Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

     The Light Between Oceans is about a man, Tom, who served in World War I and returns to Australia broken by the horrors of war. He feels guilt because he is alive while so many others aren't, and remorse for the things he had to do to survive the battlefield. He gets a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, off the western coast, and meets a young woman who becomes his bride while on shore leave.
     Unfortunately, his wife Isabel, suffers a series of miscarriages that casts a dark shadow over their lives. It's on the heels of her third lost pregnancy that a boat washes ashore. There is a live baby and a dead man aboard. Out of desperation and grief, Isabel convinces Tom that they should keep the baby, a "gift from God." The rest of the story follows their lives and how their secret unfolds, casting it's net over friends, family, and strangers alike.
     This is a debut novel and it's very well done. I enjoyed descriptions of life on the lighthouse. Steadman deftly conveys the complications and contradictions of the human heart and leaves the reader wondering what they would have done in Isabel or Tom's place. I'll need to sit a while with this one, because there was a lot of meaning woven into each character's history and backstory.
     Overall, I'd recommend this one. It's an interesting treatise on lost people and how we can be found by others, how we can start anew. Also, if you don't feel up to reading but the story sounds interesting, just wait a bit. It's in production at Dreamworks Studio, starring Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz, to drop a few names...ahem.

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