Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman


This book came to me via the book group I have been a member of since 2005.  Book groups are wonderful ways of being introduced to readers you may not have discovered otherwise.  I have lots to say about book groups and the joy that mine brings me but will save that for  a future post.  For now let me tell you a little about my most recent read ‘The Light Between Oceans’ by M.L. Stedman.

The story is set on Janus, an island off the western coast of Australia in the 1930’s.  It is home to the only two inhabitants of the island; War veteran Tom Sherbourne, the light house keeper and his new wife Isabel.  Unexpectedly one day a boat washes up onto the shore.  Inside the boat are a dead man and a crying baby.  Tom and Isabel are faced with a decision that will change the course of all their lives forever.  What follows is a story of happiness and heartbreak as vivid as the dazzling light around which it takes place.

There is much evidence of Stedman’s clever research in the detail of the workings of the light house and the realities of living in wild isolation. I loved this aspect of the novel as much as I Ioved the descriptions of the broiling seas and the howling winds.

This is the authors first novel, but she is clearly a natural story teller. This was a Richard and Judy Summer 2013 Book club choice and in this short interview she describes the organic way in which this story grew and developed.

This is a novel to pick up when you have time to read as I suspect that once drawn into it you won’t want to put it down. You may also want to have a few tissues to hand as I cannot guarantee that there won’t be tears.

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