Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
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 and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, 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, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. 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.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
M.L. Stedman does an excellent job of setting us in a remote spot. She also draws her characters so well that one finds themselves thinking of them between readings. They and their problems become real...one wants to advise them as to what to do, or warn them of things they shouldn't. This book is engrossing and with its many plot twists and turns. This tale doesn't bog down or become predictable. That being said, this is not a "happy" story. But it is a true to life story. The characters are flawed in ways that we all could possibly be ... M. L. Stedman knows how to render time and place, people and situations with great skill. We will be reading this for one in the Better Than Therapy Book Club in April (on the 24th at 2 p.m.). Part geography lesson, part historical novel, a bit of a mystery and above all a story of love...love of all types this book has been a captivating read. It is so well crafted, and so many viewpoints, it will provide an interesting exploration for any book club.