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The Light Between Oceans: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

M.L. Stedman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8,474 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $5.01 (31%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

The years-long New York Times bestseller soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg’s Dreamworks that is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Tom Sherbourne is a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a tiny island a half-day's boat journey from the coast of Western Australia. When a baby washes up in a rowboat, he and his young wife, Isabel, decide to raise the child as their own. The baby seems like a gift from God, and the couple's reasoning for keeping her seduces the reader into entering the waters of treacherous morality even as Tom--whose moral code withstood the horrors of World War I--begins to waver. M. L. Stedman's vivid characters and gorgeous descriptions of the solitude of Janus Rock and the unpredictable Australian frontier create a perfect backdrop for this tale of longing, loss, and the overwhelming love for a child. --Malissa Kent

Review

"Irresistible...seductive...a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page."—Sara Nelson, O, the Oprah magazine

“An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.”—Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

“Haunting...Stedman draws the reader into her emotionally complex story right from the beginning, with lush descriptions of this savage and beautiful landscape, and vivid characters with whom we can readily empathize. Hers is a stunning and memorable debut.”Booklist, starred review

“[Stedman sets] the stage beautifully to allow for a heart-wrenching moral dilemma to play out... Most impressive is the subtle yet profound maturation of Isabel and Tom as characters.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The miraculous arrival of a child in the life of a barren couple delivers profound love but also the seeds of destruction. Moral dilemmas don’t come more exquisite than the one around which Australian novelist Stedman constructs her debut.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This heartbreaking debut from M L Stedman is a gem of a book that you'll have trouble putting down”Good Housekeeping

“Lyrical…Stedman’s debut signals a career certain to deliver future treasures.” (People)

“A beautifully delineated tale of love and loss, right and wrong, and what we will do for the happiness of those most dear.” (Tova Beiser The Boston Globe)

“Elegantly rendered…heart-wrenching…the relationship between Tom and Isabel, in particular, is beautifully drawn.” (Elysa Gardner USA Today)

Told with the authoritative simplicity of a fable…Stedman’s intricate descriptions of the craggy Australian coastline and her easy mastery of an old-time provincial vernacular are engrossing. As the couple at the lighthouse are drawn into and increasingly tragic set of consequences, these remote, strange lives are rendered immediate and familiar.” (The New Yorker)

Product Details

  • File Size: 2919 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451681755
  • Publisher: Scribner (July 31, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0064CL1T2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
766 of 804 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"The Light Between Oceans" is not an easy book to review....the story is unique and one wouldn't want to give away any part of the plot line. M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia, her discriptions of the coast of Australia are beautifully rendered. The beginning of the book takes place on an island off of the coast of mainland Australia. Stedman does an excellent job of setting us in a remote spot. She also draws her characters so well that one finds themselves thinking of them between readings. They and their problems become real...one wants to advise them as to what to do, or warn them of things they shouldn't. This book is engrossing and with it's many plot twists and turns it is always entertaining...doesn't bog down or become predictable. Some of the passages are so profound that I found myself rereading them..... As stated by other reviewers, this is not a "happy" story. But it is a true to life story. The characters are flawed in ways that we all could possibly be .....M. L. Stedman...knows how to render time and place, people and situations with great skill. This is a first novel and I would not hesitate to read the next by this author....simply because I thought this was an excellent effort....we will be reading this for one of my reading groups. I have also recommended it to many of my fellow readers already. I know they will not be disappointed.
Part geography lesson, part historical novel, a bit of a mystery and above all a story of love...love of all types this book has been a joy to read. Greatful for the chance to do so. I am a fan. Read this story.....it is so well crafted, it will not disappoint.
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193 of 209 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First Line: On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff's edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross.

Tom Sherbourne has done something that hundreds of thousands of other young men didn't: survive four years on the Western Front. When this World War I veteran returns home to Australia, all he wants to do is to forget, to find a job where he can be of use, and to be left to himself. He takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly a half day's journey from the coast of Western Australia. It is a life of isolation. The supply boat comes four times a year, and shore leave might be granted every other year at best.

To this life, Tom brings a young, vivacious, and loving wife, but years pass, and after two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom sees that the wife he loves more than life itself is wasting away before his eyes. One morning while tending those tiny graves, Isabel hears a baby's cry on the wind. It is not her imagination. A boat has washed ashore. Aboard are a dead man and a tiny living baby girl.

No one has taken better care of the Janus Rock Lighthouse than Tom Sherbourne. Everything gleams; every bit of machinery runs smoothly; and his records are meticulous. Tom is an intensely moral man, and he wants to report the man and infant immediately, but Isabel has taken the baby and clings to her like a drowning woman to a life raft. Against his better judgment, the incident is not reported, and Tom and Isabel claim the baby as their own and name her Lucy. For Isabel, life is idyllic for two years. Then leave is granted, and the family of three return to shore where they are reminded that there are other people in the world, and their decision has ruined the life of one of them.
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212 of 240 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Tale of Love Gone Wrong July 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tom Sherbourne has miraculously survived World War I and finds himself in a small town in western Australia seeking work as a lighthouse keeper. A winner of medals of honor, he is no stranger to violence and killing. As he gets his first temporary job, he also meets Isabel, who becomes the love of his life. They begin a romance, marry and move to the isolated lighthouse, Janus, where they hope to start a family.

Sadly, Isabel is unable to bear children. She has two miscarriages and one stillbirth. It is breaking her apart. Two weeks after her stillbirth, a canoe washes ashore at Janus and in it is a dead man and a live baby girl. Tom wants to report the dead man and return the baby but Isabel begs him to keep the child. He gives in to her and this starts a cycle of misery for everyone. They bury the man and keep the baby.

Who is this baby? Does she have a grieving family on the mainland? Who is the dead man and what are the circumstances of his death? What will happen to Isabel and Tom for breaking the law? All of these things are not really examined fully by them as both Tom and Isabel fall completely in love with this child they name Lucy. All that comes with Lucy to identify her is a beautiful silver rattle. There is no other identification.

As the book progresses, the above questions get resolved and a poignant, tragic and miserable future ensues. This is an interesting novel but it felt repetitive at times and I felt like I could predict what was coming. It makes for good reading and I look forward to the author's future works.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear reader, I wept. August 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover
M.L. Stedman's book moved me to tears, a feat few authors have achieved. It is beautifully written--and yet fast paced enough so that I didn't want to put it down. I found myself looking forward to returning to it throughout the day.

This is a good old-fashioned novel: plot driven with plenty of twists, well-drawn characters, poetic descriptions and good use of symbolism. Although I have never visited Western Australia, I could envision the places and people depicted in the book.

The Light Between Oceans as staying power--I continue to dwell on it despite the fact that I finished it months ago. It entertains and sustains.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story.
Well written. Good story.
Published 11 hours ago by Moonlight
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read!
Kept my interest from the first page. The author Vividly paints beautiful pictures of the country, the sea, and the characters. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Sandra Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Awful
Published 20 hours ago by Sandra Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
My book club chose this to read. I fell in love with it the first chapter in. Pick it, you won't be sorry. Glad I did.
Published 21 hours ago by Cathie
5.0 out of 5 stars This was so well written and covered every emotion possible ...
This was so well written and covered every emotion possible. Not what I was expecting at all. Be prepared to cry your eyes out!!
Published 22 hours ago by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read that stays in your heart after you close ...
Compelling questions arise as the story progresses... what would I do in that situation? A great read that stays in your heart after you close the cover.
Published 23 hours ago by Clare W Patton
4.0 out of 5 stars Super sad ... keep tissues handy
A very heavy read. Who is right who is wrong never easy to tell but book is worth a read if you can handle emotional overload over a baby. Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Arun
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the book. Could not put it down until I was done.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars deep and lovely
A great read, and it got me a little emotional too. Definitely worth checking out, even for a summer beach read.
Published 1 day ago by B Shepard
2.0 out of 5 stars ... pulled me in at first but I really didn't like how it was played...
I found this book very depressing--it pulled me in at first but I really didn't like how it was played out at all.
Published 1 day ago by Stewart T. Carnes
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If you were Blue....
Actually his mother did make him tell. I think she was able to manipulate and intimidate him because he seemed to be immature. I'm not sure he had the ability to accurately predict the outcome of his actions. I thought his mother came across as pure evil.
Jan 3, 2015 by R. Burnham |  See all 2 posts
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