“The Light Between Oceans”, A Review.

Wow. What a beautiful novel. I loved every single word of this book, and I am so happy that I finally read it.

I’ve been desperately wanting to read M.L Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans” for months now, since the movie with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander just came out. I  really wanted to read the novel first, and I randomly came across this movie-tie-in paperback copy at the checkout at IGA grocery store. It was only $12.99, and even though my “TBR” pile is ridiculously huge.. I felt I had to have this anyway haha.

I devoured this book in two nights, and I am so sad to say I just finished it now. I wanted it to keep going forever, it was that good. Such an incredible story, with such a beautiful, lyrical writing style. I have always been completely fascinated with Lighthouses, and this was such a interesting look into the life of a Lighthouse Keeper (or “Keeper of the Lights” as you may call it) and the traditions that go along with it. Also being set in Australia in 1926, it was a very different type of read for me. It was a such a nice surprising change of pace, and I loved learning all about the two oceans that surrounded Janus Rock (where the majority of the story is set). The beautiful Lighthouse setting was described so vividly, it was almost like I could feel the wild wind in my hair and imagine exactly what it would feel like to actually be there in real life.

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Here is the plot description, as stated on the back of the paperback copy I own. (“After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, 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 onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and the infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God”, and against Tom’s judgement, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them”.)

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I couldn’t put this book down to save my life, and I HAD to know how this would end. I think I bit off all my fingernails as well. Such a heart-wrenching story, and also just very insightful into the inner workings of Grief, War, Love, Sacrifice, and one’s own “Moral Compass”. So many times I kept thinking to myself “What would I do in this situation?!”. I found myself underlining so many quotes and passages, that I fell in love with throughout the book, and I’ll attach some here.

Overall I would give this book a 5/5, and I am more excited than ever to see the movie.

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“Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes: so tangled that you can’t tell which is which until you’ve shot them both, and then it’s too late.”
M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

“To have any kind of a future you’ve got to give up hope of ever changing your past”
M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

“We live with the decisions we make. That’s what bravery is. Standing by the consequences of your mistakes.”
M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

“I can leave myself to rot in the past…or I can forgive and forget. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things…we always have a choice. All of us.”
M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

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