The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is an Australian novel about a lighthouse keeper in Western Australia. It is historical fiction that mostly covers the period between the two World Wars. The lighthouse keeper’s wife experiences multiple miscarriages, and when a boat turns up on their remote lighthouse island with a baby in it they keep the baby, later to find its mother searching for it.
It was simultaneously one of the best books I’ve read and the worst.
It is the kind of book that describes things in a way you had never thought of before. Being only in my twenties, it placed me in a time that I am much too young for, and yet it helped me to feel and experience everything that is going on, with a new appreciation and perspective. One thing that hit me in particular was the loss of war, and the huge toll and gap that was left by the death of all the young men in the World Wars. The book gets across well what it was like for those who were left, particularly in small town Australia.
As a mother I found the book quite emotive. The discussion of the miscarriages, joy of finding a child and the later discussion of the mother’s search for it and all that ensues tugged on my heart. That is probably what made it one of the worst, simply the way it reflected on my own motherhood.
A great book that is worth the read.