The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (♦♦♦♦♦)

It’s 1926…

Tom and Isabel Sherbourne are a married young couple living on Janus Island, the farthest lighthouse post in the Commonwealth of Australia, surrounded by two oceans. Life on Janus is hard and primal. They only get home leave after three years of service. Isabel has suffered three miscarriages along the years, but a mysterious boat, carrying a dead man and a baby girl, arrives on the shore bringing with it the possibility of realizing their dreams of parenthood.

You have no idea how many books from my TBR list I've started to read then put aside for whatever reason; The Light Between Oceans is no exception, but when I kept reading this time around and it became so hard to put down, that's when I regretted not having read it sooner.

When I read The Red Tent, I had the opportunity of thinking more deeply about something I've thought for several years; I know it might sound pretentious, even grandiose, but when God gave women the power of conception, I believe that was as close as he could get to giving women a taste of his own power as creator of life. I say this because by reading The Light Between Oceans, I've had time to think what makes a family what it is, and also what defines parenthood: biology or rearing a child with love... Intense and heartbreaking, The Light Between Oceans is a profound reflection on the meaning of motherhood, and the bond between a mother and her child.

There were wow passages, and lots of oh-my-god ones, and other more quiet ones, immediately followed by more omg moments. There were times when I thought my heart would not withstand so much emotion, such as when an angry mob chased Frank to the jetty, and he made the decision to wait at sea until the mob cooled off; foolish yet powerful, for that decision altered the course of the story.

I sobbed on two occasions: when Tom wrote the letter to Isabel, and near the end. Despite the difficult choices involved in the plot, the story developed as it should, it ended sadly, but on a high note.

Favorite quotes:

“Nineteen fourteen was just flags and new-smelling leather on uniforms. It wasn’t until a year later that life started to feel differently—started to feel as if maybe this wasn’t a sideshow after all—when, instead of getting back their precious, strapping husbands and sons, the women began to get telegrams. These bits of paper which could fall from stunned hands and blow about in the knife-sharp wind, which told you that the boy you’d suckled, bathed, scolded and cried over, was—well—wasn’t. Partageuse joined the world late and in painful labor.”  Page 17

“You could kill a bloke with rules, Tom knew that. And yet sometimes they were what stood between man and savagery, between man and monsters. The rules that said you took a prisoner rather than killed a man. The rules that said you let the stretchers cart the enemy off from no-man’s-land as well as your own men. But always, it would come down to the simple question: could de deprive Isabel of this baby? If the child was alone in the world? Could it really be right to drag her away from a woman who adored her, to some lottery of Fate?”  Pages 104-105

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