Thursday, July 18, 2013
The Light Between Oceans
A decorated war hero who is simply trying to forget the atrocities of the First World War decides the best place to do so is in the remote lighthouses off Australia's southern shores. A young woman who has lost both her siblings to the great war is determined to grab life and live it to the fullest while she has the chance. Tom and Isabel are married and move to the remote light on Janus Rock, a half-day's journey from the coast.
As the years pass, Izzy's hope of becoming a mother begins to fade as she suffers several miscarriages with no one to help but Tom. Then one day, a small boat washes up on the beach. In it the couple discovers a dead man and a crying baby. It seems fate has intervened for Izzy where Mother Nature has let her down.
What ensues is the heart wrenching novel about the sometimes bad choices good people make for love and the ripple effect of consequences those choices have in so many lives.
I found it very easy to get inside Stedman's characters. Their struggles, joys, passions, frustrations, triumphs and daily lives became my own as I became fully immersed in the story. Details about the workings of the lighthouse, the geography of the landscape, the sense of the period in Australian/world history all add to the vivid pictures of the time and place that helped shape the characters.
I am choosing this book as my pick for book club in the upcoming year. I believe the book presents terrific questions about relationships, about what constitutes good and bad choices, whether or not everyone found the story engaging and honest, possibilities for examining the consequences of the choices we make in life, how our choices effect those around us and the wider world in general, etc.