discovering life. For Isabel, although younger than Tom, she will begin feeling the "urgency" call to not "put off" what matters.
"On the lights... you account for every single day.
You write up the log, you report what's happened,
you produce evidence that life goes on."
And yet, on April's day of the miracle, decisions will be made. A baby has drifted to the Janus shore. The little one's father is dead in the boat, a mother's shawl lies in the hull. A baby! Any parent will know the feelings of looking into the eyes of a little one. A few will know of the tears within your soul due to the sorrow of a hope that has died. For Isabel the death of her second infant was that type of a turning point. With a mother's broken heart, she held this baby and knew that God had given her a miracle. For Tom, he knew that her request would bring the most "unbearable" decision he would ever make.
For little Lucy's christening, they gathered at the church. While they waited in the shade, a fresh granite stone ushered in the reality of truth.
"In loving memory of Franz Johannes Roennfeldt,
dearly beloved husband of Hannah,
and of their precious daughter Grace Ellen.
Watched over by God."
Guilt and love can be a dangerously lonely season. How can you make something right if it will cause "unbearable" pain for someone else? With the passing of two years, Lucy turns four and her life is filled with the joys of being the only child on Janus. Childhood memories that are so sweet. Until the moment that the boat arrives and takes them from the Light:

"The island swims away from them, fading into an ever more miniature version of itself,
until it is just a flash of memory,
held differently, imperfectly by each passenger."

Without hope... all will need a "guiding" light...
So beautifully crafted, it is a journey of a life-time,
MrsK mrskbookstogo.blogspot
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Cecil, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by Cecil)
Simply stunning. The characters are wonderfully drawn and each one tugs at your heartstrings. The problem evolves innocently enough and quite reasonably. Before you know it, you are caught up and invested in it. Despite the pain all around, you really feel torn and truly cannot find the right answer to this moral dilemma. A great choice for book groups with lots to discuss and debate. The time setting, just after World War I, helps explain the reasoning behind some of the actions. The place setting, the lighthouse on a remote Australian island, also plays a key role. By the last pages of the story, I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. This was recommended by a friend and I have continued to "pay forward" that advice to others.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Linda Johnson, October 27, 2014 (view all comments by Linda Johnson)
Wow! If I could have read this book in one sitting, I would have. I could not get enough time with this book nor turn the pages fast enough. I can see that it would be an excellent book for a book discussion, which is how it progressed from my TBR list.

A man, recently returned from action in WW I returns to Australia, meets girl, gets job in an remote island lighthouse, woos girl through exchange of letters (every six months), marries girl, brings home to the lighthouse. After two miscarriages and a stillborn birth an unexpected arrival restores hope to the despondent girl. The decisions made with this arrival drive the rest of the story and provide much head shaking, questioning, and even anger for the reader.

No way I agreed with many of the choices by several of the characters, but it certainly made for a good read and a lively discussion at the book group.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 13 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451681758
Author:
Stedman, M.L.
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Stedman, ML
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Light Between Oceans Used Trade Paper
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781451681758 Reviews:
"Review" by , “An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.”
"Review" by , “M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one. I couldn’t look away from the page and then I couldn’t see it, through tears. It’s a stunning debut.”
"Review" by , “M.L. Stedman, a spectacularly sure storyteller, swept me to a remote island nearly a century ago, where a lighthouse keeper and his wife make a choice that shatters many lives, including their own. This is a novel in which justice for one character means another’s tragic loss, and we care desperately for both. Reading The Light Between Oceans is a total-immersion experience, extraordinarily moving.”
"Review" by , "Irresistible...seductive...a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page."
"Review" by , “Haunting...Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut.”
"Review" by , “[Stedman sets] the stage beautifully to allow for a heart-wrenching moral dilemma to play out....Most impressive is the subtle yet profound maturation of Isabel and Tom as characters.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Review" by , “The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction. Moral dilemmas don’t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut.”
"Review" by , “This heartbreaking debut from M L Stedman is a gem of a book that you'll have trouble putting down”
"Review" by , “This fine, suspenseful debut explores desperation, morality, and loss, and considers the damaging ways in which we store our private sorrows, and the consequences of such terrible secrets.”
"Review" by , “As time passes the harder the decision becomes to undo and the more towering is its impact. This is the story of its terrible consequences. But it is also a description of the extraordinary, sustaining power of a marriage to bind two people together in love, through the most emotionally harrowing circumstances.”
"Synopsis" by , After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a days journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, 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, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and 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.

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