The Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman

Light Between Oceans - M L Stedman

Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman

This novel was highly recommended by a number of my friends. I’ve delayed writing about it because, even now, I’m not sure what I think. I am certainly thinking about it, which must be a sign of a well-written novel, but I find the plot disturbing.

Here’s the blurb …

This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant – and the path of the couple’s lives hits an unthinkable crossroads. Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they make that day – as the baby’s real story unfolds …

M L Stedman’s debut is a mesmerising novel of love and loss and unbearable choices.

┬áBeing Western Australian, I enjoyed all of the references to place and I think Ms Stedman creates a wonderful sense of place – Janus Rock, the bush around Partageuse, the workers’ cottages. There are some wonderful characters as well – steadfast Tom feeling guilty for having survived World War 1, the police officer who didn’t enlist and now needs to prove he is as much a man as those that did, and flighty Isabel.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the story, but my sympathies lie with Hannah (the infant’s mother) and I wonder what on earth were they thinking? I don’t think it is ‘a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same’. It was wrong. I do have sympathy for Isabel and Tom, but sometimes life is hard and you need to get on with things. As you can see, I find the story conflicting.

More reviews …

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/the-light-between-oceans-20120414-1x05y.html

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/firsttuesday/s3470207.htm

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