A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.
Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as 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 debut 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.
As he walked down the path, he heard the sweet notes of Isabel’s voice as she sang, ‘Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly, blow the wind south o’er the bonnie blue sea.’ Though the music was tuneful, it failed to comfort him as he climbed the stairs of the light, fending off a strange uneasiness at the concession he had made.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours. Shattered by his experiences in the World War I trenches, veteran Tom Sherbourne returns to his home in Australia to his wife Isabel. Looking for restoration and peace the couple move to an isolated lighthouse where they try to rebuild their lives and long for a child that never comes. Then, one day, a boat washes ashore with a baby inside – a gift that offers the hope of a future they’ve longed for but the consequences of their actions may be more far-reaching than they could have ever imagined.
A New York Times bestseller and now a major film starring Michael Fassbender and Alice Vikander, Light Between Oceans has long been a favourite of readers and Waterstones’ booksellers alike (with the latter often recommending a box of tissues alongside for good measure).
As the film brings new audiences to this heart-rending story of love and loss, it’s a perfect time to discover the original.
Told with the authoritative simplicity of a fable… Stedman’s intricate descriptions of the craggy Australian coastline and her easy mastery of an old-time provincial vernacular are engrossing. As the couple at the lighthouse are drawn into an increasingly tragic set of consequences, these remote, strange lives are rendered immediate and familiar. – The New Yorker
About M.L. Stedman
M.L. Stedman was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The Light Between Oceans is her first novel....
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