Last month I read M.L. Stedman’s book The Light Between Oceans. Here’ s four reasons why you should read it too.
1) You’ll learn lots about lighthouses. This book made me want to visit one.Tom Shelbourne the main character in the novel is a stoic, hardworking Australian lighthouse keeper trying to erase difficult memories from his family life as well as his service in the military during World War I. His life revolves around keeping the lighthouse light burning and loving his vivacious and passionate wife Isabel. As Tom tends the light and teaches his wife and their young daughter Lucy about his job we learn about lighthouses- how they worked and their history and importance. Lucy whose name by the way means ‘light’ washes up on the lighthouse island shore as an infant in a boat with her dead father. Tom and Isabel mourning three miscarried pregnancies decide to keep her. Should they have?
2) You’ll have to consider some tough moral questions. Much of the story takes place on an island called Janus. Janus is a two faced Roman god and this story emphasizes that there are always at least two sides to any moral dilemma. There are no easy answers to the question “What is the right thing to do?” The book also reminds us that when we make moral choices our choices effect many other people and can continue to do so for generations. One reviewer actually called the moral dilemmas in this story ‘exquisite’. This is how Ralph one of the characters in the novel describes making tough moral choices… “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.”
3) You’ll become emotionally involved. Some reviewers claim the book unfairly manipulates you emotionally and others write if they knew how emotionally wrenching it would be to read the book they never would have started it. The characters haunted me while I was reading the story and continue to do so. They say in order for a novel to be good the characters in it must change and readers need to care about those changes. The characters in this book all deal with dramatic change and are dramatically changed themselves and sometimes you can hardly bear to turn the page to find out what will happen to them next.
4) You’ll realize that setting can become an actual character in a story. My fellow blogger Larry Verstraete recently wrote a post on our Vast Imaginations site about the different ways an author can make the setting of a story become a character and M.L. Stedman, the author of The Light Between Oceans does that in particular with her evocative descriptions of Janus Island but also of the town of Partageuse.
And if none of these four reasons grabs you let me just say the novel will interest star gazers, pianists, travelers who’ve been to Australia and people like me who enjoy novels with letters in them.
Other posts about books……….