Jenny's Reviews > The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
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Mar 11, 12

bookshelves: 2012-challenge
Recommended to Jenny by: Greg Mortimer
Read from March 10 to 11, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Advance Reader's Copy

In the aftermath of WWI, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia, and works as a lighthouse keeper on an island all alone. On occasional trips back to the mainland, he meets and then marries Isabel Graysmark; they return to the island together, where Isabel conceives and miscarries three times. Shortly after the third miscarriage, a boat washes up on the island, containing a dead man and a living baby. Isabel persuades Tom not to report it - to bury the man and keep the baby as their own. He uneasily agrees; but back on the mainland, the baby's mother grieves for her lost husband and son.

The Light Between Oceans is an extraordinary story of the difference one decision makes; how the future must be lived when the past cannot be changed; of right and wrong and love. Not only is it a beautiful book with strong characters, its thought-provoking central dilemma makes it an excellent book club pick.


History is that which is agreed upon by mutual consent. That's how life goes on - protected by the silence that anesthetizes shame. (155)

He struggles to make sense of it - all this love, so bent out of shape, refracted, like light through the lens. (225)

"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things....No, we always have a choice. All of us." (323)

Her grief...is as strong as ever: a pain that has no location and no cure. (324)

"I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past." (332)

No point in thinking like that. Once you start down that road, there's no end to it. He's lived the life he's live. He's loved the woman he's loved. No one ever has or ever will travel quite the same path on this earth, and that's all right by him....There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way. Scars are just another kind of memory. (342-342)
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