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Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

Updated on February 26, 2018
DeborahDian profile image

Deborah Dian, a published author and voracious reader, often shares books with her friends and family. She loves to write reviews!

Many People Find Solace Near the Ocean After Traumatic Experiences, which was true for the Lighthouse Keeper in "The Light Between the Oceans"

This novel about what life was like for men returning to Australia after World War I is a beautifully told tale that still resonates with us today.
This novel about what life was like for men returning to Australia after World War I is a beautifully told tale that still resonates with us today. | Source

A Beautiful Story about Love and Difficult Choices

In the years after World War I, soldiers returned to their home countries by the thousands, after witnessing the death and destruction of "The Great War." Many of these young men suffered from overwhelming depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome, although that term was not coined until decades later.

The beautiful, debut novel, "The Light Between Oceans," by M.L. Stedman, tells the personal journey of one of these devastated men. Tom is a former soldier who now feels isolated and uncomfortable around his countrymen and, as a result, chooses to go to work as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the coast of Australia. Eventually, during his infrequent visits to the mainland, he falls in love and marries a fun, high-spirited girl and brings her to live on the remote island with him.

As the story unfolds, life for the young couple gradually changes from being joyful and light-hearted to heavy and malignant as Isabel suffers miscarriage after miscarriage ... alone and without medical care. Then, one day, a boat drifts ashore carrying the dead body of a man and an very alive, adorable baby girl.

Life is joyful again ... but there are consequences to their decision that they would not to tell anyone that their baby daughter is not really their own.

The women's book club to which I belong recently read this book and found the characters to be people we really cared about. In fact, we loved Tom, Isabel, the child Lucy and the other characters ... despite the fact that the adults made some very poor, hurtful decisions.

We grieved when the book's characters grieved and felt sympathy for them when they struggled with the moral issues which seemed so overwhelming at times. The characters are fragile, weak and incredibly human, overwhelmed by their own demons. As we read the book, we hoped everything could turn out well for everyone in the story ... and knew in our hearts that someone was going to be terribly hurt.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves great literature, because I believe this book is going to be considered a classic in years to come.

A Beautiful, Haunting Book You Will Never Forget

The Light Between Oceans
The Light Between Oceans

This was a beautiful, moving and very thought-provoking novel which dealt with a number of universal issues ... post-traumatic stress syndrome, honesty, love and integrity. I loved reading this book and discussing it with my friends. It lead to a very thought-provoking discussion


More Thoughts on "The Light Between Oceans"

"The Light Between Oceans," has now been made into a major motion picture which was released in the fall of 2016. However, I highly recommend that you read the book prior to seeing the movie because some things which will help you understand the characters were left out of the movie. You will not regret reading this book in its entirety.

Although our book club reads many books each year, the novel featured in this article is one which we particularly enjoyed and found to be memorable. We often refer back to it in our discussions about other books, because it still sheds light on other books which we have read.

The book is available in both traditional hardback or paperback books as well as for the Kindle, since members of our book club enjoy different ways of reading our books.

While I have never been in a war or lived in a country during a time when a war was raging around me, many of the experiences which the people go through in this book are situations anyone can identify with.

People experience a variety of types of trauma in their lives and these events can have a significant effect on us for the rest of our lives. Trauma can even cause us to make decisions which we may later regret. This book is well-written and very thought-provoking.

If you have read "The Light Between Oceans," what did you think?

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Please feel free to share your opinion about any of these books in the comment section below. In addition, are there other books that you think should be part of this collection? I'll always be happy to add a few more, or write a new review, if readers believe I have missed a great novel that should be included.

Thanks for your input!


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    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      Our bookclub loved this book. It was very thought provoking and lead to an interesting discussion about right and wrong and choosing the right path.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      This book was one of the most favorite books I have read in recent years. Your review is spot on as the author makes you feel close to the characters. In fact, I recently purchase a print of a lighthouse on a rock in the ocean that reminds me of this book every time I look at it.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Intriguing review, Deborah-Diane! Now I want to read it to see what happened after hay found and took the baby :)

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      This sounds very interesting - and relevant too, at a time when traumatised young men are returning from war duty in Afganistan and elsewhere. I'll read this, thanks for the review and recommendation.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      @TransplantedSoul: I agree! It was sometimes hard to understand the decisions these people made, but it was interesting to read.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      @WriterJanis2: It was a very emotional book to read.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      It sounds like quite an emotional read.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      This is a great and inspirational read.