Stedman, M. L. The Light Between Oceans: A Novel. New York: Scribner, 2012. Kindle file.
This was an enjoyable book and another Faith Lit (my book club) selection.
Tom Sherbourne is a lighthouse keeper. He loves the routine, structure and procedure of the job. His wife Isabel loves the adventure of living on Janus Rock. "Janus Rock was one square mile of green, with enough grass to feed the few sheep and goats and the handful of chickens" (Stedman 5). They are alone together. Ralph Addicott and Bluey bring in a relief ship every few months with supplies.
An interesting thing happens one night. A baby and a dead man float up in a boat to the shores of Janus Rock. What to do? Tom wants to immediately do his job. His wife wants to protect the baby. Tom ends up giving in to his grief stricken wife, and they begin to raise baby Lucy. This charade lasts for a few years until they return "home" to learn of baby Lucy's true identity. Tom is grief stricken. Isabel wants only what she thinks is best for Lucy.
Lucy's story continues from here. I don't want to spoil what happens, as this part of the book really is the meat of the story. What happens to baby Lucy? How are many lives connected in this tale of love, tragedy and suspense?
Stedman wraps up the story as tight as a fisherman's knot. As a reader, I faced the question of what is the right thing for the characters to do, and could I do the same given the same circumstances? I'm not sure I would.
I enjoyed the author's use of language. "Tom feels the stillness of the cell weigh upon him, as dense and as liquid as mercury" (Ch. 25). I felt like I lived on the lighthouse rock with Tom, Isabel and Lucy. I walked the town of Partageuse. I felt the internal struggle of Tom, Isabel, Hannah Roennfeldt and Gwen. The ocean tides gave a cadence to the story.
When my book club met to discuss the book, we speculated who could star if this were made into a movie. We are betting that it will be!
I enjoyed this book so much, that even though I read it on my Kindle, I bought a bound copy for my shelf. This will be one to re-read.