The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

“A lighthouse warns of danger–tells people to keep their distance. She had mistaken it for a place of safety.” p. 227
But, as I’m often reminded, “Where in this world is there a place of safety? There is no where we can go which guarantees our safety, emotionally or physically. And Isabel finds herself in a very dangerous place indeed, on the Janus lighthouse, in Australia, after three miscarriages.
It seems a perfect solution to her bereft life when a dinghy comes to shore containing a dead man and a baby. Isabel’s husband, Tom, wants to report the arrival immediately. But, he succumbs to his wife’s pleas to keep the baby for just one night.
“Just one night” extends into a time period when it is virtually impossible to announce that they have found a baby, for this baby has become theirs as surely as if she had arrived by natural birth.
In a taut and terrible tension the reader waits while knowing that this cannot last. One set of parents cannot get away for long with claiming a baby in secret. Where are the child’s birth parents? How must they be feeling? What is the mystery behind the man’s death? Most importantly, how can this all be solved without a tremendous amount of pain? How do we handle loss and longing, “for we always have a choice”.
I wept when I read the conclusion. But it is the only possible way for the story to end, for a child caught between two mothers.
Just as the lighthouse is between two oceans.

13 thoughts on “The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman”

  1. The writing was beautiful, especially in the first half. I found the second half a bit erratic, disjointed and rushed, but it still was very powerful emotionally. As a parent, and as a child, I found myself in tears.


  2. I honk is would be an excellent choice for a book club, as there would be so many points of view to discuss. I couldn't blame any character for the choices he or she made. It was almost like a Jodi Picoult novel in that so many perspectives were brilliantly presents.


  3. I held my breath as I read your review. I so wanted you to love it as much as I did! I agree that the final chapters were a bit rushed.


    I couldn't get past the fact that Lucy suddenly started calling Hannah “Mommy” (or maybe it was “Mummy”) after so much angst from being separated from Tom & Isabel.

    And the coincidence that Tom had previously met Hannah seemed a bit of a stretch.

    Nonetheless, I still gave it a perfect 5/5!


  4. Les, I give it a perfect score, too. The author was masterful in her portrayal of each character's position and emotions. Who can be called wrong or right in the situation they found themselves in? Each mother had such a valid point of view, and the poor child…torn between the two of them. It's a beautiful novel.


  5. Wow. I never considered reading this book until your post. It sounds like an amazing book. I'm going to see if my library has it. What a wonderful post.


  6. I bought this on impulse at a book sale. I never knew what it was about. I don't quite know that the subject appeals to me directly, then again, seeing from your review and the comments how so many really liked it, I might give it a try anyway.


  7. I want to read this book but I'm not sure my heart could take it. As a mom, I instantly side with the mom. But then as a woman that struggled with infertility for 4 years, I feel for the adoptive mom. Sounds like I would cry a lot.


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