Book of the month: The Light Between Oceans (M. L. Stedman)
The first book for Blogger Book Club is The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman). This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and I was so pleased when it was chosen this month.
Written in 2012, The Light Between Oceans is a historical fiction novel. It is set in the years following the First World War, and tells the story of Tom and Isabel.
Tom fought in the War, and he returns home to Australia, physically unharmed, but suffering from nightmares survivor’s guilt. He decides to become a lighthouse keeper, and is posted to Janus Rock, a small, isolated island off the coast of Australia. Before he leaves for the island, he meets Isabel, a young woman whose sweetness and innocence catches his eye. The two correspond via letter while he is on Janus Rock, and spend his periods of leave together on the mainland. The two marry, and she goes with him back to the lighthouse and Janus Rock.
Trigger warning: Stillbirth and miscarriage. Isabel goes through two miscarriages and a stillbirth, and she finds herself angry, distraught and struggling on the island. Then, one night, she hears the cry of a baby. A boat has washed up on shore, a dead man and a young baby.
Tom and Isabel then make a decision about the baby and what they should do, and their decision changes everything.
This book is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is beautifully written and it deals with a lot of difficult issues extremely sensitively. I found the characters very likeable and relatable and I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing their development throughout, particularly Isabel, who grew up a lot during the novel. I got very emotional during the story, and spent a lot of it wanting to go and give Dougie a big cuddle!
The story deals a lot with right and wrong, and how consequences have a ripple affect. I went back and forth on my personal opinion on what should have happened and what the ending should have been, and I think it is a testament to the book and the writing that it was not a clear-cut answer. The book spans several years and moves quite quickly, but I liked this, it didn’t ramble and told you all you needed to know.
I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. It does touch on the war, but it is not a war novel. It is a heartbreaking, moving story, and although it isn’t a particularly easy read, it is so worth it.
Have you read The Light Between Oceans? Does it sound like a book you would like?