Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans
By M.L. Stedman
Scribner, 2012. 345 pgs. Fiction

The Light Between Oceans, the debut novel of M.L. Steadman, tells of Tom Sherbourne, a young man returning to Australia from the bloody battlefields of World War I. With no ties to family, he seems extremely well suited for his new job on a solitary island manning a lighthouse. His post requires that he survive months without seeing another person, which suits his weary, war-ravaged soul. On a shore leave, he meets and falls in love with Isabel and after a year of exchanging letters they marry and set up house on the island. Isabel manages the solitude, but when she experiences repeated miscarriages her longing for a child drives her to the edge of sanity. While in this desperate state, Isabel comes across a small beached boat with the corpse of a man and a small crying newborn. The series of events that follow cannot fail to break your heart again and again.

The story told is one of the love of a mother, the meaning of family, and the difficulty in distinguishing right from wrong in a world filled with so many shades of gray. The Light Between Oceans is easily among the best books to be published this year and an easy recommendation.


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