Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Published August 23rd 2016 by Scribner
The years-long New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Best Historical Novel that is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page” (O, The Oprah Magazine)—soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg’s Dreamworks starring Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, and Alicia Vikander, and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes 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, 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, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and 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.

“Elegantly rendered…heart-wrenching…beautifully drawn” (USA TODAY), The Light Between Oceans is a gorgeous debut novel, not soon to be forgotten. 
My Thoughts
This book was both emotional and unputdownable! The Light Between Oceans had me hooked and I could not let go. I was on a mission to finish this story before seeing the movie, and luckily I was able to do so because it’s not in my nature to see a movie without reading the book first… if I can help it.

Having experienced both the book and the movie, I have to say how amazing the author was able to tell this gripping story, and how meticulous the movie was adapted to the book. I truly enjoyed both.

In The Light Between Oceans, Tom Sherbourne embarks on a new journey after serving in World War I. He takes a station as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock and after a short time, falls in love and marries the lively Isabel. After a few years of marriage and several miscarriages, Isabel and Tom are heartbroken, but all that changes when a small boat washes up on their island with a newborn baby and a dead man. From that moment, their choices create devastating consequences.

Tom was an absolutely worthy character. From the moment he entered the scene, it was clear what a kind, meticulous and heavyhearted soul he was. I completely adored him. Isabel was the perfect, slightly wild balance to Tom’s steady nature, and together they portrayed a love I never doubted.

Throughout the book, I never lost sight of the impending doom that was to come as a consequence to keeping Lucy as their own daughter. As the story unfolded, I scrambled to think of an outcome that would accommodate all parties… but that was impossible.

The movie did an amazing job of bringing this story to life. Despite not having Tom’s full backstory outlined in the movie due to time constraints, I feel the audience was still able to appreciate why Tom made certain decisions.

Overall, if you’re looking for a story with heart and power, not to mention a beautiful Australian backdrop, The Light Between Oceans is sure to please. This novel will rank in my top five this year.
4 Suns


  1. I really want to see this movie! I cry watching the trailer and know I will be a mess at the theatre! lol

  2. Great review! I loved this book when it first came out but have been hesitant to see the movie. You definitely have left me thinking I should!

  3. I totally missed both the book and the movie. This sounds very interesting, thanks for putting it on my radar. Wonderful review, Arlene!