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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

“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

“M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful novel about isolation and courage in the face of enormous loss. It gets into your heart stealthily, until you stop hoping the characters will make different choices and find you can only watch, transfixed, as every conceivable choice becomes an impossible one. I couldn’t look away from the page and then I couldn’t see it, through tears. It’s a stunning debut.”—Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

“M.L. Stedman, a spectacularly sure storyteller, swept me to a remote island nearly a century ago, where a lighthouse keeper and his wife make a choice that shatters many lives, including their own. This is a novel in which justice for one character means another’s tragic loss, and we care desperately for both. Reading The Light Between Oceans is a total-immersion experience, extraordinarily moving.”—Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Untold Story

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

“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

“This fine, suspenseful debut explores desperation, morality, and loss, and considers the damaging ways in which we store our private sorrows, and the consequences of such terrible secrets.”Martha Stewart Whole Living

“As time passes the harder the decision becomes to undo and the more towering is its impact. This is the story of its terrible consequences. But it is also a description of the extraordinary, sustaining power of a marriage to bind two people together in love, through the most emotionally harrowing circumstances.”—Victoria Moore, The Daily Mail

My Review

A wonderful moving heartfelt story.
The lighthouse has a new occupant a veteran who soon finds himself amongst the quaint beautiful surroundings in need of company and finds love then eventually as the tide passes and the seasons change they have need for children like many couples do. They fear one day this passage of joy and happiness will be swept away from them for very good reasons. In the course of having and raising a child they go though a process of emotions and feelings that go with love, loss, betrayal, regret, shame, and love all over again. The harrowing journey the characters go through in the light that started in the oceans has your in heart in your throat at times and you are guaranteed to have thoughts on love, betrayal and forgiveness remain for some time in your mind. This was a great accomplishment for a debut a love story that deserves all the praise it has received from Goodreads to Oprah’s Magazine.

Excerpts

“There are times when the ocean is not the ocean-not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger; ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of he lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed the most.”

“The oceans never stop. They know no beginning or end. The wind never finishes. Sometimes it disappears, but only to gather momentum from somewhere else, returning to fling itself at the island, to make a point which is lost on Tom. Existence here is on a scale of giants. Time is in the million of years; rocks which from a distance look like dice cast against the shore are boulders hundreds of feet wide, licked round by millennia, tumbled onto their sides so that layers become vertical stripes.”

“It’s like being in a different world, out there, and a different time: nothing changes except seasons. There are dozens of lighthouses all around the coast of Australia: plenty more fellows like me, trying to make ships safe, keeping the light for whoever might need it, even though we’ll mostly never see them or know who they are.”

“Quite the war hero, too. Military Cross and Bar. I’ve read your citations: captured a German machine-gun nest single-handed. Carried four of your men to safety under sniper fire. And the rest.” Sprang let a moment pass.”You must have killed a lot of people in your time.”
Tom remained silent.”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 28 September 2012

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