What's it all about? Set in 1926 in Western Australia, 'The Light Between Oceans' by M. L. Stedman follows the story of newlyweds Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, the only inhabitants of Janus Rock. A remote lighthouse on a small island a couple of hours from the mainland.
Life is tough and with visits from the supply boat rare, their isolation and solitude adds to their desperate need to bring a child into their lives. Despite multiple pregnancies, none ever reach full term. Then one April morning, a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a crying baby.
The couple are faced with a most difficult choice; report the baby and have it shipped back to shore or make the most of a fortuitous event and claim the child as their own. Needless to say, the decision made is one that would haunt them for years to come. It's a mischievous twist on morals and right vs wrong. It also provides a fascinating insight into life as a Lighthouse Keeper. A job many have dreamt of escaping to.
It's a story that once you finish reading, will have you thinking about Tom & Isabel's situation and what you may have done differently or the same.
Why should I read it? What made 'The Light Between Oceans' so gripping is its beautiful prose, strong characters and it's ability to transport you to the remote shores of Western Australia. You'll be able to smell the salty air and feel the wind blowing through your hair as the waves crash onto the shore. It's a story of love, family and loyalty which is relatable by anyone.
Its characters and events feel real. As a reader, you'll want to reach out and comfort them. You'll imagine yourself sitting quietly in the corner, watching a fantastic drama unfold. I can't recall the last book I read where I forgot I was reading as was the case with this book.
A warning if you plan on reading this book on vacation; I read it whilst on a recent trip around China and there were several attractions I missed seeing because I simply had to get back to reading my book.
With books vying for attention from phones, apps and games, it's exciting to encounter a novel so riveting it doesn't give you the option to think about anything else. It's a novel suitable for ages 16 and up. My mother, sister & grandmother all read it and loved it.
Should I just wait for The Light Between Oceans movie?
The movie is due to be released in Australia on 26 December 2016 and has been produced by David Heyman of Harry Potter fame and directed by Derek Cianfrance. It stars Michael Fassbender as Tom and Alicia Vikander as Isabel. It has already opened in the USA to mixed reviews. I have no doubts the movie will be great but with a book so immersive, you don't need a movie to escape. Enjoy the book. It's brilliant.