Monday, 9 January 2017

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman 

This book has been on my list of books to read for quite a while, so last week I finally picked it up from my local library and finished it within a few days. 
I read the large print version, which was over 550 pages.
I'm sure that there are many of you who have already read this, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you have (for those of you who have commented on my Facebook post, thank you so much; I really appreciate and enjoy communicating with you all!) 
For those that haven't read it yet, I'd sum it up as an easy read that will tug on your heartstrings!

Tom Sherbourne returns home after a four year stint on the Western Front, and he gets a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock.
Before he leaves, he meets a young woman by the name of Isabel Graysmark, and they start a relationship. 
Over time, Isabel and Tom marry, and live together on Janus Rock. 
Their attempts to start a family fail when Isabel has two miscarriages and a stillbirth. 
Both Tom and Isabel are devastated; Isabel is almost consumed by grief.
One day, they discover a boat that has washed up close by - the passengers are a dead man, and a beautiful newborn baby girl.
Isabel persuades Tom to keep the baby, even though he is hesitant to do so.
She feels that this baby was sent to her to help her overcome her heartache at the losses she has experienced.
But we soon find out that Isobel's decision comes with a lot of complications once the true identity of the baby is discovered. 

This story drew me in, but I felt that there was something missing. I'm not entirely sure what, but after hearing so many positive things about it, I had pretty high expectations, and it didn't quite live up to that for me. 
There were positives though.
For example, I enjoyed reading about the detailed descriptions of the lighthouse, and the isolation that lighthouse keepers face. It was something that I hadn't really ever considered, and it made me more aware of how the lighthouse keepers must have felt, and how they etched out a living.
I think the author captured the emotions of Isabel perfectly. As a mother myself, I could understand the decisions she made.
I also enjoyed the ending. It didn't make me cry, but I felt it was a fair and sweet conclusion.
I felt sorry for Isabel, but I was most sympathetic towards Tom. He was such a decent person who was willing to go above and beyond his commitments as a husband.
Overall, I'm glad I made the time to read this book, but sadly, I can't say that it is one of my firm favourites.
If you've read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!


  1. I read it some time ago, but was disappointed that it really didn't do it for me either- & I thought it would. It was beautifully written and I could picture the lighthouse & the island. The emotions were well done too, but somewhere it lost me - & I have no idea why. Dropping in from #lifethisweek

  2. Thanks for the review and it sounds like a book I would enjoy. I agree that sometimes books (or movies) are built up our expectations are higher and we are a little disappointed when they don't quite live up to the hype. This sounds like a lovely story though so it is going on my list. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

  3. I've actually not read this but have always meant to as I've mostly heard good things about it. Mind you - that happens so often when something is raved about. It happened to be with Gone Girl and Big Little Lies. My expectations were huge and I was disappointed on both accounts!

  4. I hear you on disappointments in books where you have read reviews and wanted to get into them. I sometimes think authors are writing too many words...often things can be said in less space! Thanks for linking up #lifethisweek 2/52. Denyse

  5. Aah haven't read the book but have seen a few interviews with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander who star in the movie of this. It looks way too sad and depressing for me, but glad you liked it!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

  6. I have a feeling what was missing was a twist of sorts? The book was predictable but I think the pain and suffering of the characters was enough to captivate readers to continue with the book. I did enjoy it even though it's not a genre I'd usually read. But yeah, I enjoyed it in a sad and emotionally heartbreaking way.

    By the way, on a side note, are you participating in the Aussie Author Challenge? If not, you should given you enjoy reading so much! I've signed up and completed it last year.

  7. It doesn't really sound like the type of book I'd read. Well done for making through the 550 pages!

  8. I read this book about a year ago and really liked it! I felt most sorry for Tom, also. Some of the descriptive language was a little over the top for me, and I wanted it to hurry along at some points. The movie has been out for a little while, and I've found it interesting that whilst I enjoyed the book, I have no inclination to see the movie (which I usually do if I've enjoyed the book).

  9. I really loved this novel. I read it before the hype around the film and I guess I had few expectations of it. I'm with Linda, not sure if I really want to see the film.

    SSG xxx

  10. I read this a while back when it first came out, and I found it such a beautiful, yet haunting story. I loved the descriptive passages, although at times I felt they were a little overdone, and the emotion was captured with such ease. It really made me feel, which I think any good book does. As for the story, I found it heartbreaking which is why I couldn't bring myself to watch the movie.

  11. I am another who has read this book. I didn't love it, and found it hard going at times, but enjoyed it enough to get through it. As a mother of a two year old girl I could relate to the emotional struggles of all concerned and may have shed a tear or two at the end. I won't rush to the see the movie but would one day be interested in seeing it to see how they translated the book to the screen.


I read and appreciate every comment; thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!