Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Julie's Review: The Light Between Oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman
Series: None
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 354
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Life is not black and white but different shades of gray which this novel so beautifully demonstrates
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Review: Light Between Oceans is a rare novel that slowly and meticulously unwinds it's story and secrets. This doesn't mean that it isn't a page turner because it is but it's a character study. Even though you know that Tom is hiding something about his past, you already can tell he's trustworthy and honest. He's also a man who lives by rules, for him there is no black and white.

His life is turned upside down when he is set to takeover the Janus Rock Lighthouse and happens to meet the young and vibrant Isabel Graysmark. It isn't too long before they are married and expecting their first child. With love comes much heartache as Isabel has miscarriages and a stillbirth, which puts a wedge between her and Tom. Once baby "Lucy" arrives, Isabel puts all her focus on caring and nurturing her. Every time Tom brings up doing the right thing and letting the mainland know that a boat with a deceased man and a baby came to the island, Isabel talks him out of it. So they raise Lucy as their own on Janus Rock.

Unfortunately you can't control how life moves forward or in this case unravels. Of course, as Isabel suffers from her miscarriages and her stillborn, your heart breaks for her. Although as the novel moves on, you start to wonder about Isabel's state of mind. Tom tries to be the voice of reason and compassion but Isabel refuses to listen to him. Tom has always wrestled with this situation in his conscious and wonders what kind of man it makes him to be raising someone else's child. He loves Isabel but this lie is taking a toll on his mind.

Light Between Oceans is an emotional novel. It is a novel that makes it hard to determine right from wrong but instead shows how life is full of shades of gray. Your heart breaks for all the families involved in how the story unfolds. What wasn't lost on me was the affect on Lucy both short-term and long-term but I think that it was lost on those who were to be looking out for her.

This novel touches on how frail the thread that holds our lives together really is and how hard it is to maintain the right touch on that thread. How our lives are all intersected and in ways we can't imagine.

If you are interested in a novel that will make you think and cause you to pause, then Light Between Oceans is one you should pick up. Beware, it will make you cry.



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