Emily's Reviews > The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
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Aug 14, 12

Read from August 08 to 14, 2012

** spoiler alert ** (My review might change--the star rating, but this is my initial thought.)

This is an incredibly sad book. Not wistful, SAD. No character's life is left unaltered, and, in some cases, almost shattered by what happens here.
Brief synopsis: Tom and his wife, Isabella, are stationed on a lighthouse off the western coast of Australia. They want children, but Izzy can't bring one to term. One night a dinghy beaches up on the island, with a dead man and a three month old baby inside. Isabella immediately takes to the child, and Tom can't bring himself to report the child's arrival back to the mainland. So they raise the girl, whom they name Lucy, as their own.
Obviously, they are found out, in part because Tom, almost undone by guilt, writes two notes to the child's mother back in Australia, saying that the woman (Hannah's) husband did die, but that her child is all right.
I don't really like any of the adult characters, Tom the least, because he should have done what was right in the beginning and sent Lucy back, instead of letting Isabelle grow so attached. And since he didn't do it in the beginning, he DEFINITELY shouldn't have almost ruined his wife's life later by sending those notes.
Hannah, Lucy's biological mother, isn't very sympathetic either. Once she gets Lucy--whom she named "Grace"--back, she treats her horribly. It's clear Lucy is suffering but Hannah can't let go of what happened to her in the past. The reason I dislike her is simple--she constantly, constantly, CONSTANTLY dwells on the wrongs the world has brought to her doorstep. She is not the only person in this novel who has suffered.
Isabella/Izzy is my "favorite" if I can say that. She's shattered by the loss of all her children, and sees Lucy as her salvation. She finally gives up Lucy in order to save her husband from prison/execution, but I think she never really gets over it, and their marriage never quite recovers.

So you have a trio of adults who aren't really likeable. Tom is so emotionally closed off that it's hard to like him. Izzy is probably the most "likable" in that sense.

The setting is quite well drawn; you sense the isolation at the Janus light, the sweep of Australian landscape and people back on the mainland. But instead of being heartbroken for these people, I really just wanted to smack them all.
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Rebecca I agree. I also didn't like any of the adult characters and found the plotline melodramatic.


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