Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: "The Light Between Oceans"

"The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman
First published in 2012
343 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

Janus Rock is a small, desolate island off the coast of Australia, uninhabited except for the lighthouse operator, Tom, and his wife Isabel. The only contact they have with other humans comes with the supply boat every three months, and the shore leave Tom is granted every few years. But Tom and Isabel are young, happy and in love on the lonely island at the confluence of two oceans.

Except they're not entirely happy. Tom, a decorated WWI soldier, is haunted by the horrors he witnessed and the guilt that comes with surviving what so many of his comrades did not. And Isabel wants more than anything in the world to be a mother, but instead she's sufferred through three miscarriages on Janus Rock.

Shortly after Isabel's third and most heart-wrenching miscarriage, a dinghy lands on the beach of Janus Rock carrying a dead man and a crying infant. Isabel begs Tom to keep the miracle baby, to not report the mysterious boat, and Tom reluctantly concedes to his wife's wishes. Baby Lucy thrives on Janus Rock, under the watchful eye of her doting Mamma and Dadda, and quickly grows into a cheerful toddler. But Tom and Isabel's actions have consequences they cannot predict, and in time their happy idyll on Janus Rock will falter.

"The Light Between Oceans," M.L. Stedman's debut novel, is about the decisions we make and how we deal with the effects of our choices. It's about the meaning of family and parenthood, love and marriage, morality and guilt. Stedman's post-WWI story is well-written with some quotable quotes and, though not at all cheesy or overly sentimental, its themes that may inspire readers to do some introspection.

I'll end with my favorite quote from the Stedman's work, which embodies the novel and which I sure wish I could take as my personal mantra:

"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No, we always have a choice. All of us."

1 comment:

  1. I had this book on hold once, but didn't get to read it. I will have to re- check it out again. Sounds like a good read.


Thanks for stopping by! Comments make my day, and I read and appreciate every single one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...