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The Light Between Oceans [Paperback]

M L Stedman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (892 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 3.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2013

Richard and Judy summer bookclub read 2013, Goodreads category winner, and longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013, stunning story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who face a life-changing moral dilemma.

A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper's island. It holds a dead man - and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.

They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (9 May 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0552778478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552778473
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (892 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Irresistible... seductive... a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page" (Oprah Magazine)

"A love story that is both persuasive and tender" (The Sunday Times)

"A moving tale. One of this year's must-reads" (Stylist Magazine)

"An extraordinary book... as inevitable as Hardy at his most doom-laden. And as unforgettable" (Guardian)

"It is not only the plot that it so compelling ... What makes this wonderful novel stand out is the cast of emotionally fragile characters, all of whom inspire tremendous sympathy in the reader" (Daily Express)

Book Description

Richard and Judy summer bookclub read 2013, Goodreads category winner, and longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013, stunning story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who face a life-changing moral dilemma.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
287 of 294 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptionally moving and well written debut 9 Jun 2012
By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Light Between Oceans is a post WW1 Australian set novel about Tom Sherbourne who having been demobbed gets a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. Soon after he marries and he and his wife come to love their isolated idyll. Their paradise becomes tainted by their inability to have children and following her third miscarriage Isabel is cracking under the strain of the grief, when one night a boat is shipwrecked on their shores..... it contains a dead man and a newborn baby. Believing God has answered their prayers Isabel persuades Tom not to report the wreck and they pass the child off as their own.

But though he loves the child, the actions wrack Tom with guilt for years to come.....

This novel is a stunning debut on the part of M.L Steadman and covers such a range of emotions and reactions. Guilt, grief, sacrifice, morality, love, marriage, parenthood, loss, time, change, duty, truth. Above all it is achingly human, and provokes the same dilemma in its reader as in its protagonist.

I am quite a cynic these days, and on top of that a well read one, so it isn't that often these days that I find a novel with the capacity to move me to tears, but this novel did. Its location is atmospheric and beautifully drawn, the sea and the windswept isolation of the island; even with the unusual parameters of the storyline the novel feels gutwrenchingly real, of a place and time and characters who existed as opposed to an entirely fictitious prospect.

Enormously moving and brilliantly told. I won't forget this book in a hurry nor the emotions that rose within me as I read it. A quality piece of writing and a quality novel, I hugely recommend you purchase this book. 10/10
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story 15 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book based on the reviews on Amazon and wasn't disappointed. The plot is fascinating; the dilemma when the boat with a baby and a dead man is found. The reader knows instinctively what will happen but we don't have a clue what will be the outcome of the decision. This is a love story, a mystery and is just so poignant throughout. the story stays with you for some time after you've read it. It is beautifully written and a good piece of literature. Highly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, powerful, evocative 4 Sep 2012
Robustly old-fashioned storytelling, big-hearted and self-assured. When Tom and Izzy Sherbourne recover a marooned boat on the remote Australian coastline in 1926, they are astonished to find a baby within. They swiftly adopt the child as their own, but its history is far more tangled than they could have imagined, and soon the Sherbournes' world collides with that of 'their' baby's family.

I would dock it points for its unattractive jacket, but otherwise The Light Between Oceans is a triumph - really spellbinding fiction. The moral dilemmas are accessible and almost unbearably poignant, the period detail is spot-on, and the Sherbournes themselves make for heartbreaking heroes. It's a swift read, too, brimming with suspense and suffused with longing.
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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
'He's in a place where there's just wind and waves and light, and the intricate machinery that keeps the flame burning and the lantern turning. Always turning, always looking over its shoulder.'

Tom Sherbourne is haunted by traumatic memories of his horrific experiences in World War I. He is one of the men who have returned to Australia, as so many did not. He is not physically scarred, 'but he's scarred all the same, having to live in the same skin as the man who did the things that needed to be done back then.' Now, looking to his future, he becomes a lighthouse keeper. He takes a position on remote Janus Rock, off the coast of South-Western Australia, with Point Partageuse being the nearest community on the mainland. Partageuse is a place where everyone knows everyone else, and where, after the war, 'gradually, once again lives wove together into a practical sort of fabric..', where '..Janus Rock, linked only by the store boat four times a year, dangled off the edge of the cloth like a loose button that might easily plummet to Antarctica.'

He meets local girl Isabel Graysmark whilst he is on the mainland, they correspond with each other when Tom returns to the lighthouse, and they fall in love and marry. For Isabel, the war has instilled a sense of urgency into life: 'If the war had taught her anything, it was to take nothing for could snatch away the things you treasured, and there was no getting them back.' Moving forward in time to the mid 1920s, we meet them living out on Janus Rock together, with a sadness hanging between them that they have no children, Isabel having suffered miscarriages.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic story beautifully retold 3 Sep 2012
On the face of it this story is classic enough: lone man marries a beautiful woman he feels unworthy of, together they encounter extreme hardships while unsuccessfully tries to start a family. One day providence - or is it something else? - sends them the gift of a beautiful baby girl, washed ashore in a life raft, and their lives take on a whole new meaning. This is where many novels would have left them, but THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS takes the story to its bitter end: through lies and betrayal, condemnation, heart-break and, in the end, forgiveness and in certain ways, redemption.

It's incredibly readable - I read this over the course of two days and it stayed with me for long afterwards, and though it is plotted in a rather commercial way designed to pull at your heart strings, the emotion in the novel rang true enough to bring me to tears. Yes, I cried! That never happens. Though I am not a parent, nor have ever felt the intense longing for a child Isabel feels, I did empathise fully with Isabel and Tom in their decisions and later on, with the reactions of Lucy/Grace and her biological family.

I read a lot of books, but this did stand out of the crowd so I really can recommend it for anyone who's in search for lighter reading with an emotional plot line and a big heart.

This will surely be a huge bestseller in paperback. What a fantastic debut.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book - read it in three days. Just couldn't put it down!
Published 1 day ago by L Humby
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend
It starts slowly but is so worth sticking with ..the dilemmas it raises are heartfelt and very moving. It is well written with believable characters.... Read more
Published 2 days ago by beverley k johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book of this year! Have recommended it to so many ...Loved it!
Published 2 days ago by Louisa705
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding novel. One of those that gets right under ...
Outstanding novel. One of those that gets right under your skin and you can't wait to pick it up. Cried at the end and felt bereft at finishing it. Well written M L Stedman.
Published 4 days ago by Julie Bronze
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written
I loved this book and I cried at the end. It's a tale of one of life's biggest challenges - the loss of a child. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Carla Peplar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read, loved it, and cried at the end.
Published 4 days ago by Bella Bobbs
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
This book was never going to have a happy ending. It certinly made me think a lot about how our choices are infuenced by our needs and emotions no matter how honest and moral we... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Maria Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent condition, very reasonably priced.
Published 6 days ago by Shanti Chantal Arscott
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely a 2*
I have just struggled to finish this book. I found it very predictable and the style of writing was poor. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars A good holiday read.
I loved this book and was encouraged to buy it due to the great reviews. A good holiday read....but be prepared for a good cry. A very good plot, well told. Read more
Published 7 days ago by LYNN KENNINGTON
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