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The Light Between Oceans

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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  366,715 ratings  ·  33,683 reviews
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A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper's island. It holds a dead man - and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Transworld Digital
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Kayla I didn't think this book was beautiful. I thought it was slow, depressing and even when you think something good will happen, I guess it sort of does,…moreI didn't think this book was beautiful. I thought it was slow, depressing and even when you think something good will happen, I guess it sort of does, but it's slow to come as well.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Karen Hsu I figured around 4 and a half.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  366,715 ratings  ·  33,683 reviews


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Barbara Williams
I am going to start with review with a disclaimer. This review is subjective, from my point of view etc. I thought this book was terrible, bad, no good. You don’t have to agree with me, and you could think that this was the most AMAZING book and your eyes almost exploded from all the awesomeness that traveled through them to reach your brain which leapt in your skull with every sentence you read, and that is fine. I do not think that you are inferior to me.

Now on to my review. Stop here for
...more
Gabe
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Light Between Oceans is an incredibly moving novel about what happens when good people make bad decisions. The story takes place in the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s. The story begins when a light house keeper and his wife find a life boat containing a live baby (and dead man) on the shore of their isolated island. Through a mixture of misplaced intentions and unsupported superstition they decide to raise the child as their own -- deciding not to inform the authorities ...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book - 4 stars
The audiobook - negative 1000 stars! (more on that later)

This book was a soul crushing catch-22. The decisions the characters had to make and the options they are presented with range from totally awful to not all that great. It was interesting to read a book that felt the entire way through like there is no chance for a happy ending. Which bad option will be the outcome?

The audiobook is terrible. So bad that I will never listen to another book by this reader (Noah Taylor).
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Jeanette
"Sometimes life turns out hard, Isabel. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it's done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk."

Remember when you were four years old, and your mother was just about your entire world? If you can remember that long-ago feeling of attachment to a parent, or if you have a child, or if you have longed for a child of your own, your heart will break for little Lucy. And it will break for all the grown-ups who loved her,
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Mischenko
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com to see this review and others...

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is a heart-wrenching story about a relationship between two people and the risks they're willing to take for each other.

I'm going to say that for me, the story was heart-wrenching. You can feel the love that Tom and Isabel have for each other. Tom, who would do anything for Isabel, is a special character I fell in love with from the start. Is what they do right or wrong? The story
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Suzanne
I just can’t do this. Halfway through, but cannot go on. There are people waiting for this library copy, and the library is calling it back in, so I am going to relinquish it to someone who actually wants to read it.

Given the moral choices that form the heart of the plot, this could have been a much better book, if it were, you know, well-written. Apart from the fairly good initial characterization of Tom Sherbourne as a WWI vet suffering from memories of a troubled childhood and PTSD from war
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Brenda
What a wonderfully complex and morally riveting story! I literally could not put this down, and read for a solid 3 hours last night, until 1am, when I finished this book!

When Tom Sherbourne returned from WWI, he was a shattered man. He needed a quiet place to gather his thoughts, to calm himself, as he didn’t believe he should have survived the war, when his mates did not. So he became a lighthouse keeper, and over the next few years, he did his job, and learned his trade, until he accepted the
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Ninoska Goris
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leido-2017
Español - English

“A veces deseamos tanto algo que nos engañamos y creemos haberlo encontrado.”

Lo que se nos presenta aquí es una historia moral, entre lo bueno y lo malo que conlleva una decisión. Eso sí, muy bien escrita.

Thomas (Tom) Sherbourne después de terminar la Primera Guerra Mundial y queriendo dejar atrás todos los malos recuerdos de su niñez y la muerte de soldados, decide presentarse para el puesto de farero, mientras mas lejos y solitario mejor. Pero cuando llega al puerto de
...more
Chaitra
ETA: Sep 20, 2015

Oh, this review. First, I read this book way back in 2012. I don't know that I would write such a review now, whether or not I hate a book. I've had an attitude shift, if not in life, then in review writing. I've wanted to change it for a while now, but I don't remember most of the book. I also can't make any defense against specific arguments from commenters who liked the book, because of the same.

I read this when I had no baby. At some point after I had my own bundle of joy,
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Starjustin
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book kept my interest all the way to the end. was hoping for a slightly different ending however, would recommend as a book you 'don't want to miss'.
Kristalia
Final rating: 5/5 stars

“...or I can forgive and forget...Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. 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...we always have a choice.”



One word: Beautiful. And also beautiful. and beautiful. and beautiful....

I cannot even begin the review properly. This book crushed my feelings, brought them back together and did it all over and over again. I smiled and i cried.
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Luffy
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very good but I'm giving it 3 stars because I'm being severe with the story and not get carried away by emotion. It is a 'rocambolesque' (topsy turvy) tale, narrated by the all knowing author.

See, I can't decide whether the drama in the book has crossed the line and become melodrama. I know that there are worse books out there, and that many classics are not as good as this book.

Despite that, I need an honest view of the book. I need to look at this rating in 4-5 years and say I
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Michelle
This is an odd book. It is, in a large way, quite boring not to mention depressing. It’d be like if some woman came up to you and told you about her horrible life but using a monotone voice. You’d be partway falling asleep and partway amazed at the dreadfulness. I’m not sure what made it so dull. Maybe it was the writing style: showing not telling, corny people and dialogue, random backstories, one single plotline without much other noise or complexity. The lighthouse stuff was interesting and ...more
Dem
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is a beautifully written and emotional story which I enjoyed very much. A back to basics Novel with a good plot.

This story is about right and wrong and how sometimes they look the same.

Tom Sherbourne who released from the horrors of First world War is now a lighthouse Keeper cocooned on a remote Australian island with his young wife Izzy, who is content in everything but her failure to have a child.
One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a
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LENA TRAK
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, top-50
'' The oceans never stop. They know no beginning or ending. The wind never finishes. Sometimes it disappears, but only to gather momentum from somewhere else... ''

'' He watches the ocean surrender to night, knowing that the light will reappear.

What a book... What a lovely story..such wonderful prose.. The Light Between Oceans tells the story of Tom and Isabel, two of my most beloved characters ever! Their unconditional love leads them to the wrong decision. And then there's no going back...

...more
Yellowdreamer
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
My very first book for 2013, and one I spent the latter half of last year just longing to get my hands on.

Well, I finished The Light Between Oceans in only two sittings, in one single day! And this novel - a heartbreaking exploration of right and wrong, and the lonely windswept grey island which lies between the two - has completely wrung me out on only Day One of a brand new reading year.

How I wept. I mean absolutely WEPT. No parent could bear such sorrow, on either side of the swirling misery
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AMEERA
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to cry and see your tears falling in your book read this , it's just heartbroken
Amalia Gavea
Where do right and wrong stop? In what way is each of these notions perceived by every individual? Do we have the right to play God and presume we will be able to correct the injustice that may have inflicted our lives? Tom and Isabel's course in the story is determined by their own answers to these questions.

The Light Between Oceans has been waiting patiently in my TBR list for quite some time. Once it knocked on my door, I started reading it more than eagerly, my expectations were high. Now
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Jennie Walters
I enjoyed this book, particularly towards the end, which was more subtle and unexpected than I'd predicted. My reservations were largely that some of the dialogue seemed a bit clunky, and at first the relationship between Tom and Isabel, the main protagonists, didn't quite convince - the scene where Isabel imitates the other dinner guests, for example, didn't succeed for me. But by the end, I had really warmed to Tom, the hero of the book, who although damaged by his experiences in the war, is ...more
Margitte
This story is so multifaceted it is a tough one to review. I slept over this book, mulling around, wondering what to take from it. It was haunting me! I was waking up several times during the night, thinking about yet another angle to it. The most important question was:
Where did this tragedy really begin?

Tom Sherbourne returned from WWI to Australia, struggling with his own role in the war. He witnessed his friends being shot; he shot people himself. He was a decorated war hero, yet never
...more
PattyMacDotComma
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
5 Fantastic debut novel
Oh what a tangled web we weave! It’s too easy to justify to ourselves what we want to do rather than what we’re pretty sure we should do – no, that’s wrong – we know exactly what we should do. We just can’t bear to think about it. . . yet. Like Scarlet O’Hara, we’ll think about it tomorrow.

I’m a great rationaliser and pretty handy at arguing either side of a question, so I find it easy to imagine being in the shoes of all these different characters. And they are
...more
Violet wells
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 21st-century
Just as well I’m not a commissioning editor as I would have binned this after about sixty pages.

Essentially The Light between Oceans is a novella that has been fattened up on starch and additives to a 446 page novel. You could doze off for 50 page sections and still wake up to exactly the same scenery without having missed a single landmark of importance. Because it’s a novel that is built on a single plot idea with no supporting cast of ideas. The idea is that a lighthouse keeper and his wife
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Philip
4.5ish stars.

Typically I'm fundamentally opposed to any book endorsed by Oprah. Having said that I also have a weakness for the occasional weepy melodrama as long as it's classy. I took a chance here. I don't know what's with me lately because this is the second book I've cried over this month and I couldn't even tell you the last time it's happened.

Once (if) you accept that the plot revolves around an isolated couple who find a baby in a boat that's washed up on the shore of the lighthouse
...more
Diane
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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."

This is an engrossing novel in which one person's happiness inadvertently causes misery for another. Tom fought in World War I and returns to Australia to become a lighthouse keeper on an isolated island. He meets and marries a sweet girl named Isabel, who becomes desperate for a child. One day, a baby is found in a boat that washes ashore, and Isabel thinks it's a
...more
Samantha
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story of fate, the unfairness of life, and the consequences of the choices we make.
Bianca
This is too big a novel to do it justice with my poorly articulated review. So, I'll just write down a few things.

First of all, I can't get my head around this being a debut novel.
I was captivated from the first paragraph. The writing has such a beautiful flow, the descriptions are so vivid. The third person narration is used masterfully, there are no unreliable narrators, we get to know the inner thoughts, feelings and history of most characters.

Our main hero, Tom Sherbourne, is an actual
...more
Jennifer
Disclaimer: I had a difficult time with the audiobook experience. The narrator is the very talented Noah Taylor, and unfortunately I struggled with his accent and overall articulation. I tried every speed adjustment from slow-mo, normal, and hyperspeed, but I had to continue rewinding to ensure I understood what was being said. For this reason, I lost my reading momentum several times which may have impacted my overall enjoyment - I can't say for certain. I think my response to this book is in ...more
Dominique
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, sad tragic and will make you shed a tear at the end.
Rob Mango
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Light Between Oceans. (Stedman)

Much has been written about the conclusion of counselor Stedman's impressive debut. Prepare to encounter a plot in which one is held suspended until the final chapter,the author skillfully engages the template of the irresolvable outcome.We who require fiction, know this perilous path.Not unlike her characters there is vulnerability for her along this intrepid heading, dividing the readers into camps of wanting ,needing a particular resolution,in order to avoid the
...more
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2,607 followers
M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans is her first novel.
“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.” 865 likes
“Scars are just another kind of memory.” 580 likes
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