Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 31st July 2012 (1st published March 2012)
Time/Pages: 13hrs/368 pages
Book Source: Own audio
Narrator: Noah Taylor

Synopsis: This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same ...

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world.

One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant - and the path of the couple's lives hits an unthinkable crossroads.

Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they made that day - as the baby's real story unfolds ...

My Thoughts:
A stunning debut by new voice, Australian Margot L Stedman. So beautifully written it takes your breath away.  

Photo Source: Phillip Capper

Many years ago my family visited Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, built in 1896 and situated at the most south-westerly point of Australia. Ms Stedman modeled Janus Rock lighthouse (The Light Between Oceans) on the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and whilst the fictional Janus Rock is 100 miles off the coast of Western Australia the author has captured the harsh beauty and almost eerie isolation perfectly. 

Written with such honesty and sensitivity it's easy to identify and empathise with the choices of returned veteran, now lighthouse keeper Tom and his wife Isabel. Without giving anything away, The Light Between Oceans is about love, grief, loss and one's moral compass. It illustrates how isolation, grief and past experiences can colour or taint choices and the very human price of these choices.  

Narrator Noah Taylor captures the characters' voices beautifully, pulling you in until you're as torn, conflicted and devastated by events as they are. This is a sad, haunting story mellowed by the lyrical and scenic beauty. One I recommend without hesitation. 


  1. Sounds like a sad but wonderful book. Thanks for the rec!

  2. So glad you recommend it! I just borrowed it from the library on audio.

  3. Sounds really good. Will have to add it to my tbr list. Great review.


  4. Lovely review! I think you captured the essence of the isolation the two main characters experienced and probably why they made the choices that they did. I loved this book and am so glad that I took the time to read it!

    1. likewise Staci, I loved your review too :)

  5. Replies
    1. I think you'd enjoy this one Sheila!

  6. Replies
    1. Everyone I know has loved this one Julie

  7. I have a hold request for this book at the library. Sounds wonderful.

    1. Can't wait to see what you think Diana!

  8. This book sounds incredibly engaging. I want to read it.
    Audio? Or print? I shall see which one I can get my hands on first.

    1. Friends seem to be just as impressed with the print version Deanna but audio was lovely.

  9. I thought you would like this - it was a lovely read!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  10. Ooh, I loved your review...just enough to tempt me. And I love lighthouses, so this one is definitely going on my list!

  11. I've got an early copy of this book from work, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review.

    Marlene Detierro (Salmon Fishing Rogue River)


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