The Light Between Oceans

The Book

By M.L. Stedman – Simon & Schuster Canada, 2012

What do you do when there seems to be no right answer? This is the wrenching dilemma facing Tom, a lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Australia. Does he break his wife Isabel’s heart by taking away 4 year-old Lucy, a child she has loved and cared for since infancy? Or does he allow Lucy’s biological mother, Hannah, to continue to wallow in the despair of not knowing what happened to her baby? This is the question at the heart of this deeply moving book by first time novelist, M.L. Stedman.

For 4 years, Tom, Isabel, and Lucy live a very happy life on Janus, an otherwise uninhabited island off the coast of Australia. Their contact with the mainland is limited; a supply ship comes only every few months bringing them what they need, making it easy for Tom and Isabel to keep the baby that mysteriously washes up in a boat, without any questions. Tom, a WWI veteran with ghosts of his own, is tormented by this decision, but gives into Isabel’s aching need to keep the baby. A chance encounter on the mainland with the child’s mother leads to an agonizing decision.

There is plenty to think about in this beautiful, sad story. Members of your book club will likely not agree on what was the right thing to do, or who should shoulder the blame. All will agree that finding justice for one, will inevitably lead to tragic loss for another. And what of Lucy, the 4 year-old who persistently draws pictures of the lighthouse and the only mom and dad she knows? How resilient are our children? How resilient are we?

This 2012 novel was made into a movie last year staring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz. Check out more information about the movie here:

Happy Reading! Sue, Best New Book Club


    • bookclub

      Hi Jodi, thanks for your question. It’s an excellent idea to have a list of upcoming books. Christine and I are working on a list for our next books and would love to hear suggestions for books too. In the meantime, our next post will be for the book, All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Look for that soon, and thanks again. Sue 🙂

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