The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

Published by: Scribner

Published on: July 31st 2012

Pages: 343

Historical Fiction

Purchase:   Amazon    Book Depository   Chapters


Set in the late 1920’s Australia, Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel live a sheltered life on a small island where Tom is the light keeper. Being the only people on the Island it is easy to lose ones sense of reality. And when a boat is washed up on shore with a dead man and a crying baby, Isabel sees this as a miracle and wants to keep the baby where as Tom wants to report it. Since, Tom feel he owes Isabel this happiness they don’t report it and raise the child as their own. But when they go back to shore their sense of reality returns and begins to weigh heavily on Tom’s conscience.


  • Tom Sherbourne is a WWI Veteran and suffers from PTSD and has this sense of duty and of what is right and wrong. He has childhood issues and hasn’t spoken to his father in years and his mother left when he was young. He is a good man and wants to do right by Isabel. I liked Tom he is an honorable character.
  • Isabel Graysmark is young and spirited girl who wants to have a big family. But she suffers from a couple of miscarriages and still birth. Even though she is unlikeable at times I feel for her character and understand why she did what she did.

My Thoughts                                 

I enjoyed The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman and thought it was an interesting look at how decisions we make in life and how they may not always be the moral ones and the justifications we tell ourselves to make them.

“Life could snatch away the things you treasured, and there was no getting them back. “


  • This is a slow paced novel and the sadness of the situation made the story drag on a bit and by the end I was rushing for it to be over.
  • I was disappointed by this one aspect of the ending I felt like the author could have added this one bit of happiness at the end to this already heart-breaking novel.

“There are times when the ocean is not the ocean — not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon.”


  • I liked that you got to see the story from several perspectives and that way you can see all sides of the story and feel for each of the characters. And it played with my emotions because I felt for Isabel and Hannah both and then your heart breaks for poor Lucy because no child should have to go through that and it is just so heart breaking.
  • I like the writing and found the descriptions beautiful.
  • I just loved the descriptions of being on Janus Island, the isolation of being out there alone at sea, in your own world. It had me wanting to live out on Janus Island.
  • I never read anything quite like this before and found it to be a compelling story with an interesting theme.

“He struggles to make sense of it– all this love, so bent out of shape, refracted, like light through the lens.”

Overall a slow but great read and if it sounds interesting to you I definitely recommend. I need to watch the movie now and see how it holds up to the book.

4 Stars

Bookish Matters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s