July 3, 2013

Review | The Light Between Oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman
Published: April 9, 2012
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 343
Genres: Drama, Historical Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction

(from Goodreads)
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 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.

If you like dramas, you'll probably get into this one. It's about a lighthouse keeper who marries a woman. They live on a small island out at sea. She tried to have children, but miscarries every time. One day a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a baby. This is when everything starts going wrong. Lies pile on lies and it becomes a good thing that they live on an island away from prying eyes.(Hey, that rhymes! I didn't even mean to.)

This is a very emotional book. I was constantly worried about actions and reactions and crying along with the characters, especially at the end. (And typically, I'm not a very emotional person, so prepare the tissues.)

Tom was one of my favorite characters. Tom loved Isabel very much and would do anything for her, and he does. He has a very strong sense of right and wrong, and for Isabel, he goes against his conscience and gives into her to make her happy.

As much as I can understand his decision, I kept thinking throughout the book that he shouldn't have done it in the first place. It was almost like being a lightkeeper was too important for him to be able to do the right thing. I think that if he had given up being a lightkeeper and gone to live on the mainland or found a lighthouse on the mainland that there would have been more options for them so that they wouldn't have resorted to criminal actions.

Lucy was my other favorite character. I felt so sorry for her that she had to go through everything that she did. The ending is a very tough decision made for her, but as hard as it was, I think it was the right one. She was the character that I felt the most sympathetic for. She was happy, healthy, smart, and cute, but even the families that appear normal from the outside have dark secrets.

The was a very emotional and captivating drama. If you like historical fiction and drama, you'll probably enjoy this one. What's nice about this story is that although it contains elements that are found in some other popular books, it's not really a genre or theme that's been done to death.

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