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This was a great book. I had just finished a REALLY great book right before picking this one up, so I found it slightly slow to start. But I soon got into it within the first few chapters. The writing style is very sweet and simple, I felt, and the descriptions let you really feel like you are there. The author does a fabulous job of getting the reader involved with the characters and feeling what they feel.

As a trigger warning, I highly suggest that any woman who has had difficult miscarriages and/or has had trouble conceiving think twice before reading this book. I can imagine that this would be an extremely emotional read for someone like that. Reader beware. It is sobering enough for someone who has never gone through that type of pain.

It’s actually a pretty realistic story, and gives the feeling that it could have really happened somewhere, at some time in the past. The neat thing about the ending is that it had a LOT of possibilities. The author did a good job of not letting you know what was up her sleeve for the end, and I found the last couple chapters somewhat anxiety-causing. Haha. At one point I think I did actually flip to the back (which I have a pretty strict rule for myself that I do NOT usually allow myself to do that) because I wanted to find out one particular detail that was worrying me.

Anyway...overall a great read. A sobering read. A lifelike story. Kudos to the author—nice job.
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on September 11, 2016
I expected such a different ending because of the reviews I read on Amazon. I've never posted a review, but I felt a need to after reading those reviews. If you're looking for a feel-good Nicholas Spark book, this won't be it. Don't give a book a poor review because it isn't. A book being a sad book doesn't make it a bad book. Did I cry my eyes out at the end? Yep. I was on vacation on a beautiful beach, and I sobbed like a baby. I think that's a sign of a great writer. The main characters are flawed people who make some bad decisions, but they also make some good decisions. That's life. Who isn't flawed? Who doesn't made good and bad decisions? Some are just more flawed than others. Real life doesn't always end with everyone getting what they want and in this book that's how it goes.I truly thought the writing was wonderful and can't wait for another book by the writer. I highly recommend this if you aren't into fluff pieces.
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on January 23, 2017
The storyline is simple. Married couple, isolated, working an important Lighthouse, trying to have, but failing to have, children. A boat washes up in which there is a dead man and a living breathing three month old baby. Despite the unlikely scenario, what follows gave me reason to explore my own logic. What would l have done, felt, experienced, decided under a myriad of events that are both cause, and effect of circumstances. The reading journey is so worth it. The leftover taste in your memory will last a lifetime. The tears of both joy and despair will sit either side of you - to debate, to fight and argue forever. For this is a timeless story that leaves both scar and mark. Read it.
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on February 25, 2016
M.L. Stedman has written a wonderful love story. It's a love story that is complex, multi-layered, and played out by richly developed characters that are believable and realistic. The novel is satisfying in every dimension. It has a great and intriguing plot that catches the reader from the very first chapter and holds one's interest and attention to the very final page. The characters are like people we all know and can relate to. The writing style is personal and mesmerizing. The reader can see into the thoughts and personality of each character. Hardly a word is wasted, and the chapters and page breaks are frequent and appropriate.

I loved every aspect of this book. In fact, it is most likely the best book I have read in several years.

A movie based upon this book is about to be released this spring (2016), and if it is even 50% as good as the book, this will be a movie worthy of Academy Award nominations. If it does not win best picture, then the director or screenplay writer thoroughly botched the production. This story is sure to please on the big screen, and I predict will be every bit as good as The Notebook, or any other love-themed movie.

If you read any book this year, make it this one. You cannot go wrong. You'll thank me for recommending it to you!

5 people found this helpful
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on April 14, 2016
This book took a little time to get into but I found it quite haunting in the end. It makes you ask yourself the internal question about how you feel about telling the truth. Do you keep a secret and live with the internal demons or do you clear your conscience to make yourself feel better but hurt everyone around you. I haven't read a book before that explored this particular subject but I thought it was well written and an interesting read.
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on August 10, 2016
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman is not a book for light-weight readers. It is important to know going into this book that it is deep and incredibly heart-wrenching. It deals with loss--extreme loss--and not only the feelings that come from experiencing such incredible loss, but the actions such losses lead to that never would have occurred without the deep pain and soul-wrenching sorrow experienced.

I saw that THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is being made into a movie--or has already been made into a movie. It apparently will be released on September 2 this year. [...] I bought the book online; it was here two days later. I read it in 3 days. I would have finished it on the 2nd day, but we had a birthday party to go to.

I don't know how Stedman got the idea for this book, the research required, or anything beyond the fact that she was born and raised in Australia (the setting for the novel), she now lives in London, and that THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is her first book. I normally try to find out as much as I can about the authors of the books I read, but Stedman remains a mystery that I would love to solve. I will continue to research her until I know more.

I want to know how much loss she herself has experienced. I want to know what research she had to do to write this novel. I want to know how she got the idea for this story. I want to know her writing process--her writing journey. I want to know how hard she had to think to come up with her amazing poetic language throughout the novel--language that speaks volumes that mere words can't convey.

This is a beautifully written book, but very difficult to read--as one who has experienced child loss similar to that of Isabel. My heart was wrenched out of my chest with the turning of each page, but I was powerless to stop reading. If you choose to read it, go in with your eyes wide open, knowing that the story is gut-wrenching.

*As kind of a side-note, I couldn't help thinking of THE MEMORY-KEEPERS DAUGHTER as I read THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS. Both dads make decisions that impact not only the futures of their families, but the futures of others. Both dads are tortured for many years by that one moment of decision. Both stories in as happy an ending as is possible with such stories--with a reminder that no matter how difficult life gets--no matter what life throws at us--life does go on and we can only choose what we're going to do with our lives each moment. One major difference between the books that makes THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS definitely the better book of the two is that in THE MEMORY-KEEPERS DAUGHTER, the author always told me what to think and explained certain parts of the story as if I was unable to read between the lines. For example, one scene I remember specifically is when the dad goes to a bridge and stands on the edge with his toes sticking out over the edge in the pouring rain. It's a powerful scene, of course, demonstrating the difficulty of the dad as he struggles with the decision he made all those years ago. What ruins the scene, though, is that the author then takes two pages to explain to the reader how the dad was on the bridge because he was considering suicide and, just in case we had trouble figuring out why, she reminds us of the dad's horrific decision all those years ago. As a reader, I love minimalism. I love being allowed to figure out what's going on inside a character from inference rather than being blatantly told by the author, "Hey, idiot reader! Just in case you didn't understand, here's what you were supposed to GET from that scene you just read!"
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on January 25, 2017
I said I found this book to be "surprisingly good" because I was skeptical coming into it. As a 30-something male without children reading an over 300-page story like this, I was worried I might get bored. Yet, I never did (it's a little slow to start but not painfully so). I think the author has a great way with words. Unlike "All The Light We Cannot See", the descriptions and adjectives feel relevant, not wordy. That kept me interested even during the potentially "slower" parts of the book.

The characters were realistic and put into situations where you weren't sure what they'd do. I think that's what made this book enjoyable - it put realistic characters into tough spots and made you want to see how they'd react since there are a few different reactions you could understand. It's not the best book I ever read but I think most people would enjoy it. I did.
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on January 1, 2018
I had looked forward to reading this book for so long. The synopsis seemed like a great story. Little did I know how much this would affect me.

The Light Between Oceans tells the tale of a war hero and a headmaster’s daughter who fall in love and move to an island so he can be a lightkeeper. Tom, the lightkeeper, is quiet and subdued. He doesn’t shed much light on his past and we only know bits and pieces. Isabel, a young feisty girl, falls for Tom hard and burrows her way into his life. They are the perfect team and suited for each other well. But there’s only one problem. They can’t have children, the one thing that Isabel wants most in life.

After the loss of their third child, Isabel is distraught and deep in mourning. But a dinghy floats onto the shores of their island carrying a deceased man and a young baby. Immediately Isabel takes to the little one, who they call Lucy. She convinces her husband to keep the child, justifying it by God giving them a child to replace the one they’d just lost. But what happens when they find out the baby has a mother who is alive, and living not far from them?

This story offers so much. As a mother of three beautiful children, I can’t imagine one of them disappearing and not knowing what became of them. On the other hand, I can’t imagine never having them in my life and wanting so desperately to have children of my own. The Light Between Oceans is a deep reflection on two mothers’ love for the same child, although different to each one. M.L. Stedman has a wonderful writing style; both straightforward and poetic. While some parts of the book seemed to drag, overall this story kept my interest and had me in tears by the end.
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on September 30, 2017
The Light Between Oceans tells the story about an Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife who have their world turned upside one day when a boat containing a body and a baby wash up on their island.

Tom and Izzy are newlyweds, setting up their life on a remote island called Janis, off the coast of Australia in the 1920s.

Life is tough but fulfilling. The island only has 2 trees, a handful of animals and a small vegetable garden but it is home for them, and M.L Steadman does an excellent job of portraying the island and the conditions that Tom and Izzy are living in.

The book's central theme really stems from the decisions that are made when that strange boat washes up on the island one day. What would you do in that situation?

The impact those decisions have on Tom and Izzy are powerfully explored by Stedman and the story is very emotive throughout.

Stedman spends a lot of time explaining each character's motivation so by the mid section of the book I kept changing my mind on who was 'right' and which character was in the wrong. These murky lines between right and wrong made the book seem very realistic.

The central storyline of this book was very powerful and gripping, I really enjoyed it.
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on June 5, 2016
This book was not what I was expecting at all. But that's not a bad thing, just not the direction I expected the book to go in, although I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting. The book was about a man, Tom, who takes a job as a light keeper on a remote island. It is just him and his wife Isabelle on the island, and the sad memories of the babies she’s lost. He is a war veteran so he enjoys the solitude of the island. But Isabelle yearns for her family as she grieves. Then a boat washes up on the island with a crying baby and a dead father. Isabelle feels that their prayers have been answered, her unable to give her husband a baby and a baby without a family. Tom struggles with the decision to keep the baby, but ultimately decides to do so for the sake of his wife. As time goes on, one of the two struggles with their decision to keep the baby and makes a life changing decision.

The book was definitely a page turner, there were times I had to have some serious self discipline and not read ahead to find out what happened. Sometimes it seemed that it was because parts were a little slow, but usually because I was curious to know what was going to happen and just wanted to get to the answers. The descriptions of the island were beautiful, you felt like you were really there. But there still felt like there was something that didn’t quite wow me about the book. It was a beautiful and interesting read and having finished the book a month before this review, it still sits in my mind as a pleasant enjoyable read.
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