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.