Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: 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 and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, 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, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. 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. 

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss. 

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

My thoughts: Beautiful prose and the lighthouse is an analogy for so many things. I wish I could have nailed it down to a specific analogous person/object. Is it safety, danger, a person? I almost grasped it but not quite.

That aside, I underlined many sentences and passages that were poetic and/or caused me to gasp in surprise that I had not noticed something so obvious before. The author is brilliant with analogies of light, lighthouses, and keepers.

Part III nearly tore me in two. Obviously, the book description states the conflict; a child washes up on an island where a lighthouse keeper and his wife are living. Unable to carry a child to term and life they are in a quandary. Doing the right thing according to the law or seeing it as a gift from God and keeping her? Incredibly, the author deftly writes compelling arguments for both sides in such a way that my heart ached for all interested parties. I understood why all of them did what they did.

If there is one analogy I understood, it is that there is no universal right or wrong when a heart is broken and a soul is crushed. The analogy is coupled with the little island of Janus where the lighthouse sits, a hundred miles from civilization. On one side is one ocean. On the other side is another. Both are crushing and ever changing. Both are forces to be reckoned with. Neither can be crossed by one small man and boat. Much like a mother and her child.


*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I loved this of my favorites this year.

I was stunned to know that it was Stedman's first book - it was so lushly descriptive.