The Light Between Oceans

Hardcover | November 22, 2012

byM. L. Stedman

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After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. To this isolated island, 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 carrying a dead man and a living baby. Isabel persuades Tom to keep this "gift from God," and we are swept into their story.

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From the Publisher

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. To this isolated island, 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 ...

Originally from Western Australia, M L Stedman has lived in London for many years, where she worked as a lawyer. She first decided to try creative writing in 1997. In the years that followed she did a few writing courses, and some of her short stories were published in anthologies. The Light Between Oceans is M L Stedman's debut novel,...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:450 pages, 8.6 × 5.7 × 1.2 inPublished:November 22, 2012Publisher:Thorndike PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1410452573

ISBN - 13:9781410452573

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Customer Reviews of The Light Between Oceans


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Slow Pace Like others have mentioned the story unfolds at a slow pace. The psychology around what people are willing to do for love and the going ons of a small town are interesting. However, I found myself rushing to just see how it would end as the story started to become repetitive with lack of action.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Emotions This story was gripping; and definitely played on the heartstrings for a number of different characters. This story also left me frustrated at some points due to the actions of some. In the end, I couldn’t quite get over those frustrations.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I liked this story and found it enjoyable. It made me wonder what I would do in that situation. Not the greatest book ever, but good!
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read! Really beautiful, sad book. Can't wait to see the movie!
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from sooo sad but sooo good
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Slow and predictable This book was slow and predictable. I felt like I had read 60 pages without much happening. I did not find the characters to be likeable or engaging, which was especially disappointing because I knew how it would end after the initial set-up. Maybe it will translate better to the screen? #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from devastating This book is haunting. I really was devastated by the love that endured between the two characters. What would you have done??
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Predictable Ending Although the ending was predicting, I enjoyed following their characters as they wrestled with their emotions and morals. I do not agree with many of the decisions the characters made, but it was interesting to see where their initial attitudes and actions would lead them.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I enjoyed this one. I really felt for the wife character in the story. I haven't seen the movie yet but I don't think it can come close to how much I enjoyed this book. Movies are never as good as their books!
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking This was an enjoyable book - although quite heartbreaking by the end of it. It tells a unique story that allows for discussions with others afterwards as to what you would do in the main couple's situation. With that said, this can be a divisive book if you do not empathize with the main characters' actions - but for most, including myself, it is a good read.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from So mad! I so wanted to enjoy this book, but found that I was angry the entire time i was reading it. poor choices all around Ugh
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Tough read Tough read because of the decisions made and consequences. Was slow moving and at times lost interest.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard Choices I read this because the movie was being released this year and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. This is a very sad, yet wonderful novel about the choices we make and how it impacts others. The pain these characters felt was almost unbearable at times, but it shows that the "right" decision may not be easiest, but in order to move forward, the only option for everyone.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Started off slow but turned into a heartbreaking but good read. Wow! This book started off really slow and I was close to putting it down without planning to finish it but I am so, so, so glad that I did not give up on this wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking story. The predicament of this story and the lives it affects is massively tragic and highly unfortunate and that is an understatement in my eyes. All the people that it affects are good and innocent and yet they are forced to make such hard and devastating decisions and live in such suffering. It's an intriguing and heartbreaking insight into our decisions, how mysterious and seemingly unforgiving life can be, and how those decisions affect other people; other good people. It is one of those stories involving a situation where if I or someone I knew were in it in any of these characters' positions, I wouldn't know what to do. At all. I felt for all of the characters and wondered what the ending to this book could possibly be as I did not see a happy ending for all of them no matter what way it turned out. My personal opinion on how it ended is a bit uncertain; I think I'm leaning towards bitter sweet. It didn't make me angry but it did make my heart clench with such sadness.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting #plumreview The characters were interesting and came together in different ways. Unique story.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking, yet beautful I bought this book thinking I could save some money over having to buy a ticket to the movie. Well, now I'm spending money on the ticket because I loved this book! While slow to start, I really became involved with the characters and their hardships. It has been a long while since a book made me feel the emotions I felt while reading this.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow to start Almost gave up on this book. It was very slow to start and a bit boring but stuck with it and it turned around just about 1/4 way through. Good story overall. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad for a Romance It was hard to get into and it took too long to move onto the next story. The story is quite nice, the setting descriptions could have been better.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different This book was in my opinion a little hard to start up, I didn't find much action at the beginning. But once the story line picked up, it was hard not to know what would happen. Great way to see the 2 different perspective!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sad and Beautiful I was not sure I was going to like this book, its not my usual type of read. But was definitely drawn in by the story, the characters and the choices they made. Very touching, beautiful story.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking I loved this book. It was chosen as a read for my book club, otherwise I'm not sure if I would have picked it up. I felt for the characters and felt how torn they were.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from dont understand the hype. Purchased this book as everyone seemed to be talking about how good it was. The book based on the plot had the ability to be a fantastic read. The book had points where it dragged and dragged. One of the main characters was annoying, and so incredibly selfish i found it very difficult to like her. Her husband didn't have a back bone for most of the book, which i also found to be extremely frustrating. I am glad i pushed through and read the entire book, but its far from my favourite book. I would recommend this book to a friend with hesitation.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from In the minority I know the majority of people loved this book but I can't quite bring myself to feel the same way. While I agree that you really do feel what the characters are going through, I did not find myself liking them. What they did was wrong. Plain and simple. I recognize that we are supposed to try and understand it from their perspective, and I do get that, but even still....I could not justify their actions. The book is very well written, which definitely helps in feeling the emotions and pain the characters are experiencing.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Devastating and beautiful This is the terrible, beautiful, redemptive story about Tom and Isabel, who live on Janus Island off the coast of Australia. They've recently married while Tom, who is experiencing what might now be considered PTSD after WWI, was on shore leave. Until a baby and a dead man wash up on their beach in a small boat, Isabel assumed her opportunity to have a child was over. That's where their story takes off. Not a single character in this story is unlikeable, despite the heart-wrenching choices that are made, the lies, the desperation. This is written so convincingly that it sucks you into the moral quandaries of this book to ask yourself if what is happening is really so bad. This novel has a satisfying end but I defy you to get through it without a single tear dropped! A definite read, and should be done before watching the movie.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read Keeps ya thinking and following the story. And you see the perspective and pain for both mothers
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very moving book about choices we make and how they affect others... This book is lovely. I felt transported by the writing and was quickly immersed in the moral dilemma that is central to the story. I cried through the last chapters and it's been a while since I've been so moved by a novel. I hope the movie adaptation does the novel justice
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Light Between Oceans The book starts off a little slow, but then picks up towards the middle. It was a beautiful story and actually made me cry a little. I really loved this book.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Beautiful Story One of the best books I've ever read, it was hard to put down. I was loaned a copy of this book having never heard of it, and was blown away by the story and the characters. Absolutely loved it. I've recommended this book to all my family and friends - heartbreaking, breathtaking, just a really good read. I strongly recommend.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Heartbreaking. Brilliant. Undoubtedly the best book I've read in a very long time.
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In love!!! I wasn't to sure what to expect when I read the cover but thought I would give it a try before the movie came out. I ended up falling in love with this book and the characters. Stedman created a love story between parents and a child and how adopting can have the same affect as having your own child. This was not just the typical romance between a couple but so much more.
Date published: 2016-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!!! A friend loaned me her copy of "The Light Between Oceans". This was a truly, truly wonderful story. In my experience, the movies usually are a disappointment and I can't bear to have my memory of the story besmirched. Awesome book!
Date published: 2016-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED THIS BOOK I had to push through the first few chapters but once the storyline picked up I just couldn't put the book down! The narration really puts you in each of the characters shoes and you get a real good sense of what each character is feeling! A great read for those who like tear-jerker plots! I've been recommending it to everyone!
Date published: 2016-08-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Moved to slowly for my liking. Actually gave up reading it.
Date published: 2016-08-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worth it A very enjoyable book.
Date published: 2016-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I enjoyed reading this story. For the people who like to compare books with movies can do so this September when the movie comes out.
Date published: 2016-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from made me feel as though I was right there in Australia After witnessing the autrocities of WWI, Tom Sherbourne seeks the solace of running a remote light house offshore of southwest shore of Australia. During his shore visits he meets and falls in love with Isabel. After courting, they settle into married life. Their domestic bliss is challenged by two miscarriages followed by a still birth. Life reaches a critical point when a rowboat reaches their shore with a tiny baby crying out for care. Do they seize this opportunity to have the family they have longed for. I loved this book. It explored a lifestyle I can never lead, living on a remote island with no social contact for six months at a time. It takes a unique person to want to live this life. I enjoyed learning of Tom's story and why he felt compelled to live on the island. I was less entranced with Isabel, though she was a woman in love who would follow her man anywhere specially if it was far from her parents home. It lead me to several times when I had to ask myself what would I have done were I in their situation. I listened to the audiobook as read by Noah Taylor. 10 hours 22 minutes unabridged. Mr. Taylor's accent made me feel as though I really was in Australia, not sitting in my living room in Canada. He easily met the challenge of voicing the rough sailors and the more refined and educated city people.
Date published: 2016-06-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good book. bad condition. Book was decent but unfortunately i bought this online and a page was ripped and by the time I got to read it I could no longer return it unfortunately.
Date published: 2016-05-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring I hated this book
Date published: 2016-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful heartbreaking book I loved this book! I felt so much compassion for Isabel & Tom. This book really makes you think about how your actions affect others And it makes you put yourself in the shoes of others, think about how they feel. It also makes you think about the choices you make & why you make them. It was so beautifully written. Can't wait for more from M.L. Stedman. I'm also excited for the movie!
Date published: 2016-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from heartbreaking This novel was well written and the story is very compelling. It also pulls on the heart strings for women who can't have children and their pain. There is no neat an tidy solution for this story. It was a tragic novel but one that was a pleasure to read and be a part of feeling the characters sadness.
Date published: 2016-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended Excellent novel; well written; couldn't stop reading it
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Really enjoyed this book and it's very thought provoking.
Date published: 2015-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing read Very well written and loved the internal struggles of the main characters. Begs the question, what would you do?
Date published: 2015-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyable Book I really enjoyed this book, the story was compelling and really caught me up in their lives.
Date published: 2015-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent, thought-provoking read Once you get through the first few chapters, which are filled with very important context and background to the overall story, the book is impossible to put down. A truly heart-wrenching story that blurs the line of what society may see as "right" and "wrong". An amazing book! Would be an excellent read for a book club because of the differences in opinion that I am sure would emerge as to you read and relate to certain characters.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing The first couple of chapters were a little slow, but then it really picked up. It was an incredible read. I even cried toward the end.
Date published: 2014-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from poignant This is the kind of book you want to find on a holiday. The characters are so well defined that you sympathize with all of them.
Date published: 2014-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A quick and interesting read. At first I found it hard to believe I would like this novel but once getting into it I found I had a hard time putting it down. As with many novels I end up enjoying the overall scenery and history of it swept me away. In addition to the scenery and culture though I found I became emotionally linked to the characters. I found myself struggling between Isabel's wants and needs and tom's, which at times seemed in line and at others, totally at odds. It was a slow start for me but once I got a couple of chapters in I couldn't set it down.
Date published: 2014-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent novel What a great gift author ML Stedman has given to readers all over the world with this contribution to English literature. The author's wisdom and emotional intelligence displayed in this novel are only paralleled by her unique ability to bring it to the page with such imagination and an inspired craft of words.  Stedman's literary artistry and her gift to create such vivid imagery with the printed word is truly remarkable.  It is an unforgettable reading experience.
Date published: 2013-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy reading and beautiful. Once you start, it is hard to put this book away.  You feel like Janus island cornered between two powerful oceans full of emotions.
Date published: 2013-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Story! This book was great. Very visual and appealing. At times it could get slow, but none the less I would recommend it.
Date published: 2013-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Light Between Oceans This was one of the best book I have read. A woman who desperately wants to raise kids get the opportunity of rescuing a baby at the ocean. She feels that it was Gods gift and enjoys her motherhood days. But to her dismay she finds that the baby's real mother is alive and struggles to accept that it is not her own child. The author deserves much praise for giving vivid descriptions. It was a poignant and compelling story to read.
Date published: 2013-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving! The author does a fantastic job of blurring the lines of morality in this tragic tale of two families struggling with loss and longing. A woman desperate to have a child rescues a baby lost at sea and suddenly realizes her dreams of motherhood. Years later when she learns the baby’s mother is alive, she is forced to make a gruelling decision. It will tug at your heart.
Date published: 2013-04-19