Author M.L. Stedman
Narrator: Noah Taylor
Publisher Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date July 31st 2012
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.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman has a very interesting premise, a couple who run a lighthouse find a baby and raise it as their own. I was intrigued and looked forward to reading of the consequences this act would invoke.
I enjoyed the sections of the book that described Tom and Isabel’s courtship. It was sweet and gave a wonderful look at the characters at their best. In hindsight, I wonder if this was to soften the blow of the couple’s self-indulgence later on. These long ago memories were a patronus to cover the unspeakable.
Lucy, the baby that Tom and Isabel discover and decide not to return because they deserve a child brings a whole new look at the saying “finder’s keeper’s”. I will admit that the delusion they built for themselves was lovely, but in reality, it was Neverland and waited for the moment when it would fall apart.
When the day did occur, when Lucy was discovered and Tom and Isabel were charged with kidnapping I was relieved. I wasn’t sure if I could take much more of Isabel’s selfishness and Tom throwing good judgement to the wind to follow his wife blindly.
My biggest problem with The Light Between Oceans was that I felt like M.L. Stedman was trying to make the reader sympathetic to Tom and Isabel. This only perturbed me more and glared at the liars I knew they were. While I am not a parent, I cannot imagine this happening and raising a child as your own does not change the facts.
I preferred the part of the book that focused on Hannah, Lucy’s mother. I enjoyed reading of how this situation came to be and the repercussions it caused on land. It had more dimention and moved me more than Isabel’s miscarriages every could.
Noah Taylor, the books narrator was fantastic and if nothing else I’m glad to discover a new storyteller. Sadly, I could not say this for The Light Between Oceans. The unlikability of the characters and their unjustifable actions was too much to handle and was in despreate need of S.O.S.