The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

Front Cover

Transworld Publ. Limited UK, 11 Apr 2013 – Fiction – 464 pages
Source – Publisher
My Rating – 4.5 stars

The moors in Wuthering Heights, Egdon Heath in The Return of the Native, both settings which have drawn me in and remained with me long after turning the final page.  Now I have a new setting to add to the favourites list – the island of Janus Rock, set in the wild, remote region where the Great Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet off the coast of Western Australia.   Here on Janus Rock, in the aftermath of World War I, ex-serviceman Tom tends the lighthouse and he and his wife Izzy hope to raise a family here.   Their plans are thwarted until one day, a foundling is washed up on the island and Izzy’s desire for a child of her own overrides any sense of moral obligation to investigate the child’s origins.

I loved how the author describes the love story of Tom and Izzy in a completely non-judgemental way, leaving it up to the reader to decide whether to make any moral judgements.  I was drawn into the lives of the main characters, particularly Tom who still feels the emotional fall-out of his time in the army.

You know in your heart that things will not turn out well for Tom and Izzy.  Who could possibly live with such a heavy secret?  You know there can’t be an idyllically happy ending but you find yourself rooting for these characters knowing that they mean well.

This is a compelling, beautifully written story peopled with real, flawed characters.  It’s hard to believe it’s a debut novel.

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