Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman


Tom Sherbourne survives the horrors of World War I, returns to Australia. He is recovering from the experience of war, of having survived and having lost so many comrades. He undertakes to tend a remote lighthouse and welcomes the peace and solitude of his isolation.  He is surprised to find love with a young local girl, Isabel.  They try to start a family but suffer miscarriages and a stillborn baby.  When a rowboat appears with a baby girl, the young couple face a tough decision.  The decision to take in the child and delay reporting satisfies Isabel's longing for a child and a family, but comes back to haunt them. I found Tom Sherbourne to be a deeply sympathetic character and shared his frustration with Isabel.  The Light Between the Oceans is a complex, deeply moving and absorbing read.

M.L. Stedman captures the pace and cadence of the world after World World I from the resentment, hatred, and hostility that remained after the war and how it carried over to isolated communities in England and Australia to the desire to begin anew and eke out a new, more hopeful world.    I was drawn into The Light Between the Oceans and the complicated story of Tom and Isabel and impact of their choices.  It's a novel that stays with you and one that you'll want to share.

ISBN-10: 1451681739 - Hardcover $25
Publisher: Scribner (July 31, 2012), 352 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.