Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

Released in 2012, we were recently sent a copy of The Light Between Oceans by M. L Stedman in celebration of its paperback release in April. Already receiving a lot of much-deserved buzz, we had nothing but great things to say about it.

From the very first chapter, I knew I would love this book.

The Light Between Oceans is a stunning debut novel by M.L. Stedman. The entire novel and story unravels beautifully with nary a stutter or stumble. 

Tom Sherbourne, a WWI vet is struggling to understand why his life was spared when all his friends have died in the war. Wanting to lead a quiet, lonely life with only his thoughts, he decides to take a post at an out of the way lighthouse. Upon arriving in Point Partageuse he meets and falls in love with Isabel. Someone so unlike himself, full of life, hopes, dreams and laughter, he was unable to resist her pull.

Isabel and Tom’s life on Janus Rock is quiet but steady. Tragically, Isabel is unable to bring a baby to term. Fate intervenes and one day a row boat washes onto their shore with a dead man and a live baby. In one decision, their lives are irrevocably changed.

I pretty much read this in two days and didn’t want it to ever end. It’s so well written that I felt Tom’s turmoil over their decision and Isabel’s hurt and confusion when she thought Tom had betrayed their family. 

The Light Between Oceans just might be the best book you never read in 2012. And with the release of the paperback novel soon, you should pick this gem up immediately

This brilliant debut tells the heartbreaking story of Isabelle and Tom Sherbourne and how one mistake in a desperate time changes their lives and the lives of many in the sleepy ocean side town of Partageuse.

Beautifully written, Stedman builds an emotional and morally sensitive novel that begs the reader to put themselves in the shoes of our isolated lighthouse keepers and question how far they would go to find happiness in an otherwise lonely situation. 

Each character is beautifully developed, these aren’t just characters in a book anymore, they are people you empathize with and people you want to see rise above their hardships and find some beauty in the life they have chosen. 

But even the other side of the coin, the characters who have the power to strip our leads of their happiness, you can’t help but empathize with them, too. A questionable line is struck down the middle, who’s side are you on? Who will come out with the least amount of damage in the end? 

A journey of rights and wrongs, of betrayals and forgiveness, The Light Between Oceans weaves a complicated, mesmerizing mess that pulls at your heart strings from start to finish. The hopeful humility and powerful loyalty we see between characters, even in the worst of situations, gives us a warm faith in humanity; we are all just trying to live life as best and as full as we can.

City Girl Rating: 5 out of 5 glasses of wine.

If you can’t get enough of this book, like we couldn’t, Simon and Schuster Canada is holding an event at Indigo (55 Bloor St. W, Toronto) on Tuesday, April 2, 2103 at 7pm with author M.L. Stedman to promote the release. Stedman will be doing a talk and a reading. More Info