The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman was one of our book club picks last year. The book is about lighthouse keeper Tom and his wife Isabel who live remotely on the island of Janus Rock. Isabel suffers several miscarriages and then one day a boat washes to shore with a dead man and a live baby. So, Isabel believes the baby is a gift from God. This is the beginning of ethical dilemmas and moral decisions that complicate the lives of every character in this book throughout the story. Not everyone is always following the rules. You get a true sense of each character’s own perspective and the author systematically unfolds tragic consequences on all and we see the importance of compassion and forgiveness.

Stedman’s writing is descriptive, thought-provoking, at times predictable, and in many places it’s moving and can be extremely sad and because of that, I don’t recommend it as the best pick for a book to read during your summer vacation. This is not an uplifting or inspiring book, it’s more philosophical and certainly emotional. I happened to read this book not long after my Scottish Terrier of 12 years had passed away. So I came to this book from the beginning with a huge sense of loss and the book’s periods of separation and sadness was heart retching for me.

After reading the book, some of us in the book club went out to see the movie with the same name. We unanimously agreed that we preferred the movie over the book. The movie helped me understand the book better, I had more empathy for Isabel, and the seaside scenery in the movie is lovely.

If you are looking for thought-provoking heart-tugger, then this one is for you. Go to your quiet place and start reading or listening.


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