‘The Light Between Oceans’ is M.L. Stedman’s debut novel. It is a moving story about people making terrible decisions with the best of intentions, and the repercussions of those decisions. The story is set in Western Australia in the 1920s.
Tom Sherbourne fought on the Western Front during WWI. He saw many friends killed but somehow managed to cheat death. The war affected him terribly and he wanted a quiet place to get on with his life, so he became a lighthouse keeper.
On the way to his first major post at Janus Rock, 100 kilometres from the West Australian coast, Tom met Isabel Graysmark. They were soon married and Isabel joined Tom on Janus Rock where the only contact with civilisation was the delivery of supplies every 3 months.
They loved their life together and hoped to start a family but after two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Isabel was extremely depressed. Then a boat washed up on shore containing a dead man and a crying baby. Against Tom’s better judgement, Isabel convinced him that the mother must be dead, so they kept the baby and named her Lucy.
Years later, on a rare shore leave, they found out how the man and the baby came to be in the boat.
The guilt of what they had done was tearing Tom apart, but how could he give Isabel’s baby away and part baby Lucy from the only parents she had ever known.
This is a heartbreaking story of how some wrongs can never be set right.
The story was excellently written although it was a bit slow in some parts. You could feel the desolation of Janus Rock and the small town mindedness of Partageuse. But, I was struck most of all be the hero of the story Tom Sherbourne who always set out to do the right thing, sacrificing himself for others. For Isabel I alternated between feeling for her grief and being disgusted by her selfishness.
This was an amazing first novel and I look forward to reading more from M.L. Stedman.
Book Published 2012