Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans
By: M.L. Stedman (her website)
Scribner, 2012

Summary:
Tom and Isabel are lighthouse keepers on a remote island in Australia.  One day, a baby and a dead man wash up on shore  Tom and Isabel, desperate for a child, decide to keep the baby and raise it as their own.  The death of the man is never reported and Tom and Isabel enshroud themselves and their new child in a veil of secrecy aided by their extreme distance from civilization.

My Thoughts:
1. This book is Stedman's debut.  I felt this was a little obvious in her writing.  Her writing isn't particularly inspired and there were points when the plot grew a bit dull.
2. The characters were not very well-developed.  Tom and Isabel seemed too one-dimensional.  Isabel the woman who yearns beyond reason for a baby and Tom the bullied husband and rule stickler.  This becomes less true in the book's final chapters, but they never fully eradicate the typecast.
3. The book's premise, on the other hand, is interesting.  The explanations of life on the remote island and duties of a light house keeper are engaging.

To summarize, I think Stedman shows some real potential.   Though this book didn't do it for me, I would be willing to try something else by her, what I viewed as the primary negatives are typical of debuts and I believe will most likely improve. (3/5 stars).

Recommended To:
Anyone looking for a good summer read.  It's a pretty easy and entertaining read.

Food for Thought:
Today I have two distinct lines of thought:
What are the limits of actions excusable by grief? 
What is the essence of the maternal instinct?

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