I’ve just finished reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman – and it is absolutely fantastic!
It is set on a tiny uninhabited Australian island, Janus, in the years after the first World War. Tom is the lighthouse keeper on Janus and lives there in solitude until his wife, Isabel, joins him. Isabel longs for a child but suffers 3 miscarriages. Then a baby is washed up on the island, in a boat with a dead man and a decision has to be made. Isabel wants to keep the baby and pass it off as the one she has just lost. Tom knows this isn’t the right thing to do but can’t bear to upset his grieving wife.
The rest of the novel deals with the fall-out from the decision that is made.
M. L. Stedman was born in Australia but now lives in London. Incredibly, this is her first novel. According to an interview in the Sydney Morning Herald the book was subject to a bidding war and went for ‘a high six-figure sum’. Stedman has given few interviews which may also explain why I can’t find a website for her.
The book is full of detail about lighthouse keeping at the time and must have required an incredible amount of research. But Stedman has such a light touch, so it doesn’t feel like the reader is being force-fed facts. Instead Stedman makes it easy for the reader to be there on Janus with Tom and Isabel, experiencing their roller-coaster emotions.
The novel will be published in the UK on 26th April 2012 (I was lucky enough to have a review copy from Waterstone’s) – don’t miss it!
#1 by blogaboutwriting on April 12, 2012 - 11:47 am
Sally, that sounds great! I love it when a book is recommended to me. Definitely one for the list! I’m reading the latest Sophie Kinsella (whoops, not very literary but it’s pure, funny, escapism) and then I’ve got S J Watson’s ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ to read. Ooh, can’t wait – so many people have raved about it!
#2 by Sally Jenkins on April 12, 2012 - 12:10 pm
So many books, so little time! Hope you enjoy them all, Helen.
#3 by susanjanejones on April 12, 2012 - 4:30 pm
Sounds good Sally.
#4 by Tracy Fells on April 13, 2012 - 9:50 am
Bit jealous Sally as my name didn’t get picked out the Waterstone hat for this one! I first heard about it last year probably during the auction wars and it spiked my interest then. From your review it sounds a lovely read so this one is going on my list… just need to clear the shelf of unread books… as you say so many books sooo little time 🙂
#5 by Sally Jenkins on April 13, 2012 - 1:06 pm
Hope it lives up to expectations now, Tracy! Sometimes books can get over-hyped. I read it with no prior knowledge, so didn’t know what to expect.