Book Review

The Light Between Oceans


The Light Between Oceans is set in the 1920’s, as was Rules of Civility, but these books are as different as night and day.  While that one follows the lives of the wealthy in New York, this one is about totally down-home family folks in western Australia.

Here is the story of a married couple who live on a tiny and otherwise unoccupied island 100 miles off the Australian coast.  Tom is the keeper of the light and madly in love with his wife, Isabel, who has had one tragic miscarriage after another.  One day, a small boat carrying only a dead man and a cold, crying infant washes up on shore.  Having just give birth unfruitfully yet again, Isabel nurses the child.  Should they keep her?  Send her back when the boat comes with supplies in three months?  With no one the wiser, they could raise the child as their own.  After all, the father is dead, and the presence in the boat of a woman’s sweater suggests that the mother is dead as well.

One decision impacts so many lives.  I’ve dealt with this in my own books, most notably The Secret Between Us, and the author of The Light Between Oceans handles it well.  This is a love story on many different levels, a story of good people caught up in a web of circumstance that changes their lives, their relationship with each other and with those back on the mainland who are quick to judge.

The Light Between Oceans is highly emotional and well written.  It’s a first novel, which makes it all the more remarkable to me.  Hopefully, there will be others from the author, M.L. Stedman.

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