Thursday, August 8, 2013

Light Between Oceans by: M.L. Stedman

   Tom Sherbourne accepts a job offering as a lighthouse keeper on Januce Rock hoping that he'll have time to recover from the physiological effects of war. He's a dutiful man, who takes his job seriously and enjoys the peacefulness of the island so far away from home.
     Before he started his new job, a man told Tom that it takes a certain kind of woman to be a wife of a light keeper. So when Tom met Isabel while feeding pigeons one day, he didn't suspect that the playful young woman would later become his wife.
     Isabel proves to be the perfect wife to accompany Tom during his time at Jaunce. She tends to their small home and goes about fulfilling wifely duties. While her tasks satisfy her need to keep busy, Isabel wants nothing more than to be a mother. Many miscarriages later, Isabel realizes that she may never bear a child.
     Lucy is driven into depression, and Tom doesn't know how to restore his wife's hope of having children, until one night when a small boat drifts ashore carrying the body of a dead man and a baby girl bundled in a woman's cardigan. Tom immediately wants to call for help and record the events in his log, as a good light keeper should, but his wife convinces him to put it off for just one day. Isabel is completely smitten with the baby girl whom she names Lucy. Tom warns his wife not to become too attached, but his efforts are futile. Isabel wholeheartedly believes Lucy is a gift from God and can't be swayed to believe otherwise. With a dreadful pit in his stomach, Tom agrees to keep baby Lucy as their daughter and sends the body and boat back to sea.
       For nearly two years Tom and Isabel raise Lucy as their daughter until Tom finishes his required time as the light keeper. Returning home with Lucy is shockingly different from what Tom and Isabel imagined it would be. It doesn't take long for the couple to realize that, despite what they thought, there are consequences to taking a child that isn't theirs.
       I read The Light Between Oceans whenever I could, even if it was only for a few minutes. M.L. Stedman has written such a engrossing novel it is almost impossible to read in more than one sitting. As the reader, you're aware that life for the Sherbournes isn't going to be an easy one-after all, they've committed a serious crime, even if they had good intentions. Stedman will have you rooting for the characters you love and biting your nails to find out their fate.