The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman is the first book I read after my eye surgery and boy am I glad that I chose it.

Tom Shelbourne fought in the war. He saw men, boys and friends die young and tragically but somehow he survived. When he arrives in the small town of Partaguese and happens upon a job as a lighthouse keeper he figures it must be destiny. A small island, a light and no one else.

Isabel Graysmark lost two brothers in the war. Her parents are a shell of their former selves and suddenly Isabel is their only anchor to happiness.

When Tom and Isabel fall in love, Isabel believes that maybe her and Tom can rebuild what they lost in the war, that maybe happiness is not a stretch. When Isabel loses one child, then another and another hope seems a distant dream until one day a dead man on a boat washes up on shore with a baby.

Is this Tom and Isabel’s chance to start a family and finally be happy?

Those who have read Alice Munro will understand what I mean when I saw that M.L Stedman turns simple language into poetry. The story is not complex and the lives are simple but the storytelling is magic. I have never been a fan of novels where each chapter is segmented by a page break, separating thoughts and characters quickly. I usually find this sort of writing to be disjointed and messy. This book however changed my mind. No, each chapter is not a continuous monologue following one character but each section no matter how short or long is beautifully written. The book as a whole will stay with me and I know years from now I will pick it up from my bookshelf and read it again.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to be heartbroken but satisfied in the way that only a good, solid novel can make you feel.


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