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

Where to begin with this book. Quite simply, it was lovely. But it The Light Between Oceans is more than just lovely. It is a picture book with no pictures. The words did such a beautiful job of taking you to Janus Rock I feel as thought I’ve been. And for more than one reason.

book review the light between oceans by ML stedman

First, the book’s synopsis:

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.

Beautifully told, this book is a testament to a man’s love and commitment to his wife. And while miscarriage hit close to home for me, it was Tom that did me in. You see, reading Tom was like reading about DH.

Tom is a man who arrived in his marriage a little bit broken. He is redeemed by the love he has for his wife and finds salvation in loving her and honoring the commitment they have made. He will do anything to stop her heart from breaking, especially having been helpless to stop it from happening so many times before. He is a man of uncompromising principles and unwavering loyalty.

While some may have read this and hypothetically understood why Tom & Isabelle did what they did, they did so still knowing it wouldn’t be the choice they would make if it were them. I read it and knew exactly what would happen. I knew Isabelle would want to keep the child, and would see it as a sign. I also knew Tom’s love for her would allow it.

Why?

Not because my moral compass is off. But because in the same situation I would have done the same thing. And DH would have agreed despite knowing better, despite knowing it too would end in heart break, because he can’t so no when his wife smiles.

I cried when it was time to put this book down, the ending was perfect. It resolved enough, but left us with lots to think about that I still find myself going back to Janus Rock in my mind.

I’ve been joining in the great conversation on Goodreads with other book lovers, so if you’re in the mood – join us over there to chat about his beautiful book.

ps. the book is also now a movie – here’s the trailer. Looks ah-mazing!

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