Tuesday, March 5, 2013


The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

5 stars

Starting with the seminal moment, this book travels back in time to introduce us to the family isolated on a small island off the coast of Australia where the husband is the light keeper.  Part of the story takes place on Janus Rock, home of the Janus Light, and part takes place in the small town of Partageuse on the mainland, hometown of Isabel, wife of the Light keeper.  Tom, a survivor of the horrors of WWI, meets Isabel and falls in love with her on his infrequent respites on the mainland.  He and Isabel spend idyllic, isolated years on Janus, marred only by the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.  When a boat washes up with a dead man and a live baby, the decision to keep the child as their own affects their lives and marriage and the life of the wife of the dead man and mother of the child.  As the child grows and the three alone on Janus meld into a family, the bereaved wife in Partageuse descends into depression and madness until a battered silver rattle disrupts the tranquility of the island and the fabric of the town of Partageuse.

A beautifully written tale that uses description to draw the feel of island and mainland, love and depression, fear and deceit.  The dread, confusion and fear of a mother torn from her child and a child torn from her mother will stay with you long after you finish the final page as will the love of a man for his wife and child, the devotion of a mother to her child and the web of entangling emotion that seals a family for ever and ever and ever.

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