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The Light Between Oceans
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Archive 08-19 GR Discussions > The Light between Oceans: Part 2

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Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Part 2


message 2: by Maureen (last edited Feb 08, 2015 07:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maureen (meg9000) | 84 comments Oh boy -- here we go. The part I dreaded...

Chapters 10-15

Hard to believe this poor couple went through 3 miscarriages, and all alone with no one to talk to. Stedman doesn't let us get very close to her characters, but she manages to convey Izzy's feelings of guilt, as if she is defective, and that she feels it is her fault. She also captures Tom's feelings of helplessness, knowing there is nothing he can do or say to comfort his wife.

We have been led to like Izzy so far, thinking her entirely normal, but what she does is very abnormal. Would she have done this if she weren't in the throes of a deep depression? We don't really get to know her enough to know her true character, but I would guess we all would like to think this isn't something she would normally do.

I hate when you can see characters head down the slippery slope, and I always want to reach out to warn them. But she forces Tom to go against his good judgment and puts him in a terrible position. And because he loves her, he gives in to her and, inch by inch, they slowly go over the cliff. Tom is a man who lives by the book, and she has asked him to go against everything he stands for, and this will change their relationship. We can see this happen right away when he starts lingering in the lantern room before going home. Ugh. It is now that I begin to read with dread, every step they take closer to disaster.

What is wrong with Isabel, I ask myself as she glibly claims ownership over this baby? How can she do this? Something about her now seems very bizarre, very selfish. Of course Tom is not blameless either, but doesn't like it, wants to change it, and isn't perpetuating the myth that she is theirs, except by inaction. I know that still makes him guilty, but he would change it in a heartbeat, given half a chance.

Being alone on that island must change a person. I guess you don't live in the real world - only in the world of your mind, where you can make your own rules. It is only when they get back to civilization that Isabel even gets close to being remorseful and frightened - even before they find out about the baby's identity.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments I think her pain is so great that Izzy will do anything to have a baby and being on Janus where you are more isolated, it is easier to pretend.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments What's eating Tom Sherbourne?


message 5: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "What's eating Tom Sherbourne?"

I think that Tom doesn't like what they are doing. He doesn't understand Izzy's thinking. He loves her, but he knows they are hurting someone, and he has known too much hurt in his life. He wants to do the right thing.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Do you think Tom can really love Lucy as his own child knowing the truth?


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments Tom knows Lucy isn't his own child and he can't pretend she is. However, at the same time he does love her. There are some nice moments between Tom and Lucy when Lucy was a toddler and before she lived with her biological mother.


message 8: by Irene (last edited Feb 08, 2015 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Light house keepers were exposed to mercury. I wonder if that's why Issy has problems with the pregnancies. There are actually two fresnel lenses, one on top of the other. The beam from the lower lens was white while the upper one gave a red light. The whole lamp assembly weighs over four tonnes. It’s supported on a bath of mercury, one and a half tons of the stuff, which has two purposes. First of all it keeps the lamp perfectly level. Secondly it makes it easy to rotate the lamp assembly by reducing friction.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments Well Tom would have been exposed and it might have had an affect on Izzy's pregnancies. It had to be indirectly through Tom's exposure.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments In chapter 15, Ralph comments on how Izzy has become a different woman since the baby, Tom replies

“It’s brought out a different side of her, all right.”

What do you think he is thinking?


message 11: by Irene (last edited Feb 08, 2015 05:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Possible theme: right and wrong; Grief stricken and betrayal. Violet and Bill lost their two sons. Izzy lost her babies. Tom lost the men in his platoon.
What is Tom's story?


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Jayme(the ghost reader) wrote: "Well Tom would have been exposed and it might have had an affect on Izzy's pregnancies. It had to be indirectly through Tom's exposure."

She is now going through her changes? That is sad.


message 13: by Rebecca (last edited Feb 08, 2015 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rebecca There is a brief line about helping the enemy so I am suspecting Tom's grief has something to do with that maybe? I have also wondered if there was any chance that Izzy's brother's deaths might some how be related to Tom or his platoon?

I know that Tom watched Izzy in her miscarriage. I think as a man he was there and felt helpless, also being a man he probably wasn't the best emotional support provider and maybe that is due to his past?


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Rebecca wrote: "There is a brief line about helping the enemy so I am suspecting Tom's grief has something to do with that maybe? I have also wondered if there was any chance that Izzy's brother's deaths might som..."

Good possible connections


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Maureen wrote: "Oh boy -- here we go. The part I dreaded...

Chapters 10-15

Hard to believe this poor couple went through 3 miscarriages, and all alone with no one to talk to. Stedman doesn't let us get very cl..."



Great questions and wonderings. I wonder if between the mercury exposure and miscarriages caused chemical imbalances.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments How can one fix this mess?


message 17: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "How can one fix this mess?"

I don't think there is any perfect solution to this mess. Someone is going to get hurt in the end. I do not see any completely "happily ever after" to this book. But I am very engrossed now, so I am plowing ahead into part 3.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments I wonder if some sort of arrangement could have been worked out with Lucy between Tom and Izzy and Lucy's biological mother.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Why does the author fill us in about Grace/Lucy ' s father? What is the author trying to accomplish by giving us Franz ' s story?


message 20: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Irene wrote: "What's eating Tom Sherbourne?"
I did not feel until Part 3 that we really knew why Tom went along with Izabel's claim/pretence with Lucy.


message 21: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Jayme(the ghost reader) wrote: "I wonder if some sort of arrangement could have been worked out with Lucy between Tom and Izzy and Lucy's biological mother."

I feel that Tom and Izabel should have gone down an adoption route with children at the orphange especially as Izabel had knowledge of the orphanage.


message 22: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Irene wrote: "How can one fix this mess?"

I agree that this mess cannot be fixed it is so far down a path that it has be to allowed to reach its own conclusion


message 23: by Sue (last edited Feb 10, 2015 08:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Maureen wrote: "Oh boy -- here we go. The part I dreaded...

Chapters 10-15

Hard to believe this poor couple went through 3 miscarriages, and all alone with no one to talk to. Stedman doesn't let us get very cl..."


Whilst I did not dread Part 2, I was curious to know how the story would play out. For me Part 3 was most distressing.


message 24: by Sue (last edited Feb 10, 2015 08:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Irene you make a good point about possible mercury poisoning causing problems with Izabel pregnancies but I also wonder about her early menopause.


Daniale Lynch | 148 comments The tension in this section definitely builds up. I don't think any one thing can point to the problems they are dealing with. Maybe mercury, but also an element of PTSD with both Izzy and Tom. They don't know how to cope and don't have a community. When Izzy claim's Lucy, I was outraged, but I began to develop some sympathy for her. She is so severely damaged by her miscarriages and the stillborn baby, and the harshness of her surroundings seems to keep her wounds open. They are also sort of "outcasts" from traditional society: Izzy with her wildness, Tom with the absence of his family and his war experiences. Because of this, even though they love each other, they have difficulty nurturing their own relationship. So, out of his love and duty for her, Tom gives into his wife's demands to keep the baby. They both have to assume the blame, but in different ways. Tom has to choose between duty to his post, and duty to his wife. Then Lucy creeps into their hearts, and even though he is obviously troubled by this, he can't help loving the little girl.

On a side note, I love the role the lighthouse plays in the story. It's part of Lucy's drawings, a source of comfort, a beacon of hope and safety, and a sign of respectability for Tom.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Daniale good observation . I was also didn't agree with the idea to keep the baby. I was also upset on how they took care of the Franz ' s body. It was very selfish .


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Sue, I wonder if the mercury exposure cause the early manopause. That was a shocker. Mercury exposure causes many symptoms . I was reading on it. Pretty scary .


message 28: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Irene wrote: "Daniale good observation . I was also didn't agree with the idea to keep the baby. I was also upset on how they took care of the Franz ' s body. It was very selfish ."

I wonder if there is anybody who thinks Tom and Izabel keeping the baby and pretending it their own biological child was a good way to go?


message 29: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "I wonder if there is anybody who thinks Tom and Izabel keeping the baby and pretending it their own biological child was a good way to go? "

Nope. It only led to years of heartache all around for many people.


Kirsten Feldman (goodreadscomkirsten_feldman) I said this earlier, in Part I (though I had already finished), and I still think that it is the island itself that is the crux of the matter.

I think of the island as the pivotal third character. Janus impacts most every action, emotion, and moment of the day for these two. Their lives would be different in every way if they lived and worked elsewhere.

I believe that neither of them would have kept the baby if they had lived on land. And further, if the baby had come to the island alone, in the boat, that might have made some difference to the situation. But with the father in the boat it lost something for me, certainly my sympathy, but also a sense of believability. He would jump into a boat and row away? That must have been some strange crowd chasing him... There is no excuse for their keeping the baby and not looking for the mother.


Irene | 4083 comments I read this over a year ago. I have to admit that I could understand Tom and Izzy's choice. The reader has info that they do not have. They are able to make assumptions based on their limited knowledge. They can assume that it would be highly unlikely for a man to be alone with an infant without there being some tragic story about the mother. This is nearly a century ago when most men did not assume primary roles in the child care of infants. So, they can assume that the mother is dead. Further, there is factual knowledge of the deplorable conditions of orphanages. Again, this takes place prior to many modern safeguards for orphans. The welfare state has not been developed. Charitable organizations do not have the resources to care for all the orphans produced by the recent war. And, it can be assumed that charity fatigue has set in making funding streams fairly small. They are isolated which makes it easier to ignore other possibilities. What if we did not know about Lucy's mother? What if the story had given us more side narratives of neglected, hungry and poorly cared for orphan children, more accounts of orphan adolescents farmed off to families who use them as little more than endentured servants. Would we have seen this decision to raise Lucy as an act of saving this child from a horrid fate? I am a law oriented person, so I would struggle with breaking prodacol as Tom does. I think laws are there to protect the majority. But, given the possibilities that Tom and Izzy are toying with, I have sympathy for their decision. I kept thinking, what if their assumptions were correct, what if they had reported the child and she was put into some wretched institution, was abused, what would the reader think of the decision to report the ship wreck when they could have lovingly protected this innocent infant?


message 32: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Irene wrote: "I read this over a year ago. I have to admit that I could understand Tom and Izzy's choice. The reader has info that they do not have. They are able to make assumptions based on their limited kn..."

I think these are good points about the reader having limited information, orphanages and making assumptions and this is certainly the case until we get the back story about Lucy.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments Sue wrote: "Irene wrote: "Daniale good observation . I was also didn't agree with the idea to keep the baby. I was also upset on how they took care of the Franz ' s body. It was very selfish ."

I wonde..."


I was conflicted because it was understandable why Izzy wanted to keep Lucy. However, giving finding Lucy's mother would have been the right thing to do.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments Someone had mentioned that Tom and Izzy could have adopted and I don't know if the orphanage would have given them a baby to adopt based on where they lived. The island is very secluded. Or maybe they the orphanage would have agreed, I don't know.


Irene | 4083 comments I thought there was comments made that their isolation would have preventing the government ever giving them custody of a child. It was viewed as unsuitable to raise a child away from church and civilization.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments I must have missed that. At any rate, it seemed like adoption would have been unlikely as well.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments We are the jury, we heard both sides of the story . What's the verdict ?


Kirsten Feldman (goodreadscomkirsten_feldman) Irene wrote: "We are the jury, we heard both sides of the story . What's the verdict ?"

It's heartrending, but they should have at least inquired for the mother. A mother has to think of her children first, and for that baby, her mother was out there but left unasked.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments I agree, they should have reported the child and looked into adoption . The correct decision would have spared them the pain and anguish they are experiencing .


message 40: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue I personally think adoption would be most likely and easier than it is today, but Isabel was unable to think sensibly because she had recently had a stillbirth and the arrival of Lucy presented a solution to her needs.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments I'm behind on my own schedule. Anyway, Tom can always say Franz last words were, Raise my baby here where it's safe, and bury me on this rock." No one would know.


Daniale Lynch | 148 comments I still think that they should have reported finding the baby and Franz. It would have saved a lot of pain and suffering that lasted for so long. (Though admittedly, it would have made a boring book!) And I can't help but feel like, even during this time period, with Tom's good standing with the military that some sort of adoption could have taken place. I really feel like Izzy was acting out of her own selfishness that is a direct result from her PTSD/Depression. Tom should have reported it, but he's also so broken, that he just did what Izzy wanted. Two dysfunctional but loving adults trying to do what's best for a baby, and it just didn't work out.


Rebecca Ugg I had to give my back to the library today. I was really enjoying learning about the lives of Franz and Septimus. I couldn't even fathom what Izzy might have told Luce about telling the truth. Tom is so frustrating. I get that he thought he was helping Izzy in away but throughout its just torture for him to keep up the act but yet he still does. I also felt a lot for Hannah in this section. Trying to justify her decision to marry her husband was tough and then to have her husband flee for his life with their baby. I loved Franz ultimate love.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Finally finished part 2. Who saw that coming? I knew that rattle was trouble.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments Rebecca are you able to check the book out again? We have to read part 3.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments I agree with you Daniale, but then we wouldn't have a book. Which brings me to my next question. What characteristics makes a good book?


Daniale Lynch | 148 comments Irene wrote: "I agree with you Daniale, but then we wouldn't have a book. Which brings me to my next question. What characteristics makes a good book?"
Believable, complex characters :) I will slog through horrible plots if I can believe in/empathize with the characters.


Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 4852 comments I think plot is important as well. If the book doesn't go anywhere, it isn't worth reading.


Rebecca I wasn't sure about my reading last night in remembering the details of Tom burying Franz. Did he do something to the body that made it so he couldn't be buried where he should have? I wasn't sure about the not a good place to sit either.


Irene  (irene918) | 1016 comments He didn't do anything to the body. I think the grave was shallow. It may not be healthy to be around a decomposing body.


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