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Archive: Other Books > The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman - 2.5 stars

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message 1: by Blueberry (last edited Jul 24, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Blueberry (blueberry1) The Light Between Oceans
This book has been on the edge of my TBR list for a long time. I finally read it because it had a lighthouse on the cover to fit a challenge and I got a free copy from my thrift store.
Tom returns home to Australia after WWI and takes a position as a lighthouse keeper on a small lonely island. He remains emotionally scarred from his war experiences through the story. He marries Isabel and brings her to the island. They are happy until she has multiple miscarriages. Then one night they hear a baby crying in the wind and find a baby with a dead man in a boat run aground. Isabel immediately bonds with the baby but Tom has reservations, knowing the baby must have family missing her somewhere. (This is all told on the back of the cover so I'm not giving away any spoilers.)
I hope to like it more. I liked the characters but maybe they weren't fleshed out enough. Maybe I read it to fast? Maybe I shouldn't have read it back to back with another book with really great characterization? Maybe it deserves 3 stars? I'm ambivalent. haha. Read it yourself and please post your thoughts.


message 2: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments I read it when it came out and for me it was a 5 star read.


message 3: by Blueberry (new)

Blueberry (blueberry1) Ladyslott wrote: "I read it when it came out and for me it was a 5 star read."

That's really high. What did you like best about it?


message 4: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I gave it four.


message 5: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6289 comments It was a 4-star read for me as well. A snippet of my review:
Stedman delivers a wonderfully complex psychological study of love – between a husband and wife, parent and child. This is a story of a couple pulled in opposite directions and yet somehow striving for the same goal. Tom loves his wife and would do anything for her, but what Isabel wants requires that he goes against all he believes is right.


message 6: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2287 comments I gave the audio book 5 stars. "The reader has the most wonderful light Australian accent and I felt that I was listening to Tom. . . The tension in this book quietly and slowly builds to heart-breaking levels. You are almost glad to stop the story and put it down to take a breath, to try to think how this could all be happening and how it could possibly turn out for the best.


message 7: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3832 comments I've seen this around, but never actually knew the premise of the story. I feel like I will LOVE this one, and have to have a box of tissues while read it. Would anyone consider this a tear-jerker?


message 8: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6289 comments Joi wrote: "I've seen this around, but never actually knew the premise of the story. I feel like I will LOVE this one, and have to have a box of tissues while read it. Would anyone consider this a tear-jerker?"

I would not consider it a tear-jerker.


message 9: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I didn't realize they made this into a movie. I read a while ago and thought it was really good. I thought it did a good of laying out a no win situation.

I thought it was a sad story, although I don't think I cried.


message 10: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I just saw that the audio is read by Noah Taylor. He is a wonderful Australian actor.


message 11: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Susie wrote: "I just saw that the audio is read by Noah Taylor. He is a wonderful Australian actor."

Interesting how a book can affect us differently. This was a good one for me. Sorry it didn't strike you more.


message 12: by Sara (new)

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments I only gave it two stars. I thought it was incredibly emotionally manipulative, didn't like or feel sympathy for anyone but the kid, and not terribly well written.


message 13: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Barbara wrote: "I gave the audio book 5 stars. "The reader has the most wonderful light Australian accent and I felt that I was listening to Tom. . . The tension in this book quietly and slowly builds to heart-br..."

I did Whispersync, but I listened more than read because I loved the audio.


message 14: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8940 comments I really enjoyed it when I read it a few months back. I believe I gave it 4 stars. I think it was a mixed bag at my f2f book club, though.


message 15: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Blueberry wrote: "Ladyslott wrote: "I read it when it came out and for me it was a 5 star read."

That's really high. What did you like best about it?"


My review:

This book is built on a very simple question; “What Would You Do?” and then proceeds to delve into the consequences of the action taken.

Tom and Isabel live a simple and secluded life on Janus Rock, the lighthouse island between the Southern and Indian Oceans. Tom seeks the seclusion of the life of a light keeper as a way to help him deal with the horrors he has seen on the battlefields of The Great War. He lives there for several years, alone until he meets Isabel on shore leave and soon they are married and living alone on the island. They have a happy life, until Isabel suffers several miscarriages and the still born birth of a son. When a boat runs ashore on the island, with a dead man on board and a screaming baby found still alive a decision is made that will have consequences for many more people than just Tom and Izzy.

This book is beautifully written, from the descriptions of the island and life in such seclusion, to the despair of a mother losing her children, to the unbreakable bond between mother and child. It also addresses the lengths some will go for those they love, despite their better judgment.

I could not put this book down; it was one of the most heartbreaking books I have read in a very long time. Even when I began to see where the book was heading I couldn’t help but wish for a better outcome. What seems a simple choice can destroy more than one family, as well as other loved ones, including the one person you never meant to hurt at all.

At the end of the book I thought many times about the “what if’s” and how things could have ended so differently. And the very end of the book had me in tears. This is Ms. Steadman’s debut and all I can say is wow and I hope she has another book as compelling as this one in the works.


message 16: by Denizen (new)

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments I rarely cry reading but this one had me by the end. I remember it as a strong 4 stars; emotionally hard to read in the middle.


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