The Light Between Oceans Read-A-Long discussion

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Preface - Chapter 5 Discussion

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Simon & Schuster Canada (simonandschusterca) | 22 comments Mod
It's time to kick off our read-a-long of The Light Between Oceans!

I'm going to start with some of my initial thoughts and feelings that cover the preface to chapter 5 and then I will pose some questions to all of you.

Please keep in mind, there will be spoilers for the chapters we are currently discussing, but if you've read ahead, please don't share any details for those who are reading the book for the first time.

PREFACE - CHAPTER 5

M.L. Stedman sure starts the book off with a bang!
We are given a glimpse into the pivotal moment of the book, a baby arrives on Janus - all ofwhich is still to come. This is our first introduction to Tom and Isabel and we really have no idea what is motivating their actions, we don't know what has shaped their personalities and their reactions to this life changing incident.
When I finished the short preface there were two things I noticed and sensed instantly:

First, Stedman's writing is enchanting. I loved it and can't wait to devour more!

Second, there is so much foreboding in this preface that I get the feeling that things can't possibly work out for the best for Tom and Isabel.

Once the preface ends and the dust settles, we're placed at the beginning of the story—to where it begins and a proper introduction of Tom. We learn that he served in World War I. There is the scene on the boat where he helps a woman from a potential sexual assault. I felt Stedman really wanted to impress on the reader that Tom is a truly compassionate character.

My favourite moments so far have been the beginning romance of Tom and Isabel, from their meeting to their letter writing and first kiss. Knowing what kind of potential hardship is to come from the preface, it is so nice to read about these simple and innocent moments between them.

What was your favourite moment?

The quote that made the most impact on me:
"Though the music was tuneful, it failed to comfort him as he climbed the stairs of the light, fending off a strange uneasiness at the concession he had made." (pg. 8, preface)

QUESTIONS

These questions are only guidelines, feel free to pose your own and discuss other aspects of the chapters.

1. The novel opens with Isabel whispering this quote from the Our Father prayer:
"...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
What do you think this signifies for Isabel and Tom's future?

2. Stedman gives us a glimpse into Tom and Isabel's future through the preface. Observe their relationship from that point in time. What can we infer about the dynamic? Who holds the most sway in decisions?

3. Tom is haunted by what he witnessed—and what he did—during his enlistment in World War I. How do you think Tom’s experiences as a soldier impact his decisions throughout the novel? What other outside elements, like the war, influences the narrative?

- Caitlyn


Susan (suekitty13) | 9 comments 1. There is definitely an ominous tone to the opening. It makes me wonder just what kind of evil they will be facing once they give in to temptation and keep the baby permanently. So far I quite like both characters ad think that they are basically good, kind people so it's going to be difficult to watch them go through the trouble that is coming for them.

2. From the preface I would say that Isabel has the ultimate power. Tom obviously loves her very much and wants her to be happy so he will go against his better judgement to please her.

3. I think back after WWI they used to call this Shell-Shock although now we would call it PTSD. After experiencing so much unimaginable horror it would be impossible to just go back to normal life. It sounds like even those who stayed at home never could go back to normal either as all those men didn't come home, or came home damaged. I don't blame Tom for wanting to escape from being around people entirely and it wasn't surprising when he was charmed by the happy and carefree Isabel.


message 3: by Krystal (new) - added it

Krystal (krystal_osmond) | 10 comments Oh my, you were bang on about the preface. So far it's been my favourite! It was so powerful and emotional and it really made me excited to dig deeper into this book. Stedman definitely nailed the beginning of this book.

I had a good laugh at the first exchange between Isabel and Tom, this being my (other) favourite part so far.

"You're not from Partageuse."
"Nope."
"I am. Lived here all my life. Want some bread?"
"Thanks, but I'm not hungry."
"Not for you, silly! To feed the seagulls." (Chapter 1, page 21,22)

This I think is an insight on their friendship/relationship because Isabel seems like a fun, spirited girl whereas Tom, having served in WW1 is a bit more serious.

ANSWERS:

1. I think the quote is ironic because we know (if we watched the trailer) that Isabel and Tom had difficulty conceiving and birthing children and how badly they wanted to. So when the baby is washed up on the boat, Isabel is so obviously tempted into keeping the baby which in the end is an "evil" act because the baby isn't her's to keep. It signifies that they clearly know right from wrong but when handed a child like they were, their beliefs get convoluted and they (Isabel more by the looks of things) are willing to risk right from wrong for a bit of happiness.

2. As I mentioned above, I think Isabel is a younger, free spirited, fun individual. She's eager to learn about life and the people in it. Tom, being a few years older and more experienced in the would outside of Partaguese is a more private, mature, steady fellow. There's enough of the opposites that they seem to merge nicely together. And Isabel definitely sways the decisions. I really can't wait to see their relationship grow and follow them to 1926!

3. Tom is more level-headed and eager to do the right thing after what he witnessed in the war. I imagine it's difficult to live a normal life. Thought I'm not really sure I've got enough on Tom to fully answer this question yet.


I want to know what people think of a preface like this? Do you like that we got the most important event, the one the book is based off of right away? Would you rather have had that part left out until coming across it in the novel or do you enjoy reading the key part early on?

-Krystal


Heather (heathermmoore) My thoughts:

I really like the descriptions of Tom in the lighthouse and running it. I find that really interesting.

1. At this point I think they lead themselves into evil. Not that they need to be protected from it but they did it themselves. Whether they did this out of grief (Isabel) and wanting his wife to be happy (Tom) is to be seen.

2. Definitely Isabel. At this point it sort of feels like Isabel holds Tom hostage to her moods and he will do anything to avoid her anger. Whether it's because his PTSD makes him avoid anything unpleasant or they just don't really know how to communicate or she is used to getting her way I'm not sure what the reason is. I also think both of them are so paralyzed by grief they aren't thinking correctly. At this point it looks more like Isabel than Tom but we will see as the novel progresses.

3. Definitely his PTSD affects his decisions. At that time there was no therapy for people to work through it so they just lived with it as best as they could. I wonder if he doesn't argue with Isabel because he's so traumatized from the war.

I want to know what people think of a preface like this? Do you like that we got the most important event, the one the book is based off of right away? Would you rather have had that part left out until coming across it in the novel or do you enjoy reading the key part early on?

I liked the preface because it pulls you in. It sets up what is going to happen and makes you want to read further to find out how they get to that point and what exactly did happen. I'm not so sure that it would work so well if it unfolded linearly.


Hilary (songswrotemystory) | 7 comments I'm a little conflicted on the whole preface. Not because it's bad, or I didn't like it, or anything like that, but rather, because I felt it was unnecessary. We know that part - it's on the back of the book. Was the author worried that we wouldn't get through the first few chapters if we didn't get a taste of the drama? I'm generally anti-preface/epilogue, though (if you write a good story, you shouldn't need those, in my opinion), so take that how you will.

My favourite moment by far in these chapters was Isabel's letter, where she tells Tom not to get eaten by a whale. Love it.

Another thing I found interesting was the fact that Tom spent six months on an island by himself. I get that it's a busy job, and with the PTSD it might be easier in some ways. But humans are by nature social creatures. We don't do well when we go off on our own for extended periods of time, because we aren't designed to do that. I know I definitely couldn't, even with the new technologies we'd have in modern times.

As for the questions:

1. Total foreshadowing. We just have to wait to see how it plays out. I can't wait to see what the 'evil' part of it is.

2. Isabel definitely holds sway in the relationship. That's not even a question. Tom is has clearly oriented his life to preserve her happiness, whether that be because she moved to an island alone with him or because of the miscarriages or whatever the case may be. We don't get enough information to really be able to tell how they came to that dynamic. For all of the uniqueness involved in their relationship and the history of the two individuals, it will be interesting to see how all this comes together.

3. PTSD is a scary thing, and I would hazard a guess that it's going to be a huge part of the novel (and if it isn't, Stedman has buggered up a good opportunity). It's hard to say at this point what sort of effect it's going to have on the pair of them, because we've only got a tiny glimpse of when it would affect them as a pair. It's going to be interesting to see.


Heather (heathermmoore) Well you don't know that part if you read it on an e-reader.


Annie | 8 comments Stedman has done a great job describing the isolation of a lighthouse keeper’s existence and giving us a glimpse into the type of people that Tom and Isabel are when they meet each other. I can’t imagine living alone for three months and not even getting news from the outside world during that time.

1. Now that you pointed out the words in the last line of the Our Father prayer, they do set a tone for the temptation that Tom and Isabel will face. When I read the preface before reading everyone’s comments, I didn’t think of the actual words that Isabel was saying. I just thought of her finishing a prayer before the driftwood cross. Both Tom and Isabel are good people, who have suffered recent losses and the temptation would be great to keep the baby. I think that their isolation on the island will make it easier for them to give in to the temptation and not consider the outside world.

2. Isabel holds sway in this decision. I don’t know if we can (yet) say that about other decisions in their relationship. Tom is a by-the-book type person who follows the rules, but he loves Isabel and would go along with her because he doesn’t want her to suffer another loss.

3. I think that Tom’s experiences as a solder are one of the reasons that he choose a solitary job like a lighthouse keeper. He probably needs time to come to terms with what he saw and what he did during the war. Also, to accept that he made it out with his life while so many others did not. His experiences as a soldier would also fit in with the regulations and routines that the lighthouse keeper must follow. We also had a glimpse of Tom’s childhood where he thinks about the day his mum left and his dad tells him not to mention her again. This must have impacted Tom’s character.

Finally, I liked the preface. The reader finds out the major dilemma right away and then we slowly find out what led up to it and how their decision plays out.


The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori) (thecandidcover) | 9 comments I totally agree that the author wants us to see Tom as a caring and compassionate character.

My favourite scene so far has to be the dinner scene when Isabel is mocking one of the other guests behind his back, making Tom have to hold in his laughter. This scene really shows us the playful nature of Isabel's character.

The quote that stood out to me the most is on page 6. "Tom could hear tears in her voice, and the memory of an invisible presence hung in the air between them." This quote makes me want to know more about their past and how they got to the place they are at emotionally.

1. I definitely think that this prayer is telling us what is to come in the novel and is almost like a warning for the characters.

2. Even though Tom is older, at this point in the novel it is obvious that Isabel has more power in the decision making. Isabel does seem to be more of a risk taker, while Tom is the one who plays by the rules and lives by routine. That being said, it seems that Tom appreciates the carefree attitude of Isabel and is drawn to that aspect of her character.

3. Not knowing first-hand the scope of how it feels to be a soldier, I can only imagine that it would be one of great integrity. I think that Tom is trying to live by a moral code and has set high standards for himself and others. We see this in the scene on the ship when he prevents an attack on a woman.

I think that living in a solitary situation will provide less opportunity for outside influences on Tom and Isabel's lives. However, that town does seem to be set in its ways a little bit, so there could be some guilt for not following societal rules. Isabel seems to be less concerned with those than Tom does, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather Travis | 2 comments I loved the preface - It drew me in instantly and gave me a taste of the future. I don't think much of the prayer really...I think it's how most of us (regardless of religion) try to live - and we all know everyone fails in their own way because we're human.

I definitely see Isabelle holding the sway. Tom feels so lucky to have her love, he feels redeemed by it, he will do anything to protect it and her. I think this also comes from his experience in the war - he knows to celebrate joy, even if it comes at a cost.


Shonna (macfsh) | 8 comments Very intriguing characters! Tom is estranged from his father. Why? Why does Tom think it's a good idea to isolate himself on an island after suffering the trauma of war? Perhaps not a bad idea really. He seemed to handle the first three months well.

Isabel is quite the girl. Spunky and outspoken. Flirty. She seems happy with her current life. Why take such a risk and head to a deserted island with basically a stranger? I wonder what her parents are going to say?

I think Isabel will hold the sway. Tom seems quiet and easy going.


message 11: by Tracey (last edited Jul 12, 2016 09:32AM) (new) - added it

Tracey | 4 comments I am enjoying the book so far. Not sure if I liked the preface. Sometimes I am glad I knew what was coming and other times I wish it was left until we read about it.

The author makes me feel like I am on the island and paints a great picture for the reader. The descriptions of the surroundings allow the reader to picture the island.

Tom is a strong character who lives by the rules but loves his wife and feels her pain that he sways from the rules for her. He sees her bond with the baby and how it is helping her heal.

I cannot wait to see what the future chapters hold for them


Jaclyn (jaclynmqh) | 7 comments I love the preface. Takes us right into the heart of the story and the romantic build-up afterward are tinged with our knowledge of their future.

I also liked the scene where Tom saves the woman on the boat. I thought at first that she would turn out to be Isabel and now I wonder if she'll return in a future scene as a character of significance somehow (the biological mother of the child maybe?)

The romance is really sweet. I love the scene with the seagulls and just how happy and full of joy she seems to be. I can imagine that plays a lot into his attraction to her, and why he would want so much to keep her happy, e.g. By keeping the child as their own.


message 13: by ebookclassics (last edited Jul 12, 2016 05:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ebookclassics | 6 comments Let me start by saying I didn't realize M.L Stedman was a woman and this was a debut novel until I read the cover of the book, so I'm happy for her tremendous success.

What I like about the preface is that we're immediately thrown into the plot of the story. From their words and actions we quickly learn that Tom and Isabel are a couple emotionally distant from one another, and they often don't see eye to eye. And then there's the mysterious body and baby. It made me wonder what would happen next!

Although Tom and Isabel's courtship was very sweet and romantic, it's clear from the beginning that she is naïve and has romanticized marriage and living on the island. However it's this whimsy and innocence that provides Tom with an escape from his trauma. She makes him belief in life again. I believe he concedes to Isabel to cling to the life force she represents in comparison to the death and destruction he was living with. On top of that, throw in abandonment and mommy issues, and oy vey.

The author really is a powerful storyteller. I look forward to what lies ahead of us in the book.


message 14: by Louisa (new)

Louisa (louisa-livinglou) | 3 comments I think opening with the quote from the Our Father prayer was an interesting choice, because I feel like with the preface, it might be almost too on the nose? But this also sets up the more ominous feel of the book. I wonder if this was a big decision for the author, or if this was something she always knew she wanted to open the story.

I did enjoy the preface because it brings you right into the conflict of the story, but leaves you wondering how did they get there and what happens from there. In terms of the dynamic between Isabel and Tom, I feel like she is suffering and he just wants to make her happy, even if just for a moment.


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Ainy K | 5 comments So far I like every character, emotion and the story. I recently went on a vacation to PEI and Nova Scotia, there I visited pretty much every single lighthouse :))) I am loving how the author describes everything - wind, waves, vastness of the ocean, rocks, sounds, machinery, and the lighthouse. I really like how the author takes us back in time to when & how Isabelle meets Tom, I like them both and I want them to keep the baby :D


Deborah (mom2michael) | 5 comments So, I read a fair bit ahead - I couldn't help myself! This has made me a little hesitant to comment much in case I get into things that happen after chapter 5.

But I will say that I like the approach of the preface, tossing us right into the heart of the story. The first chapters then leading up to those events are filled with anticipation and questions as to how they will get there.

Steadman's writing is superb and very evocative. I can almost see the island and feel the isolation.

Now, I promise to slow down so I can feel more comfortable with my comments moving on :)


Deborah (mom2michael) | 5 comments Jaclyn wrote: "I love the preface. Takes us right into the heart of the story and the romantic build-up afterward are tinged with our knowledge of their future.

I also liked the scene where Tom saves the woman o..."


Jaclyn, I wondered as well if the woman on the boat would turn out to be Isabel. That's an interesting thought that it could be the birth mother.


Heather (heathermmoore) Deborah wrote: "So, I read a fair bit ahead - I couldn't help myself! This has made me a little hesitant to comment much in case I get into things that happen after chapter 5.

But I will say that I like the appro..."


I've already finished! I couldn't help it.


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Ainy K | 5 comments Heather wrote: "Deborah wrote: "So, I read a fair bit ahead - I couldn't help myself! This has made me a little hesitant to comment much in case I get into things that happen after chapter 5.

But I will say that ..."


*******************************
So true ! I simply can not pace my reading :)) i just want to know what happens next .....already read ch: 6 - 10 , can not wait until tomorrow for all the comments and start the next chapters...


message 20: by Louisa (new)

Louisa (louisa-livinglou) | 3 comments Deborah wrote: "Jaclyn wrote: "I love the preface. Takes us right into the heart of the story and the romantic build-up afterward are tinged with our knowledge of their future.

I also liked the scene where Tom sa..."


Agreed! I felt like the scene was pretty significant so I wonder if that woman will play a role going forward...


Danica T (d4nic4) I told myself to stop once I got to the end of chapter 5 but I couldn't help myself. It's so hard to stop once you get into it! I personally think the prologue gives away a lot of the story. I personally would've preferred it without. Watching the trailer too gives away a lot! Also, the beginning with the woman on the ship makes me think there is potential foreshadowing... is she Isabel (who I thought it might be) or the birth mother? I hope we find out.

Isabel seems like someone who hasn't experience much living in her small town while Tom has experience a lot during the war. This makes their relationship dynamic different. Isabel wants whatever she pleases and Tom doesn't want to displease her. I think he puts effort into giving her what she wants to make her happy because he himself is struggling with the aftermath of being in the war.

I definitely think Tom being in the war has changed his decision making. He's used to following set rules due to that which makes lighthouse work perfect for him. However, now Isabel is causing him to change his ways a bit and I think it's making him feel anxious.

Can't wait to carry on with the rest! Great discussion everyone!


Simon & Schuster Canada (simonandschusterca) | 22 comments Mod
ebookclassics wrote: "Let me start by saying I didn't realize M.L Stedman was a woman and this was a debut novel until I read the cover of the book, so I'm happy for her tremendous success.

What I like about the prefac..."


I really liked this interpretation of Tom and Isabel's relationship and the qualities they have to offer one another:

"Although Tom and Isabel's courtship was very sweet and romantic, it's clear from the beginning that she is naïve and has romanticized marriage and living on the island. However it's this whimsy and innocence that provides Tom with an escape from his trauma."

Such an excellent way to understand how these characters are influenced by one another in how they may act and react to situations - how Isabel's naiveté is almost fed by Tom's need for innocence and positive spirit in his life and how this will affect what is to come for this couple.

Thank you ALL for your contributions to the discussion, every one of your comments was enlightening and enjoyable to read!

For those of you just getting into the book, please continue to contribute to this thread.
For those of you ready to discuss the next set of chapters, a new discussion thread will be started today!

- Caitlyn


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Martina (fleurdemar) | 3 comments I'm really enjoying this book so far. Stedman is a wonderful writer who really knows how to describe scenes in a way that makes you see it while you read.

Tom and Isabel are so opposite and I can't wait to see how their relationship grows. I'm excited to keep reading!

PS. I've put off watching the trailer so far--I don't want any parts of the story ruined for me.


Stephanie Holt | 7 comments I am thoroughly enjoying this book so far. I feel like the preface gives us a taste of what is to come, but it gives so little that I want to read the book to find out what impact their decision will have on others. Where did the dinghy come from? Do people lose their lives because of Tom not sending the signal to announce the incident? Is the dead man the father of the baby? What happened to the mother?

The questions:

1. The novel opens with Isabel whispering this quote from the Our Father prayer:
"...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
What do you think this signifies for Isabel and Tom's future?
I think it signifies that in their decision to keep the baby and do what they think is best, they are doing evil in a way they can't possibly imagine.

2. Stedman gives us a glimpse into Tom and Isabel's future through the preface. Observe their relationship from that point in time. What can we infer about the dynamic? Who holds the most sway in decisions?
I agree with many of the previous posters that Isabel holds the most sway in decisions. She is the more daring of the two, while Tom's interest is in structure. The fact that she is able to pull him away from his desire to follow protocol signals to me that she has power over him.

3. Tom is haunted by what he witnessed—and what he did—during his enlistment in World War I. How do you think Tom’s experiences as a soldier impact his decisions throughout the novel? What other outside elements, like the war, influences the narrative?
Tom's experiences in the war shape him and how he interacts with others. He is determined to do the right thing based on what he encountered.

The descriptions of the lighthouse captivated me. A few years ago I was able to tour the lighthouse in Port Burwell, Ontario, Canada with my two young sons. I believe it was shorter than the lighthouse in this book, but when we bravely crawled into the top level where the light is housed, we were all terrified. It is a steep view to take in. I felt dizzy again reading the passage where Tom climbs out onto the outside deck. My favourite section is in here. page 32, "The water sloshed like white paint, milky-thick, the foam occasionally scraped off long enough to reveal a deep blue undercoat."

The unique word choice by the author brings the ocean to life in my mind.

I can't wait to continue reading.


Chrystal (chrystalm) My favourite moment so far is where she hints at marrying him and then outright tells him that is what she wants. I thought it was funny that she is the one who really knows what she wants.

1. I think the quote forbodes what their future will be like... the temptation to keep the child versus handing her over to authorities and how lives will be affected.

2. Isobel seems to wear the pants from what I see so far. She is more dominant and pushes for what she wants. she is stubborn.

3. I think the war had a large impact on Tom's life and so did the "loss" of his mother (not sure if she died or left yet). Those two moments seem to be what he comes back to again and again. A sense of loss and a sense of what is truly important Also, I think him chosing to work at the lighthouse is his way of staying alone and not letting others in very easily. You can't get hurt if you're alone.


Melissa (YA Book Shelf) (yabookshelf) I'm loving this book so far. I haven't read a lot of literary fiction this year (I mostly read YA), but the writing is exquisite, the descriptions of the island are vivid, and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

I had seen the trailer before starting the book, so the preface wasn't a surprise and was the thing I was moment I was looking forward to most, especially when I realized that the first chapter would begin many years earlier. While it was nice to meet Tom and Isabel before the events of the preface, to get a sense of their relationship, I found myself waiting to get back to 1926 and the events of them finding the baby. I don't think the story would've been as interesting or held the attention of most readers of it had started with chapter one.

1. Isabel's recitation of the Lord's Prayer obviously is used to foreshadow the temptation that is coming, especially for Isabel, to keep the baby, and offers a sense of foreboding for what will happen due to their choices. I have to admit that I didn't think of this when I was reading it initially, but as with all literary fiction, each element should have some importance and if it doesn't, it wouldn't be there.

2. Isabel has always held more power in their relationship. She has the power to make him smile / change his plans when he first arrives in Partageuse. She has the power to make him laugh at her antics during his formal introduction to her, her family, and other key people in the town, while she can maintain her composure completely. Finally, despite being younger, she seems to know what she wants and does everything in her power to get what she wants, even a kiss, when he would assume something far more innocent. The only thing she can't get is him to agree to marry him before he leaves the next day for Janus, if only because he can't imagine that he could hold her attention for any length of time.

3. Like many men who came back from the war, Tom is unable or unwilling to talk about it, almost as if he witnessed things that are too horrible to put into words and if he did in any way, he'd get bogged down in a disparity that is all consuming. He seems to have survivor's guilt, imagining that he has less reason to survive or earn a medal than some of the people he met and trusted in the war. He doesn't see himself as a hero, even though he's a decorated veteran.

Other outside influences that affect him, Isabel, and the story is his lack of any real family. Since his mom left when he was young and he's estranged from his father and brother, Cecil, he's always been very isolated with no real home to call his own, so living on Janus is like a visual / physical manifestation of his metaphorical isolation.

The infrequent coming and going of the supply ship, which is the only way Tom can receive news of the outside world, more food, and a small amount of connection with other human beings. Even though the visits are short, they affect him, change how he feels about life, especially when he sees the hilarious letter from Isabel.

Finally, the ghosts of the men who Tom saw die will always be a huge influence on him, Isabel, and their world.

It's hard to say what my favourite passage was, but I definitely appreciated the interactions between Tom an Isabel and between Tom and the unnamed woman on the ship, who he saved from being, possibly, sexually assaulted. Tom has gone through so much darkness, so Isabel wakes him up to the world around him, makes things more bearable. I especially like the scene in which Tom can't imagine Isabel wanting to kiss him, so he assumes she asked if he'd miss her. It's a mini comedy of errors that reminded me of the romance between George Bailey and Mary from It's A Wonderful Life, minus the fact that they're always fully clothed and neither of them ends up hiding in a bush. :) And the other scene is important to show how honourable Tom is of course.


Aurora (auroralgr) | 5 comments Well, I'm late to the party as usual but I'm here! A lot of great stuff has been said, and I'll try not to sound redundant.

Immediately the Preface sets the tone of the novel with foreboding tension. Isabel and Tom in the Preface are not the same couple we get to know during the first five chapters. If this hadn't been constructed this way, I and any reader would assume this would be a lovely romance story. Yet it isn't, and those first few words from Isabel are ominous indeed.

The Lighthouse feels as much as a character as any found so far. Tom is breathing light into it with his fixes and in a way, is healing himself. Yet, Isabel's youth and energy is in a way an attraction he cannot resist despite it throwing him off balance. Metaphors all around there, and just as much as a lighthouse can symbolize hope it also has some dark connotations too. There's mention of some tragic happenings that have occurred already in the past (a quarantine for the influenza of a shipwreck?). I believe Tom's acceptance of their romance shows a bit of naivety on his part as much as Isabel. He wants to be whole, and he believes that she can help him with that.

I did observe that Isabel confesses that she wants to be a mother and have a big family to Tom - she admits that not being able to have children would be unbearable (page 46). This comment with the first lines uttered in the preface cannot be anymore crystal clear on what is to happen.

That's all for now. Can't wait to read the next chapters!


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