The Light Between Oceans

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.

Category: Book becoming a movie this year

13158800.jpgThe Light Between Oceans– M.L. Stedman (343 pages)

Rating: ★★★★

Favorite Line: You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is a sweet love story that turns into a tragic “this isn’t going to end well is it?” story very quickly.

The story follows a young, quiet lighthouse keeper, Tom Sherbourne, off the coast of Australia. Tom is ex-military and his strict military blood flows deep—he likes rules and regulations and he follows them to a tee, this makes him a perfect lighthouse keeper.

Everything was under control in his quiet, routine life, until he fell in love… which seems to always throw a wrench in a protagonist’s life plan. Isabel was Toms exact opposite in every way except one; she also loved him uncontrollably.

The two are happily married but they soon find out that the isolated life on an island with nothing but each other and a revolving light gets lonely, it gets hard, and, as what happened to this couple, it can make you forget that your actions can affect more than just those on your own little island.

“Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes: so tangled up that you can’t tell which is which until you’ve shot’em both, and then it’s too late.”

The gist of it is this: Isabel makes a mistake, Tom tries to convince her not to make said mistake, Isabel, longing for more love than Tom can give, convinces Tom that if he really loves her he will allow her to make said mistake, Tom allows Isabel to make said mistake, Isabel is happy, Tom is guilty and paranoid, narrative continues as we, the reader, wait nervously to see what the consequences, if any, await the couple.

The Light Between Oceans shows how much people are willing to do for the ones they love.

“The law’s the law, but people are people.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Yes, parts were slow, but even that was fitting as it reflected the life on the island as opposed to the fast paced life they gave up back on the mainland.

Tom is a great character. He is passionate and kind, yet reserved enough to where even the reader doesn’t always know what he truly feels—which is nice, it’s fun when the protagonist doesn’t give us everything and we have to dig/assume a little.

Isabel is a loose cannon and for the reader it was just about as frustrating for me as it was for our mild-tempered lighthouse keeper. As much as this character aggravated me, I have to admit, she was excellently written by Stedman, because I felt for Isabel and I absolutely understood why she made the choices that she did.

Other characters I will not go into due to the risk of spoiling the plot, but they are also excellently portrayed.

Aside from the characters, that narrative is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. For a while it actually makes you want to quit your job and become a lighthouse keeper…until of course you read about all the men who went crazy and killed themselves because of the loneliness, and the fact that that position is really no longer available for hire…too bad.

Stedman has a beautiful poetry to her writing while bringing you along this tragic love story.

With it being slow-paced and covering many years, I don’t know how well it will translate onto the big screen this year, and it makes me a little nervous. However, I am looking forward to seeing it, even if only to hear the Australian accents 😉


The Light Between Oceans is M.L. Stedman’s first novel. The movie is set to hit U.S. theaters September 2, 2016.


3 thoughts on “The Light Between Oceans

  1. Pingback: 2016 Book Challenge Update! – Well-Read Twenty Something

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