Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

by M. J. Joachim

Isabel and Tom could easily be our neighbors, friends and family members. At the same time, they are strangers living a life few people could understand, a life full of blessings and curses, each demanding choices be made to satisfy the hunger in their uniquely individual, yet inseparable human souls.

Tom’s is a wounded soul, emblazoned by his participation as a soldier in World War I. Isabel is a young soul, destined to invigorate Tom’s soul, giving it new life separate from the haunting memories of his past. Once these two souls meet, there is no turning back. Theirs is a destiny challenged by the thrill of adventure, the irony of isolation and the injury of loss, devastation and hopelessness.

Set in a small town of Australia, venturing out to sea and onto an isolated island where Tom is a lighthouse keeper, a tale of mixed proportions unfolds. One minute readers are delighted to follow a love story that was meant to be, the next they are swept into a web of deception so unexpected, they long to hate the characters they’ve come to know and love so well.

I heard myself cursing Isabel under my breath as I read without sympathy the story of a monster. Sure, she had reasons for making her choices, but she also still had choices and her reasons simply weren’t good enough, not when other people would most assuredly be affected by and pay the consequences for her actions.

I wanted to take Tom’s face in my hands and shake some common sense into him. I know Izzy was his wife, but please. If you love her, do the right thing for her and get her some professional help already. This woman isn’t quite right in the head. Nor should she be after all that she’s been through. Whatever you do, don’t follow her down the path straight into hell!

Hannah, poor dear, I don’t know that she could have fared any better, considering her plight in the story. Little Lucy-Grace was caught in the crossfire of it all, the one light that shone brightly amidst all the darkness, though it was her life affected most of all.

The Light between Oceans holds nothing back and offers few frills for the human experience. This is a story that could easily play out in numerous lives, anytime, anywhere. Change the backdrop, era and people (not characters) and this is life unfolding over several generations. It is a heart-wrenching, gut twisting story of circumstance meets emotions. Emotions win for a while – quite a while in fact, and too many lives will never be the same again.

The Light Between the Oceans is available through Goodreads and Amazon. I picked my copy up from the second hand bookstore near the mall. It is an award winning novel that I personally enjoyed reading, not only because of the story itself, but also because of the brief glimpses of history and geography revealed in its telling.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J. Joachim

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim (All Rights Reserved)

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I'm going to go ahead and add this post to the "What are you reading?" blog hop I just discovered, since this is a really good book I think lots of people will enjoy reading.