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review 2017-02-17 15:59
"The Light Between Oceans", by M. L. Stedman
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

This is at once an elegantly rendered and emotionally manipulative novel. What a tearjerker this turned out to be and I loved it from the get-go. I am not surprised the novel received positive reviews upon publication and a film adaptation was released later on.

Set in Australia’s west coast during the 1920’s this evocative tale unfolds on a fictitious island of Janus Rock, situated at the confluence of two oceans. The books is written in three parts and narrated in the third person through the eyes of the main characters.

When a dinghy washes up on its shore delivering a dead man and a crying baby the lighthouse keeper and his wife who had miscarried several times pondered the question whether alerting the authorities or passing the girl off as their own…..and the plot slowly unspools….The pace quickens and the drama takes a few engrossing twists and turns when the scene shifts to Port Partageuse and the repercussions are known…...

At the heart of this novel is a compelling human story and a complex moral dilemma. It is written with compassion and expressed in beautiful language. The characters are good people placed in impossible situation. The tactile details and their vulnerable hopefulness have left my stomach in knots. The author’s paints with tack the inner turmoil of her main characters and has captured the depth of a mother’s grief and the lengths to which they will go for their children.

It has been a long time since I felt so completely engaged and torn at the same time. After the emotional anguish the author has put me through I was happy to see Tom vindicated….

This is one harrowing read

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review 2017-01-29 15:01
A Poignant Simplicity of a Fable of Found and Lost
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

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.


It took a while to complete The Light Between Oceans. For one, there is much to read about in this book that drives a very poignant story that definitely guarantee tissue papers to be readied towards the end of the book. Another would be the words written that are simple and yet beautiful that I find almost every single character in this book are well taken-care of and meticulous... but where do I begin?


Let's start with what this is about - Tom Sherbourne returns from a four year war (World War I to be exact) on the Western Front to take a post as a lighthouse on Janus Island. Isolated from the nearest land, Tom's life was a lonely one until he met Isabel Graysmark, a young girl that brings life into him. Married and living on the island, life was simple... until two miscarriages and one stillbirth, Isabel had reached to the edge of depression. It was the arrival of a boat washed up ashore that carried a dead man and a living baby that Isabel thought it is a sign from God. Happiness begins with the Sherbourne family... until a few years later, when on land that Tom and Isabel have finally came across Hannah Roennfeldt, the birth mother of Lucy. There are hard decisions to be made... and one that could change their lives forever.


I love how it was written - simple and yet easy to follow. Every single description is carefully word out and lyrical. As I read, it was one that I felt being drawn into each character and how each and every single character plays a role that affects the decision of others. The description is pretty much short and simple and yet written in ways that given some of these characters meaning, with a simple brief history on each and every one. As to who they are and what they are, I can truly understand how Tom is as a role of a person that is self-pitied and yet sacrifice his life as a gentlemen. Isabel was written with changes from someone that never experience lost until someone that is selfish and possessive words well on the consequences taken by her. What was more is the sense of lost and giving up works deeply of its own that I became cried towards the end in the epilogue (the last chapter that is). Although I do felt there should not be any reason writing that last chapter, it does felt like it ended an extra more just for the tears.


The supporting characters were given attention and memorable. What I like about that is how each were given a short background and relation to each other in Partageuce, a small town where everyone knows what everyone is doing, easy and simple to relate. Of course, the dialogue which I enjoy most in 1920s how older and God is the utmost importance. Every detail is written well.


I can say that M.L. Stedman is a romantic that proven herself as a debut author in 2012 that won some awards. Although she has yet written any other books besides this one, I do hope she will as The Light Between Oceans is truly a book that should be read by understanding the culture of its own of that particular decade, which I truly enjoy. And to find some thing this good, its almost a classic of its own, which I can say it deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star.

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text 2016-04-02 01:45
March Reading Roundup
How To Be A Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life - Ruth Goodman
Faithful Traitor: The Story of Margaret Pole - Samantha Wilcoxson
The Jesuit Letter - William Dean Hamilton
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman
The Pilgrimage of Grace & Exeter Conspiracy (Tudor Time Insights (Politics & Economics) Book 3) - Tudor Times
A Trick of the Light - Louise Penny
The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny
The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe

Well, this doesn't look like a bad month of reading unless you know that I DNF'd one of these and one of them is my own book . . . 


Audio books saved my reading goal this month:

A Burnable Book

The Light Between Oceans

A Trick of the Light

The Brutal Telling

The Bonfire of the Vanities


Without these books taking me through housework, endless taxiing of children, and home improvement projects, I would be way behind. Unfortunately, A Burnable Book was the only one that was really good . . . and that was a reread. The Bonfire of the Vanities I abandoned rather quickly.


How to be a Tudor was the best read of the month. It is unique, insightful, and a priceless resource for anyone who wants to really understand lifestyles and daily life in the 16th century.


I didn't feel that my own book was eligible for the best read of the month award, but I am happy to be through the editing of Faithful Traitor, at least until I hear back from my wonderful beta readers.


I'm actually almost through a third Armand Gamache book for the month, but I'm not enjoying it. I will leave saying more for my eventual review, but it may be time for me to give this series a break.


Now to plan all the glorious reading that I will get to do in April with starting research for a new book and two vacations this month. Bibliophile heaven!

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review 2016-03-28 15:56
The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

This book was a Goodreads Choice award winner for 2012, so it was the sort of fluff that tends to be a money maker. The author constantly yanks at your emotions, so that you don't have much time to sit back and consider how implausible the entire thing really is.


This is the story of a man who does the right thing. All the time. Unless his wife wants him to do something else.


It is the story of a woman who so desperately wants a baby that you almost feel sorry for her. Except that she is selfish and obsessive and just downright icky.


It is the story of another woman who is just as obsessive but evokes more sympathy despite her inability to do life when it doesn't go her way.


This is a book that contains some odd tense changes that made me wrinkle my forehead. I don't like wrinkles.


There is lots of tragedy in this book, as one might expect for a story taking place directly after WWI. The references to the war were the parts of the story that I liked the most. Since it takes place in Australia, I was glad to have done the WWI in 100 Stories class that focused on the war for Australians. Most of the tragedies in this novel, however, are the creation of the characters themselves and could have been avoided if Isabel wasn't a selfish, controlling weirdo and Tom wasn't a noble pushover.


As an audiobook, this was an alright listen, though I will confess to falling asleep to it more than once. 

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review 2016-03-11 21:07
The Light Between Oceans
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

Another exceptional debut novel, this time from M. L. Stedman.  An absolutely satisfying read for me as it captured my attention from beginning and held me until the end.


This story begins with the character of Tom Sherbourne who after the first World War takes a job on Janus Rock, Australia as a lighthouse keeper.  He adapts easily to a life of solitude with his only human contact being every three months with deliveries from the mainland.  Once he is granted his vacation leave after almost 2 years he catches the eye of Isabel Graysmark and they marry. While they are happy in marriage they also have their heartbreak as Isabel suffers two miscarriages and finally a stillbirth. One day they hear a baby crying to discover a rowboat washed ashore containing a dead man and a baby.   Believing that this is a miracle bestowed just for them Isabel immediately takes to the baby as if it were her own.  At first Tom is relieved to finally see his wife so happy but eventually integrity prevails his heart and he feels compelled to do the right thing.  With a moral dilemma to weigh, Tom fears his marriage will be the consequence.


Not only was this book so beautifully written that it completely gripped my heart, it was also filled with Australian history and culture which I found most interesting.  Highly recommended for those who appreciate an emotional read. 




The movie is "coming soon" so you have time to read the book!  It stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander who just won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  I've attached the link for the movie trailer.




How I acquired this book:  Purchased at Costco

Shelf life:  Approximately 2 years

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