The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Transworld Publishers)
Tom Sherbourne, released from the horrors of the First World War, is now a lighthouse keeper, cocooned on a remote Australian island with his young wife Izzy, who is content in everything but her failure to have a child.
One April morning, a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man - and a crying baby. Safe from the real world, Tom and Izzy break the rules and follow their hearts. It is a decision with devastating consequences.
This book is beautiful and heartbreaking.
Tom Sherbourne is grateful for the solitude provided by a lighthouse after the horrors he endured in the war, and the sadness in his early life which has made him quiet and uncomfortable expressing his feelings.
He finds a placement in Point Partageuse to relieve the last keeper on the remote Janus Rock. Janus Rock is 100 miles off the coast of Western Australia, situated between the Indian and Southern Oceans. It is here that he meets and falls in love with Izzy. The love story unfolds slowly and you can almost feel the passing of time.
Izzy is unfortunate in childbirth, and suffers three miscarriages. Two weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby, a baby washes up on shore after what seems like the perfect storm. Instead of reporting the discovery of the infant to the authorities as is expected of them, Izzy persuades Tom to hold off and eventually put it out of their minds for good.
Friends and family are a distance away, and wouldn't suspect any foul play as Izzy was expecting. It helps that she was fully equipped for the arrival of a baby and the loss of the last baby was almost more that she could bear.
The isolated setting of the lighthouse is one that is both peaceful and terrifying. It not only sheds light on the moral implications of their actions, but is a constant reminder of duty, responsiblity and the strict laws that govern them on the island. In the aftermath, Tom tries to stay as steadfast as the lighthouse he governs, but the implications of their actions weigh down on him heavily.
This book ends the way you would expect it to realistically, but not the way you want it to. In a way you can't help but hope that the possibility might exist for things to return to the way they were. The Light between Oceans deals with different kinds of loss in many of the character's lives, and the impact this has - both positive and negative on our moral compass.
You can't help but become emotionally invested in this book and the outcome of the fate of characters.
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